Lucknowi Food Festival at Nawab Saheb @ Renaissance, Mumbai

I am as clueless about the direction to take for this review as much as the servers were about their own food festival. The blank looks that greeted me should have been warning bells, for me to do a U-turn and walk away….but thankfully, the PR & the restaurant manager BRIEFLY came to my rescue to show me my table. A large menu was brought in, a bottle of mineral water was put on the table and a mocktail hastily served, without anyone bothering to asking me my preferences or if I wanted it at all!

I looked for help with the menu which was divided into a set meals section and an a la carte one; only to be told that the chef would come and explain his specials. The affable chef was quick to follow. He explained his Uttaranchali roots and how he had let his experience from working with Awadhi chefs and maharajas come together to create the menu which had been presented to me.  I was interested in seeing what his hand me down knowledge would bring to the table, literally!

The kebabs, he said, were the highlight of his kitchen and recommended I try the Chukandar gosht.

As he left, a bucket of papad was quickly served along with 4 wonderful chutneys which I really relished. While I was digging into the roasted tomato and the garlic dahi chutney, a mammoth thaali with an assortment of kebabs was placed before me. Blown over by its size and contents I looked upto the server expecting him to explain the components of the dish that included Chicken, mutton, lobster, King prawns, Pomfret and Fresh water trouts. He was kind enough to tell me about the elements on my plate and before I could thank him, he picked the bucket of papad and left with a happy assumption that I may not need it in the presence of the starters.

Food does have a redeeming quality and the soft, silky, aromatic kakori kebab did just the trick. It takes skill to prepare this soft kebab on a seenkh and the restaurant has managed to do a fine job of it. Similarly, the Chicken tangdi was also fall off the bone and the marinade, quite delicious. I found the Lamb chop to be a bit tough, though the marinade was pretty good. The Lobster and the King Prawns were both decent, but pretty run of the mill. The fish tikkas, however, were brilliant – fresh, subtly spiced and cooked to perfection. I particularly loved the Pomfret.

As I finished the starters, the server was kind enough to ask if he should serve the mains right away or wait for some time.  Finally, I was asked a preference and at this point, he did redeem himself for the earlier clumsiness. I was served a beautiful bread basket and an assortment of curries that included portions of Kacchi Kairi Chicken, Chukandar gosht and Awadhi chicken along with a yellow Daal Awadhi. Each preparation despite being cream heavy and rich, was flavoursome and unique in its individual flavours. The highly suggested chukandar gosht was indeed delicious but the sinewy pieces of mutton were quite a put off. The garlicky daal was probably the weakest of all dishes. The sheermaal that was served with the food, though good, didn’t really blow my mind away.

As the dinner ended, I was given a plate and directed towards a dessert counter which had a fine assortment of desserts. I quietly served myself a helping of Rasmalai and a small serving of Moong Dal Halwa….ate and headed my way out.

The chef´s acquired knowledge of Lucknowi food, does delivers a flavorful meal, but is that enough for the price a 5 star commands?  When u go the expectation is probably higher – wanting to see lineage recipes, recipes from the royal kitchens… or mere classics with a unique twist but what you get instead, are redundant dishes like Dal Tadkaa, kakori kebab and rasmalai.  Perhaps the restaurant can give some thought to the menu and its pricing and come up with a value proposition that can compete well against the many lesser priced Indian options available around Powai.

Address: Nawab Saheb
                   Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel,
2 & 3B, Near Chinmayanand Ashram,
Powai, Mumbai – 400 087
Phone
: +91 22 6692 7491
Timing: 07:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Meal per Person: INR 3500+

Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.

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