Begum Akhtar ghazals and Galawti kebabs can make any evening a memorable one! Yes, few days ago I was at the Jadavpur outlet of Naushiijaan to make good memories, and of course some great food stories! Naushiijaan serves some amazing awadhi cuisine, some dishes are so good, (like this galawti or the Jugalbandi kebabs) they will be forever etched in your memory, that I can guarantee!! This Jadavpur outlet is relatively pretty new, considering the fact that Naushiijaan is operating from their flagship outlet at Kasba for nearly a decade now. They were the first ones to bring in the taste of Awadhi cuisine to Kolkata, then there came a couple of competitors and these days, Awadhi cuisine is quite easy to find in the city of joy!
The moment you step into this place an aura of Nawabi elegance engulfs you! Intricate woodworks, ornate interiors and furniture, mystic chandeliers and elements from the yesteryears remind us of the royal lineage that’s linked to Awadhi food and its appreciation. Naushiijaan truly takes care of every detail, from ambiance to food, no stones are left unturned. And yes, those colored glass windows really made me fall in love with this place. I appreciate antique objects and architecture and these multi-colored glass windows are always somewhat special to me!
The Jadavpur outlet is not that big and it can accommodate thirty people at a time, including a cozy private dining area where I was seated. To reach this place you can click here to check out the map. It’s actually quite easy to spot this restaurant, since it has that typical royal, intricately carved wooden exterior which is obviously not seen anywhere else in the vicinity. Coming back to the interiors, it’s tad dimly lit though the private dining area is well-lit and it is actually a royal enclosure that looks absolutely stunning and maybe can accentuate the aroma and flavor of the food as well! 🙂
You will find specimens of royal head gears, Begum’s dress, chessboard, mural of Wajid Ali Shah, etc. Even cutleries and the table top exude a touch of Nawabi era. Now I will start going into the crux of the matter, which is the food. And talking about the food of this restaurant is like reciting poetry! Biriyani cooked on dum are brought to you in earthen pots, it is subtle and flavorful and oozing with class! And yes, their cooking medium is ghee, which is actually a reason to go back to this place to devour these delicacies!
While listening to the classics of Begum Akhtar, I started off my meal with some Galawti Kebabs. Both the music and the food were so heavenly that my eyes closed in appreciation! The Mutton Galawti Kebabs were melting in my mouth. They were so flavorful, yet subtle. You can savor this with some Lucknowi Paratha, the parathas are pretty thin and soft. I also tried their Mango Lassi or Aam Lassi, which was pretty nice, subtle and not overtly sweet but it was tad too thick.
Right after having the Galawti Kebabs, the Mutton Jugalbandi Kababs were served and they were a sheer joy to savor more because they were pretty innovative and the flavors and textures played skillfully with my taste buds and culinary senses. It was a layered combination of flavorful minced mutton and flattened chicken rolled together into a perfect marriage of flavors.
Chicken Orhni Kabab came in next which was surely one of the better chicken or murg kebabs I had recently! The succulent chicken pieces were well wrapped with egg whites and put into the oven, and the Tandoor-ed product was simply lip-smacking yet subtle for that fluffy egg white jacket. And I must say it was very unique! Next came the Biriyanis – Chicken Naushijaan Biryani was the one we started with. Now let me be very frank, this was one such biriyani which I never had before because it had spinach in it, yes you read that right! Anyway, I love having spinach since it’s a great source of iron and vitamins. Here the meat is cooked with spinach and then it’s layered with aromatic rice in an earthen handi and cooked to perfection. You won’t find any potato in this biriyani and believe me, it tastes nice and a lot different from the typical Kolkata biriyani. And yes, as said earlier the entire cooking is done in Ghee.
Mutton Handi Biryani was soon to follow. This was more of a Kolkata style biriyani and one of the most selling ones at Naushiijaan. It had that succulent piece of mutton, aloo layered with aromatic rice and cooked with pure ghee in an earthen handi. You can surely go for this if you are not too keen to experiment with biriyanis. We were served three side dishes along with the biriyanis – Mutton Bund Gosth, Chicken Ajwaini, and Chicken Boti. Out of these, I loved the Mutton Bund Gosth, its gravy was not too spicy though it was pretty rich and flavorful having soft meaty pieces of mutton inside.
The meal ended on a sweet note with Firni and Shahi Tukda. But the Shahi Tukda was so awesome to taste, I didn’t feel like trying the firni after that (anyway I am not a big fan of Firni, in general)! Naushiijaan surely serves the best Shahi Tukda in the city, I have had this sweet dish at several other Awadhi and mughlai joints in Kolkata but this one at Naushiijan was something special.
Thus we ended the royal feast and relived the glory of the bygone Nawabi era, which was then known for its rich culture, art, etiquette, tradition and the rich Awadhi cuisine. As of today, legacy of the connoisseur cooks still follow the traditional style of cooking handed over to them by their ancestors who were then the Nawabi Master Chefs! This royal cuisine served here at Naushiijan evokes the nostalgia of its celebrated gastronome Nawabs like Asaf-ud-Daulah and Wajid Ali Shah, whose khansamas brought with them the taste of Lucknow to Kolkata.
I can still feel the trance of soulful ghazals and amazing awadhi food, as I write this review! So, if you haven’t already dined at this place, this is high time you should make a plan to have a meal with your family at this beautiful eating house that almost represents a piece of Lucknow trapped in its golden days!
Disclaimer: Foodiedada was at Naushiijaan on management invitation for review purpose.