EATING OUT Nawab, with its Awadhi cuisine gives you a royal feel. SAMVITHA RAM

Rejoice Chennai-ites, for it's goodbye to idlis and sambar , and hello to the all-new Awadhi cuisine. With the opening of Nawaab restaurant in Express Avenue, the masses of Chennai can now seek their paneer and biryani pleasures without burning a giant hole in their pockets.

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One can start off the typical meal with a bit of fun and flavour — that is, with chaat. They have made optimum use of their space by placing a chaat stall with a few tables and chairs right outside their main area. Pani puri seems to be their speciality, and you won't be disappointed, for it has all the tang and spice you would expect from a traditional Delhi chaat stall. Their entire range of chaat is actually Delhi-inspired, capturing flavours from all the local, traditional bazaars and making capital of it.

Moving towards the dining area, one is greeted by the ambience that goes with Awadhi cuisine, the grandeur fitting of a Lucknow noble.

One look at the menu tells you that Nawaab is sure to be exciting, with its many traditional options combined with a few newer dishes.

As the chef so rightly pointed out, “Whatever you choose to eat, you won't go wrong, because each of our dishes is created with the best quality raw materials. To give you a few examples, the saffron we use for our biryani is one of the most expensive, and our paneer is imported from France, for that flavour and texture.” Being a paneer-lover myself, I decided to try the ‘Paneer Lababdar' and, trust me, when I say that their paneer is every bit as creamy as one would expect in a meal set for a king. The biryani seems to be famous here as well, providing a grand alternative to the coloured, spice-filled ones that are readily available on the Chennai market.

Not only have the entrepreneurs of Nawaab striven to create the best traditional Awadhi dishes, but keeping Chennai tastes in mind, they've made sure that coffee and tea are of the best quality as well.

New recipes

“We are very aware that one might not consider Chennai a good market for this kind of cuisine, but that is wrong. Chennai is now very cosmopolitan, and people are always looking to try new things, as long as it's reasonably priced. We've had customers who return every week, just to pick up some Bengali sweets or have a quick round of pani puri after work,” says the owner. Well, the jury's out, and just like their hand-embroidered silk menu, Nawaab is classy, it fits the theme, and it is culturally Indian.

Samvitha is a student of American International School