-By Swati Sucharita
Jewel of Nizam celebrates its second anniversary this week (in its contemporary, refurbished avatar, its been around for almost two decades, as old-timers would recollect), with an ongoing Heritage Festival (February 8th to 17th). Showcased are some bestseller dishes, from culinary cultures, which have influenced Hyderabadi cuisine, notable among them being Turkish, Iranian (Persian), Dum Pukht, Afghani and Awadhi.
The turquoise-hued interiors continue to enthrall, especially in the evenings with the Indian classical instrumental music live recitals.
The focus is on Ghizayat, (food) cooked with Itminaan (patience) served at the Shahi Dastarkhan (revered dining place), and I am instantly drawn to this world. Helming this culinary fest are the Lucknow-based consultant chef Mujeebur Rahman, who has assembled chefs from different regions, steered ably by Anurudh Gupta, executive chef of Golkonda Hotel. First up is Kelle Paca (pronounced Paja in Turkish), a lamb trotter soup from Turkey, wholesome, fragrant with the subtlest of spices, and which is finished in a jiffy. For starters, we have Pineapple Salad, a tangy, crunchy fruit salad, with a lemon-olive oil dressing, served in a pineapple shell, which makes for an appetizing treat, both visually, and for the taste buds too. Next up are Kiyma (or Adana) Kebab, hand-minced grilled lamb kebabs, also Turkish in origin, crisp and again subtle-spiced, served with lemon wedges, (and my Indian palate making me reach out for the pudina chutney), Mahi Irani, shallow-fried fish in a mix of spices, which include coarsely ground black pepper and lime, well-done. Superbly succulent is the Shish Tavuk, chicken kebabs, grilled in a tandoor. We also try the vegetarian Rovagan Annanas (Grilled Pineapple in a tangy jeera- lemon marinade), quite delectable. First up on main course is the Afghani Queresh Hammas, a dry sautéed vegetables (carrots, beans, cauliflower and broccoli) and chickpea dish, with an aftertaste of roasted and powdered coriander seeds, Afghani Dal Bukhara (which is a little more robust, less softer and creamier, than our Indian counterpart), and Dalcha, which is Bengal gram dal (or split chick pea) simmered in a thick gravy with mutton mince, eggplant (the Iranian touch), cauliflower and tomato. This last one is absolute soul food, paired with accompaniments like Afghani Naan and Ozbek Pilaf, a lamb pulao with onion, carrots and tomato, with dried lamb nuggets (resembling soya nuggets!) Sweet endings are with Litchi Seviyan, a Turkish dry dessert with vermicelli and litchi flakes cooked like a dry pudding with plenty of dry fruits, not too sweet and fairly good.
Plus & Minus:
The festival, which is on for lunch (a la carte) and dinner (buffet priced at Rs 850) has an added purpose of a proposed menu makeover, with the more popular dishes from the festival repertoire to be added to the original menu in the days to come.
Enjoy Hyderabadi fare in a Shahi Dastarkhaan ambience.
Shish Tavuk, Pineapple Salad, Dalcha, Quereshi Hammas.
- By Swati Sucharita
Food: 4.5 / 5
Service: 4 / 5
Decor: 4 / 5
Closed last year for renovation, this jewel, which features on the favourite dining list of erstwhile royal families of Hyderabad, has been well worth the wait, in its new avatar. Gone are its heavy-duty carpets, upholstery and chandeliers, and in its place is a superb modern ambience, inspired by Mediterranean as well as Hyderabadi Nizami influences. At the entrance, is a magnificent piece of bidri work on the floor, leading to a waiting area with silver engraved chairs, behind which are three crystal bead pillars, which both add to the lustre, as well as provide privacy to most tables. The turquoise-hued sofa upholstery and shibori curtains, add up to a pleasing, sophisticated décor, and a fine-dining experience. We especially loved the private dining room, with its exclusive collection of sepia-edged photos from the Nizam's collection, sourced from the late Raja Deen Dayal's studio. The ambience is enhanced in the evenings, with live sitar recitals of Indian music. The food is Hyderabadi fare, (Nizami gharana, as they call it), with a contemporary tweaking here and there. For starters, the Barkas Patthar Gosht, Kastoori Kebabs and Varqui Lukhmis (a Hyderabadi square-shaped samosa, with either keema or vegetable filling) are good. Vegetarians may try the Paneer Seekh Kebabs or the Tandoori Salad with Broccoli. Both the Marq and Yakhni are good as shorbas (broths) go, aromatic and full-bodied. The Haleem, Gosht Kalimirch, Chironji Ka Dalcha, Angoori Murgh, Hyderabadi Dum Ka Murgh as well as the Kacchi Gosht ki Biryani are excellent main course options. Desserts, include besides the usual Khubani and Double Ka Meetha, the delicious Anokhi Kheer, which has the most unexpected ingredient!! Vegetarians may try the Subz Kandahari, Paneer Siya Mirch or even the Dil-e-Dhoom ki Urad. On Sundays, the restaurant does a very popular Naashta Khaana, (priced at a friendly Rs.500 plus taxes) and includes besides the biryani and Haleem, some exotic Hyderabadi delicacies, such as Taimuri Shorba, Phool Makhana Shorba, Nihari, Semiyan Ka Muzzafar, etc.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Thought i had missed out on haleem for not being in Hyderabad during Ramzaan...i heard jewels of nizam serves it round the year so i headed for my pound of flesh.
Had fresh awesome Haleem for lunch at this award winning restaurant. The ambiance, interiors, fine porcelain bone china and extremely courteous staff sure makes you feel like a royal.
Will go there again for a full meal next time.
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