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Celebration of the favourite dish

The ongoing `Jashn-e-Biryani' festival at Hotel Golkonda harks back the Nawabi era of opulence and grandeur. A royal spread of biryanis is laid out.

CENTRE PIECE: An unusual table decoration.

ON STEPPING inside The Jewel of Nizam in Hotel Golkonda (Telephone No: 23320202), the piquant aroma, arising out of the numerous flour-sealed hundis simmering over low flame whets one's appetite. Swords, bhalas, daggers and spears adorning the walls catch the attention, as the mind tries to figure out whether it is a restaurant or the Nizam's royal banquet. Every aspect of the ongoing Jashn-e-Biryani festival is royal that it harks back the era of opulence and grandeur .

"Biryani is a royal dish and apart from following the traditional way of cooking, the ambience has also been decked up to give that royal feel to our discernible customers," says Executive Assistant Manager (Food & Beverage) Shantam Sengupta.

The menu has been done up in the form of the Golconda fort and has 10 different types of biryani, taken together. "About four of these are not from the Nizam's kitchen. They are unique and have been prepared keeping in mind, the diverse tastes of our clientele," says executive chef Parth Chhaya.

Amongst these are, Mem Sahib ki biryani, which is an in-house recipe (chicken biryani made with Italian Risotto rice, basal leaves, oregano and other exotic herbs), Gucchi biryani, which is a pure vegetable `mutton' biryani (the nuggets - Sultanas and Morels are 100 per cent veg-products, but look like mutton pieces, when served), Golkonda biryani (an in-house recipe where the biryani is made with lentils, minced meat and exotic Indian spices) and Jhinga ki biryani (a special prawn curry made exclusively for biryani)

Among the royal regulars, in the khaas-e-khaas biryani line-up is, Murgh biryani-e-bahaar, Lazeez gosht biryani, Nalli biryani (spicy lamb biryani with marinated shanks of lamb), Paneer biryani zaffraan (biryani made with cottage cheese, delicately flavoured with saffron), and Tarkari biryani (the traditional vegetable biryani, age-old recipe).

"We also serve Machhli ki biryani, which is fresh-fish tastefully prepared in biryani style, to cater to the taste buds of the fish-eating populace," says chef Chhaya. Biryani is served in the traditional mitti-ki-hundi along with mirchi ka salan and raita and is affordably priced between Rs. 100 and Rs. 140 for the festival.

One can start off with a shorba as an appetiser and follow it up with some delectable kebabs before going on to the biryani. For side dishes, try out the Baag-e-bahar assortment, which has Paneer Birbal (cottage cheese stuffed with mint chutney), Daal-e-Nizam (combination of seven daals, cooked with tomatoes and spices), Dum-ka-murgh (chicken cooked in cashew gravy on slow fire) and Gosht-e-josh (heavily spiced lamb preparation).

The Nawabi meal is incomplete without a eulogy of those irresistible sweets in the Nizam-ki-mithai range - Khubani-ka-meetha, Phirnee, Rabriwala gajar ka halwa, Matka kulfi, Rasmalai and Shahi tukda, amongst others.

Get the taste of the royal repast quick, as the two-week long biryani `Jashn' concludes on May 18.


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