In a line: Feel like a Nawab with a lavish Rampuri food spread at K3, JW Marriott.
Price: Lunch (INR 2550++) | Dinner (INR 3350++)
Date: 16th March-26th March 2018
Must haves: Mewa mawa ki shammi, nalli shorba, taar korma, gulatthi
Imagine succulent kebabs, slow-cooked meats, fragrant curries and aromatic biryani that have been doused with spices and pinched with royalty. That’s the cuisine that the humble and rather obscure, Rampur has to offer. Erstwhile princely state in Uttar Pradesh, Rampur had housed the legendary poet Mirza Ghalib, and alongside, had harboured numerous khansamas from all across India, and that’s what led to the development of a cuisine of its own.
Unlike the bold, spice-rich and ghee-laden delicacies of Awadh, Rampuri cuisine took a mellow approach, by keeping the flavours simple, so that the actual flavour of the ingredient flourishes and doesn’t get overpowered by excessive spices. The cuisine stands out from the rest, for using unusual combinations, such as the much renowned, Mirch ka halwa, Adrak ka Halwa, Macchi ka Halwa.
Awadhi cuisine has reigned the palate of food enthusiasts, such as myself, and hence, the ongoing Rampuri Food Festival at K3, JW Marriott, turned out to be a great departure for my palate, to explore what the Nawabs savoured back in the days.
A feast awaits till 26th March, where alongside the Italian, Asian and Indian, the restaurant will boast of a lavish spread that will celebrate the age-old traditions and secret recipes of the royal cooks of the kitchens of the Nawabs.
Commence your meal with some succulent morsels of bhatti cooked murg sondha or the juicy kache ghost ki tikki with some spicy green chutney. The slightly sweet dum bhukara aloo is a palatable pick, but it is the mewa mawa ki shammi that stands as the piece de resistance. Prepared with dried fruits and khoya, with hint of nutmeg, this vegetarian shammi can give any non-vegetarian counterpart a run for its money.
Pair your kebabs with a glass of Achaartini, a version of Martini, tweaked with achaari-flavours, for a bold flavour punch. The crimson-hued Royal Lagoon, a concoction made with whisky, burnt orange, grenadine, rosemary and rose, is praise-worthy, too.
Mains comprise an elegant spread, balancing both, vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options. The hearty nalli shorba could be opted before mains, to improve appetite and set the flavour profile right for the rich mains to follow.
Taar korma, a red meat based delicacy prepared with cashews, almonds, yellow chilli, milk and spices, is addictive and pairs beautifully well with Saans-E-Dum Pulav, that has mellow undertone of spices that complemented the curry. The sour murg changezi prepared with curd was a favourite. Though meats were the mainstay of rampuri cuisine, the vegetarian options at K3 would force you to think otherwise. Simplistic tehri replete with vegetables, moong dal tossed with some salt and spices in the form of dal khaas and the katthal ka salan, every vegetarian dish held a strong stance.
The desserts menu at the festival will showcase the unusual mirch ka halwa et al. Though if you’re lucky and spot Gulatthi on display, then think not and grab a good helping of it. A cross between a phirni and rabri, this mildly sweetened rice pudding with dried fruits isn’t something that you’d want to overlook.