By Kishori Sud,
New Delhi : Piping hot and fresh galouti kebabs, crisp nadru (lotus stem) chips laid out on a simple serving plate, the main course served in beautiful taramis — intricately carved platters used to serve Kashmiri Wazwan. It was a culinary evening to remember.
Old World Hospitality has come up with a series of culinary pop-ups at The Manor here, with Kolahoi: Kashmiri Wazwan being its first. (Kolahoi is a 17,799 feet high mountain in Gandarbal district of Jammu and Kashmir.)
The restaurant has a simple interior. There is also a private dining area set up in regal style befitting the grand Wazwan repast — with orange cushions and low tables on which guests traditionally ate together from one huge tarami.
The Wazwan was originally for non-vegetarians but Senior Executive Sous Chef, Kolahoi, Vineet Wadhera, said options for vegetarians had to follow, “adapting to the changes in society”.
On offer is a nine-course meal comprising rice, nadru choorma, tabak maaz (deep fried ribs of lamb), seekh kebab, goshtaba, aloo bukhara korma, murgh roganjosh, haaq, nadru yakhni, phirni for dessert and kahwa, which is served from a samovar, for digestion.
Before sinking my teeth into the rich, wariya asal (beautiful in Kashmiri) food, I ordered galouti kebab and shikanji for starters. The delicate, melt-in-the-mouth galouti is a clear hero.
For the vegetarians, the restaurant also offers achaari paneer. The lemon twist added to the dish is what leaves an impression.
On to the main course and here rules the yogurt-based goshtaba, a dish which takes a lot of time to prepare, said Rajiv Malhotra, the Corporate Chef, Habitat World at Old World Hospitality.
“The most important part of goshtaba is the freshly-slaughtered meat. Goshtaba has very spongy meat balls… a texture that is very difficult to achieve once the meat becomes cold,” Malhotra told IANS.
The meat is thus pounded for long, and the heat generated by pounding in fact starts cooking it. “Pounding the meat is a very skilled task and normally done by wooden pestle. The complete procedure takes a lot of time with the expert at making this starting his day at 4 am,” he explained.
It is indeed heavy but so delicious that once you taste it, you pine to have it again.
The mutton served was a tad bit spicy and sour. The roganjosh was behtareen (amazing) as my Kashmiri colleague would describe it, because the play of Kashmiri red chillies and spices was perfect in every bite.
The tarami was served along with a few chutneys. The interesting one was the malai and walnut chutney. It’s white in colour and goes well with your kheon (food in Kashmiri). Among vegetarian dishes, the nadru yakhni — lotus root and yogurt, spiced with aniseed and cardamom — is the star.
Where: 77, Friends Colony West, New Delhi, Delhi 110065
Timings: 12 noon to 2 p.m. for lunch and from 7 p.m. till 10.30 p.m. for diner.
Price: Rs 1,295 plus taxes per person for the nine-course Wazwan and Rs 2,900 plus taxes per person for the 12-course meal.
(The writer’s visit was at the invitation of The Manor. Kishori Sud can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)