This was my first visit to Novotel Kolkata . The occasion was the Lucknawi Lizzat or Lucknawi food festival which is showcasing Awadhi cuisine at its best, characterised by ‘Dum’ cooking or cooking over a slow fire.

Chef Abid Qureshi has come down from Ranjees Hotel Lucknow specially for this festival. Chef Qureshi explained to us in details how he prepared for the festival and also showed us the special masalas he carried from Lucknow for the same. Some of the techniques described by the Chef for preparation of the dishes were interesting and almost like a leaf out of a old school book of cooking.

We started with Marag and Sultani Shorba. The Marag is made from the Nalli (the leg pieces) and stewed overnight to prepare. It was creamy and just that perfect soup to start a wintery meal with a promise of some more deliciousness to come.

In starters, we tasted Sarson Macchi Tikka and Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka. The fish was marinated with mustard and personally I liked it more than the paneer. It was soft and the distinct flavour of Mustard was coming through. Not being a lover of paneer, I still would have liked it had the paneer been a little soft instead of a bit rubbery.

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata Galauti Kebabs

Galawati Kebabs

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata spices from Lucknow

The spices which came from Lucknow

The star of the show was the Mutton Galawati Kabab. It took time to reach the table and it took seconds to disappear. Soft minced mutton which melted once they were inside my mouth was perfectly balanced with spices and had an incredible depth of flavour. They left us all at the table craving for more.

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata Aloo Chutney Pulao

Aloo Chutney Pulao

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata mutton Dum Biriyani

Mutton Dum Biriyani

In the mains, we had Aloo chutney Pulao and Mutton Dum Biryani. The pulao was a variation of veg biryani and although, I am personally not fond of Veg biryani at all and don’t mind being judged on that, this biryani was different and perhaps one of those Veg Biryanis which the hard core non vegetarian foodies would relish.

I had lot of expectation from the Tigra dal considering the way it was prepared, as explained by the chef. To get the perfect flavour while making the Dal, an earthen clay pot is kept inside the dal. However, with so much hype created, the Dal did not live up to its expectation with me. I found it little over spicy. The Dum Biryani was a perfect representation of slow cooked Dum biryani with smoky flavour. Nice soft pieces of mutton, not large but perfect pieces were comforting. Though it was a working day and that too Monday, I could stop myself from a few helpings.

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata mutton Korma

Mutton Korma

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata paneer qasar e pakhtan

Paneer Qasar E Pakhtan

The same was the case with the Mutton Korma. This is perhaps the best I have ever had. The mutton was soft and the korma was  simple and clever without being over indulgent with spices.  A must must try if you are going for this festival.

Murg Sham e Awadh was not something which was out of the world but more of an average performer whereas the Paneer Qasar e Pakhtan, where the Paneer gets marinated with three types of pepper was yummy.

The Lauki ki Halwa in the dessert was a perfect ending to this great spread.

The lunch is set menu whereas the dinner is a buffet, with live Ghazal performances. I am being told that there are 12 types of Non Veg Biryanis which is being offered in the festival – perhaps that is the reason I plan to experience this event once again.

Are you joining me?

Pocket pinch – Buffet Price- INR 2150 Plus Taxes Per Person(23.31% Tax).  For A La Carte it will be almost same.

I attended the review on behalf of Kolkata Food Bloggers 

Lucknawi Festival in Novotel Kolkata CHef Abid Qureshi

Chef Abud Qureshi with his creations