The new menu at Indian Durbar borrows centuries-old recipes from India’s regal kitchens
Indian Durbar's revamped menu, which was launched last week, is essentially a peek into the royal kitchens of the Awadh, Rajputana, Sailana, Peshwa, Kashmiri, Patiyala, Hyderabadi and Gupta empires; and some recipes date back to 320-335 CE. So when we visited for dinner on a wet and gloomy weeknight, we were excited to tuck into what India’s famed kings and queens might have dined on centuries earlier.
Few things are more ideal for a rainy evening than warm, spicy kebabs, and we were at the right place at the right time. Sous chef Ishtiaque Alam, presented us with a platter of aromatic kebabs such as Ker Sangri Ki Shammi, Haak and Rajma Ka Kebab and Charka Murgh. The murgh, flavoured with four different spices was delicious, and the shammi (the traditional Rajasthani dish reimagined as kebab) was flavourful, though a tad bit dry, but both paled in comparison to the Haak and Rajma Ka Kebab. The dish is made from an unusual pairing of spinach and kidney beans, but it worked beautifully together. And we enjoyed the hit of chilli heat that was balanced out by the accompanying yoghurt and garlic dip.
The Lamb Barra Kebab is another appetiser that is truly impressive. It is packed with the flavours of mathania chilli, garam masala and powdered cardamom. Marinated for three hours and then grilled, it was succulent and cooked to perfection.
For mains, we were served an assortment of flat breads with a host of curries that included Nallli Nihari, Murgh Dhaniya Korma and Wazwan Kofta. The Nihari, packed with the umami notes of the mutton, is best eaten with the Khamiri Roti, a fermented bread with a hint of sweetness. The chicken dish, cooked in gravy made from coriander and yoghurt, on the other hand, made a great combination with the Paronthia Naan, a flaky and light bread that is topped with a dash of ghee. The Wazwan Kofta, minced mutton balls in a tangy and spicy gravy, was eaten with the Amritsari Kulcha, but it also goes well with the two other breads mentioned above.
Durbar Flavours is a ‘live dessert’ which saw the pastry chef plating the final course at our table. This elaborate presentation started with the chef smearing the plate with rabdi and green chilli halwa. He then sprinkled it with chopped almonds and crumbled Mysore pak. Then, he placed Mysore Pak tarts and Rasmalai stuffed with Angoori Gulab Jamun around the plate. The mirchi halwa, though not spicy, is an
acquired taste, and the tart was slightly dry, but we loved the rasmalai and gulab jamun globules.
By sticking to classic flavours and paying homage to the age-old recipes of imperial India, the restaurant’s new menu is a must try for lovers of indulgent Indian food.
Rs.3,000++ for two. At Conrad Bengaluru, Kensington Road