Flavours from the land of Nawabs and kebabs
There are three elements that make for a quintessential Lucknowi experience—tehzeeb (the manners), traditional Chikankari embroidery, and Kebabs
There are three elements that make for a quintessential Lucknowi experience—tehzeeb (the manners), traditional Chikankari embroidery, and Kebabs. A multicultural city that thrived during the Mughal empire, Lucknow was once the land of Nawabs who were patrons of art, music, food, literature, and culture. Embark upon a food trail in the city, and you would be surprised to witness the gastronomical confluence thanks to their mouth-watering offerings.
While the authentic Awadhi experience in Lucknow is unparalleled, Edesia—a multi-cuisine restaurant at Crowne Plaza New Delhi, Okhla—has curated a food festival to help city dwellers relish the taste of Awadh in Delhi. ‘Jashn-E-Lucknow Food Festival’ features a cyclic menu of more than 100 dishes that are inspired by the myriad flavours of Lucknow. Shuvendu Banerjee, General Manager, Crowne Plaza New Delhi, shared, “The festival is inspired by the theme of Incredible India.
Every state of the country has a different flavour. We want to ensure that people come and explore the distinct flavours of Lucknow. When you experience the buffet and the variety of main course meals and snacks here, you would realise that these dishes are the traditional cuisine of the Nawabs.”
The vibe of Awadh
We witnessed the Lucknowi magic unravel firsthand at Edesia on Friday evening along with one of our readers, Nandinie Gupta—a student of sociology at Ambedkar University—who accompanied us. For this festival, the staff has attempted to create an authentic experience for visitors by transforming the venue to resemble various attractions of Lucknow. For instance, one corner has been decorated with several umbrellas and light bulbs, inspired by the Chattar Manzil—also called the Umbrella Palace for its umbrella-shaped domes. Another space here has been recreated keeping in mind the vibe of the city’s oldest market, the Nakhaas Market. The specially-designed dining area will remind you of the iconic Pearl Theatre (now Mehra Talkies). Adorned with blue and red lighting, this seating area also has a series of posters of classic Hindi films such as Alam Ara, adorning the walls to add a dash of cinematic history.
Aromatic dishes galore
Participating in a food festival that is centred on Awadhi cuisine would ideally mean gorging on several types of kebabs and biryanis. While some dishes—such as the Tunday Kebab that hit the spot—tantalised our taste buds, there were others like the Chicken Tikka and Shami Kebab that did not pass the test owing to a lack of flavour. The biryani did not meet our expectations, but we enjoyed the mutton Nihari. “The variety is unbelievable,” commented Nandinie.
What caught us by surprise at this Festival was the variety of vegetarian dishes. Apart from the vegetarian snacks platter—comprising Paneer Tikka, Hara Bhara Kebab, and Dahi ke Kabab—there was also a vegetarian thali that featured about five dishes served with different breads and rice.
The right pick
No meal is complete without the sweet dish, and the wide variety of desserts—you have everything from chocolate pudding, ice cream to Shahi Tukda and Lauki Kheer—is unmissable here. We also want to specially mention the variety of chaats which enhanced the meal. You may want to start your feast with one or two Pani Ke Batashe to experience an explosion of flavours.
Our evening concluded with a meetha paan at the live paan counter placed right outside the restaurant. Here, we met Niklas Huth (25), a guest at the hotel. Overjoyed after trying a new cuisine, the German resident concluded, “The food I had tonight is very new but special, and also spicy (laughs). The rice was great. I tried the paan too; it is something very new for me but I am glad I got to taste this.”