garlic pickle and papaya relish
And now for the food, we were a sample of three of the signature dishes of. On the left you see the Jumbo prawn starter, the size of which alone took me by surprise. Next to that you have the Murgh tandoor and the famed Sikandari Raan. For us, the one noticeable feature of the prawn and chicken was the the outer portions were cooked to crisp, yet tasty texture and the insides retained most of the natural moisture, making this dishes great to nibble on, with the wine on the side. The chicken had on a marinade of yoghurt, malt vinegar, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, red & yellow chilies, turmeric powder & garam masala, all of which worked their wonders on the meat.
The Sikandari Raan is what Anoushka fell in love with and this is a signature of the Bukhara fame. An entire leg of lamb is marinated in malt vinegar, black cumin & cinnamon, braised, skewered & finished in a tandoor. This is then shredded and served. Every mouthful alternates between crisp and soft. Some tastes cannot be explained and have to be savored, so will leave it at that.
Before we went in for the main course, we took a much needed break at the end of which we were served a specialty which had quite the novelty factor to it - the Murgh Khushk Purdah. Here boneless chicken is flavored with star anise, grilled in the tandoor and the dum cooked with vegetables. The flour based covering that envelopes the plate serves as the roti that goes with this chicken dish. When your steward cuts through the center of the 'purdah', the aroma that wafts through will have the whole restaurant turning around for a glimpse.
And then onto the main course. From the top of the curve of bowls, you see the famous dal makhani - soft dals cooked lavishly in butter and then lashed with some more for effect. This is one bowl that I ate as is - no breads required. The next bowl had the Mahi Qaliya, roundels of rohu cooked in mustard oil gravy enhanced with fenugreek seeds and infused with fresh coriander, ginger & lemon juice. Though we began to eat it with the roti, we were advised to hold some to mix with plain rice. The tastes are vastly different with me favoring the rice more.
The next was the Murgh Handi Qorma - a brown onion gravy cooked with yogurt and a spice powder which of course will remain close to the chef's heart. This was mild a gravy tempered with some rose water. And then we had in the last bowl - the Handi kofteh - balls of minced lamb in a tomato gravy. We were served two breads - the butter naan, which had butter woven into every layer of the naan, making it soft as cotton and the naan-e-bakhumai, which is a house specialty - on the thicker side and peppered with sesame seeds. This can easily be eaten on its own, though the gravies add a special touch.
Murgh Handi Qorma and Handi Kofteh