Dastarkhwan-e-Hazratganj, Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola












If you didn't understand the title, don't worry. No many do. Let me try to explain it to you. Hazratganj is a place. The other word has something to do with 'feast' and 'daawat' where lots of people get together. If you are still confused, think of it as a Lucknow Food Festival at Madras Pavilion in ITC Grand Chola.

It is a feast like food festival where kings are showcased. Where there is a palanquin in the middle of the restaurant. Do you know the palanquin? Where the royals sit and the not so royals carry them? Yes, I can read your mind now. Among the food family, it is reserved for our king. The Biriyani! When it is the Awadhi Biriyani, even the exec chef of the restaurant will carry him around in a palanquin and make the first set of guests cut open the screen to reveal the king. As if he is queen. Only queens need to be given that glamour, right? Why is this guy being treated with so much fuss?

As for me, I am this poor little white gravy tucked away among the buffet. I keep seeing this 'king' being given all the royal treatment, where as me, the poor gravy wasn't noticed. But I could hear what these food guys were talking about.

They were going crazy over the soups! Really going gaga over the mutton and then also the almond soup! And then over the kebabs. Of course, when there is Galouti on the menu, who wouldn't? But will they take notice of me? A poor like white gravy with a long name, the Murgh Rezala. My name may not be as royal as the single worded, biriyani, but I am tasty too! But who will notice me?  And my two friends, the Pumpkin Kebab and the Paneer in Pomegranate gravy? We maybe interesting, but it is the Galoutis and Biriyanis of the Lucknow world that get the attention. I am a little popular in Bengal though!

These food bloggers went crazy after the Galouti and the Fish. I heard words like 'fantastic' and 'awesome'. All meat eaters. I am a chicken too, but these guys are totally skewed towards meat.

But then something interesting happened! I heard a tall food blogger say that the 'Pumpkin Kebab' was way better than the Galouti!! Is this really happening? A meat eater actually prefers a vegetarian kebab to the OH-MY-GOD, Galouti? Maybe, I have a chance at getting tasted. And maybe even written about.

When I land on the table with the other main course dishes, I wasn't even photographed properly. Somewhere in the background of some dhal in a fancy pot. Hmmpff! I hear words like 'full with starters', but when there are my more famous cousins, the Nehari and the Haleem, I am sure they will find space in their stomachs to taste them. Maybe borrow space from other organs in their bodies to make space, if required!

Nope, I wasn't going to be tasted. My dear friend, the paneer in Anar, wasn't even on the table. Now they were gorging on some mushroom that is apparently Rs. 75000 (yes seventy five thousand) a kilo. Hmmmpfff! And then they eat the biriyani. I heard one foodie tell my chef that after all the amazing dishes, the 'biriyani' simply did not live up to the outstanding standards of the rest of the dishes. Or maybe, he said, that he couldn't even taste biriyani! So much for putting this guy on the palanquin.

And then I hear this awesome food lover who looks at me and says, "Interesting". Maybe I have a chance. He takes a piece of roti and dips it into me and takes a bite! And he lets out a moan! A really big MOAN! He looks at the chef, points at me and says, "What is that?" while taking another piece of roti! The chef finally introduces me. I hear lots of moans as the rest of them dip their rotis into me and start praising me. Yay! I got tasted. I got appreciation.

And our awesome food blogger points to the palanquin and tells the chef, "Hey, this Chicken Rezala thing should be on the palanquin!

Ha! In your face, you Awadhi biriyani! And in your backside, you Galouti! I am KING! Now make way...............

I am on the menu till 31st July 2016 and am priceless! You only have to take the dinner buffet if you want to taste me!