Bangalore restaurant reviews Indian

Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs

Monday, February 22, 2016Me! In words

If there is one thing a restaurant in the ITC Group will promise you, it is a superlative food experience, each and every time. Whether you are a first time visitor or a veteran of ITC restaurant hopping, you know you are in for something exquisitely different on each visit. That is why, when we were invited to indulge in a meal at the Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs, I put on my stylish Joey Tribbiani pants (yes, am watching Friends for the millionth time) and landed at the restaurant's ornate front doors. 

The first thing that struck me, walking past the grand staircase in the ITC Windsor lobby and then past their skylit lounge and bar area to the restaurant, is the instant step back in time that you take. The interiors immediately transport you to the time of the Raj - plush wooden interiors, green Chesterfield-styled wooden backed chairs and ornate tables that are heavily set. Though the restaurant serves only dinner, the lighting ensures a pleasant evening hue all through your time there, bathing your table and everything around you in swathes of soft yellow. The chandeliers, the heavily ornate paintings and even the little wine display at the entrance, all bear the promise of a wonderful repast. 

Life has ensured that the pressure cooker has become our best friend. Home cooking is all about cooking things quick and getting it out there on the table. But in the days of yore, it was all about slow cooking - just as everything is done here at Dum Pukht - slow, in its own juices and flavours, spiced just enough to enhance and not overwhelm.

As with any great Indian meal the base for us with daintily rolled masala papads, a grainy mint chutney and a fabulous Mango preserve - of the kinds that you continually take helpings of, only to realize that you have reached the bottom of the bowl and the first course is yet to arrive at the table. It carries the tastes of sweet and sour, with a tempering of mustard that gives it a light hit of spice as well.

We begin the meal, and how! With the Kakori Kebab. These kebabs of minced mutton with subtle hints of cloves and cinnamon have a delicate long cylindrical shape to them. Its char grilled nature holds its shape perfectly, even though the roll is thin and delicate. Presented along with sheermal rotis, these can pretty much go the mango preserve way. You have to make a conscious effort to stop, if you ever plan to savour the brilliance that the rest of the menu has to offer.

Restaurants usually save their best for the last; well at Dum Pukht, they begin with their masterpiece and only go higher from there!

The Jhinga Dum Nisha that is, Jumbo prawns dipped in carom seeds, coated liberally with a creamy yogurt-based marinade if I am not wrong, and served with a saffron-flavored sauce, came next. Each of these prawns were the size of Anoushka's palm, making that a sizable mouthful. But with their little tails still on, you have the perfect scoop for the lovely marinade and sauce blend that coats the bottom of the plate once you are done with the prawns. 

One would think that a rendition of the Shammi Kebab in a vegetarian avatar will never match up. Fact is, it doesn't, because you are talking of a meat vs vegetable debate and the two don't compare. But what this Hara Kebab, made of spinach, channa dal, pan-grilled in butter and served with a sprinkling of fenugreek does is, create a standard of its own. These round kebabs amazingly bring the flavour of spinach to the fore and is made even better with the coating of mashed channa dal that you get in your mouth. Squeeze on a bit of the lime, generously dunk into the mint chutney and you will not be missing your meat any time soon.

Moving ever so slowly to the mains, we started with the Koh - E - Awadh - Lamb shanks cooked on dum in a fragrant curry of brown onion, lamb juice and saffron. It is so easy to overdo mutton and reduce it to a jaw gnashing mess, but one look at this dish and you know the love and care that has gone into it. All the shanks need is a gentle nudge with your fork or knife and the meat parts ways with the bone. The gravy is a classic brown onion one, with flecks of blanched almonds to give it that body and creamy taste.

The Murgh Rezala - a chicken cooked on dum with onions and almonds and flavored with cardamom and dash of white pepper also made a pretty appearance on the table. Here too the preparations was rich, creamy, despite looking deceptively  light. What deserves mention in all of these dishes is that brilliance has been achieved with the simplest of ingredients coming together in perfect unison.

For all the Dal lovers out there, the Dal Dum Pukht Qureshi - Arhar dal with hung yogurt and tempering of burnt garlic is not to be missed! I have never thought of dal and curd together, but the combination results in a creamy, not too heavy dal that makes a perfect accompaniment with host of breads that come your way. But for me, it was a bowlful(s) of this, as is.

By the time we got to the cracking of the crusted rim around the Dum Pukht Biryani, we were stuffed to the gills, but even then, the aroma that wafts out of that little pot will set your senses tingling and will force you to partake of the fluffy, yet firm rice, the layers of meat packed below and the absolute decadence that this dish is.

Begum's Pudding - A true blue Nawabi dish of reduced milk that is baked with groundnuts and saffron served with a quenelle of cream, some brandy sauce and smaller elements that you tend to lose track of because you have already taken a bite and are in awe.

And just when you think there cannot be anything more - the Kulfi Lab-e-Mashooq platter makes an entry - while the glass houses some slurp-styled vermicelli doused in delicate rose syrup, the kulfi are decadent frozen slabs with saffron being the predominant indulgence.

There is no two ways of about Dum Pukht being an experience in Raj style Indian dining. It is a classy affair all through and will take you through a journey back in time. Plans are afoot now to bring in a small wave of change - in the decor, in the presentation but definitely not in the style of cooking. If anything, things are going to adhere to original cooking styles with added fervor. a meal for two here is in the Rs 3500++

Address: #25, Golf Course Road, Windsor Square, Bangalore - 560052
Phone: 22269898
Cuisine: Indian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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