Get a taste of royalty in Kolkata with Riyasat’s bona fide recipes from shahi bawarchi
RIYASAT, THE SPANKING new royalty-inspired diner that opened this month at South City Mall, has a menu that features bonafide recipes, originating from the bawarchis of the Indian monarchs. Conceptualised by acclaimed restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee and London-based chef Surjan Singh Jolly, the diner accommodates the grandiosity of heritage cuisines along with the ever-evolving palates of the gourmands of Kolkata.
Chef Jolly and Chatterjee have known each other for 25 years now, and have both spent a substantial amount of time within royal gharanas of the country. While the hotelier has had long associations with several nobles including Raja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur and the Maharaja of Patiala, chef Jolly has worked closely with the Rajwada gharanas of Mewar and Mehboob Alam Khan of Hyderabad, the giant of Nizami cuisine.
“Anjan and I both share the same energy and passion for the craft. In fact, Anjan will go right to the depth of the sources for the best ingredients. If the best hing is found in a small town of Jaipur, he would source it out,” chef Jolly tells us. He also revealed that each dish on Riyasat’s menu has a story behind it — be it the Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Bal Sahi Balai Tukda or the house special Lal Maas of Arvind Singh Mewar. “Riyasati khana is actually about simple ingredients. Some of our best dishes have only three to four spices,” informs the chef.
The famed Lal Maas Mathania, which the chef perfected under the tutelage of HH Shreeji, Mewar, is essentially an entrée of braised lamb shanks, with an indulgent, but a fuss-free garnish of rich scarlet gravy, and the distinct Mathania mirch relish. Labh-Jod Salim Raan is another meat dish, which chef Jolly was personally taught by Mehboob Alam Khan.
“I remember Alam Khan said in an article in the early 2000s, that with him, his cuisine is going to die. I called him up and said, ‘You know, I’m really passionate about what you spoke of, and I want to learn. He invited me for a daawat. I was floored by the simplicity and decadence of what I was served. He revealed that the raan only had three ingredients in it. I bet if you give these spices to someone else, they probably couldn’t make this! It’s the labour, the love, and the beauty of the technique,” chef Jolly reveals.
We also found ourselves a Guchchi Gilawat, a cosmopolitan take on the plated kebab appetiser, made with smoked morel mushrooms, stone moss, water chestnuts, and served on a crisp rogani roti. The Gondhoraj Bhekti, Zamin Dos brings back the pit-baked technique; the baked fish, prepared with gondhoraj lime, nigella seeds, ginger, and chillis, is prepared in a paper parchment and served the papillote way.
Riyasat’s menu has a big focus on reviving the culinary splendour associated with vegetarian dishes of the imperial kitchens and features delicacies like Malai Makhan Makhaana. The Nolen Gurer Sandesh Puff made our day — the sondesh-based dessert, with a wispy puff pastry texture, is served with tender coconut ice cream and dates-jaggery sauce, will engage your taste buds till the very end. Price for two: Rs 1,600. — Ujjainee Roy
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