Zeera – Nawabs of India Food Festival
Conrad in a short span of a year has become a landmark in Pune’s hospitality and culinary landscape. And one of their most coveted luxury dining offering – Zeera, has come up with the Nawabs of India Food Festival to celebrate the anniversary. The special menu will be served for 2 weeks only starting 17th March 2017 until 2nd April 2017 from 7:30 P.M. onwards, and to concentrate all the efforts the regular menu will be given a break for this time.
Food Prowl Team were the very first patrons who got a sneak peak of the festival delicacies and without going overboard about the spread all we must say is, do not miss this one. Go and relive the culinary experience of Nawabi Era, indulge in a symphony of treasured masterpieces that come from princely states’ kitchens, and are part of our rich culinary history.
To curate this exquisite menu, Executive Chef Mandar Madav along with his team have spent lot of time researching the intricacies of food that comes from various princely states, other than the popular ones like Awadh and Nizam, they have also taken inspirations from Sailana, Jhabua, Rajput, Patiala and Rampur states. All the effort becomes tangible as you get the aroma of food being served and within the first morsel of any preparation you relinquish your taste buds to.
Before I get into the food we tasted, another highlight of this menu is the vegetarian spread. When it comes to Nawabi cuisine it’s very hard to contemplate the vegetarian options, but all credits to team in this kitchen they have put up a vegetarian menu that is at par with non vegetarian one.
Let’s get talking about the food now!
Our meal started with a very delicate Galouti Kebab, one bite and very true to its name it melts in your mouth, but the taste had me thinking, next bite and it was a moment of surprise, these were not usual Meat Galouti, and instead they were Khumb ki Galouti.
Yes! Mushrooms used so perfectly that from the texture and appearance one cannot tell that these are not the coveted ones, but main ingredient variation. Served over fine Ulte Tawe ka Paratha, these were pure excellence.
Murg Kalmi Kebab was up next, from a delicate kebab to a more robust one. Tandoor cooked drumsticks marinated in cream and cheese, with a very balanced level of spices. We just dug in till we reached the bone.
Kathal Pyaz Aur Dahi ki Shikampuri – Yes, a vegetarian Shikampuri Kebab that had texture just like lamb from minced Kathal (Jackfruit) and was stuffed with a slightly tangy curd and onions. This one just blew my senses, even more than the Galouti, it was the best vegetarian appetizer for me.
Alternating back to Non-Vegetarian we had Lagan Ki Boti, spicier than Murg Kalmi Kebab these were spring lamp chops from New Zealand. Finished in Tandoor it was a simple and impactful preparation, meat perfect texture - just short of falling of the bone, having a very nice tender bite to it.
Aloo Ki Nazakat was served next. It was a hollowed Tandoori Aloo stuffed with an amalgamation of Paneer and Cream and flavored with Saffron.
The aroma from the Saffron was alluring and the soft center filling made it a very mesmerizing preparation.
Final appetizer was from Rajasthan’s Rajput Kitchen - Maas ke Sooley.
Lamb chunks done is thick brown masala, served on ulte tave ka Paratha and topped with onion and coriander. Just a squeeze of lemon over it and the flavors opened up beautifully.
After sumptuous Kebabs and Appetizers, it was time for rich and unique mains. All mains had very different flavors from each other, each curry even looked different in terms of color and richness.
The first dish that we had was the star of the evening, a very unusual combination – Kheema Karela. Hollowed Karela (Bitter Gourd) stuffed with Lamb Kheema. The richness from the curry, the texture of Kheema and the slight bitterness from Karela, it just came together so well. I have never been a fan of Karela but if prepared like this I can have it time and again.
Gosht Tar Kalia is something that comes close to my childhood memories. A very simple looking Lamb dish, in a thin curry, one bite and the subtlety of it just hits bang on. I couldn’t have enough of it and took multiple servings. It was very much like the Nihari prepared in Lucknow during Ramzan for Sehri.
Nizami Murg Korma was the final Non-Vegetarian dish, very rich and thick gravy having exceptionally distinct flavors.
Sailana Tadka Dal looked like a regular yellow Tadka Dal, but one ingredient made lot of difference in its flavor, they used sugarcane molasses instead of jaggery or sugar, had very earthen flavors.
Sailana Gobhi Matar looked a very humble home cooked dish, but the flavor of pudina took the simple dish a level higher.
Such an elaborate meal couldn’t have ended without a Biryani. We opted for Subz Malai Biryani, a very fragrant and flavorsome preparation with lots of Mawa and Malai used in it, served with Pyaaz aur Pudina Raita.
And finally for dessert we had Gulab aur Phalon ki Rabri. Served in a Kulhad it was a thick Rabri loaded with fresh fruits and topped with Gulkand and Saffron. Mildly sweet and it let the fruits add to the texture and flavor.
A fabulous meal and all the Kudos to Chef Mandar and his team for coming up with such an impressive assortment of dishes for the Nawabs of India Food Festival.Zeera, Mangaldas Road, Pune - Nawabs of India Food Festival| Food Prowl