Lucknow, the city of nawabs, is a foodie’s paradise, especially in the winter months which are just right for smoky kebabs.
The city of nawabs is a foodie’s paradise where one can sample different kinds of food and come back craving for more…Mention Lucknow and the first thing that pops up in anyone’s mind is kebabs. And once the salivating is over, tehzeeb springs to mind.
The city known for its mannerisms, culture and culinary delights has been re-branding itself as a tourist destination for sometime now. The moment you step into the city, be assured to be mesmerised with wafting aromas from narrow lanes at regular intervals. Start your morning with a quick stopover at Sharma Ji ki Chai on Lalbagh which is an institution in itself. They serve the best tea in town which can be relished alongside bun maska, another favourite with the regulars.
Checkout Netram in Aminabad where you can sample some delicious khasta kachori with crispy jalebi which can be paired with either yoghurt or rabdi. If a fine dine is your choice then head to L-14, an all-day dining at the Renaissance Hotel, that is perched on the 14th floor overlooking the splendid Gomti river. The restaurant, which is in the top 10 places to eat out in Lucknow, is a perfect ode to the city of gastronomy.
Dig into some poha, pakoras, jalebis or even a special gluten-free breakfast. Some must-haves here are the galawti benedict, which is a restaurant specialty where poached eggs are served on a lamb kebab topped with masala hollandaise and the khajur pancakes with mewa rabdi (pancake stuffed with date pudding and topped with dry fruit milk custard). If it’s Lucknow, it got to be kebabs. At the Cappuccino Blast, a gourmet dining restaurant in the posh Gomti Nagar area, the menu is a nice mix of Awadhi, Chinese, Continental and a few other international dishes. The melt-in-your-mouth kebabs can be paired with some Awadhi biryani, while Fish Portuguese or crispy honey chilli mushroom vie for your attention. Post lunch and a refreshing siesta, you can head out to check the famed street food options. The not-to-be-missed place popular for its lip-smacking chaat is the decades old Royal Cafe in Hazratganj. Even on a weekday, the place is filled with local patrons and foreign tourists, with each table displaying at least one order of their ever-popular paani-batasha (gol gappas/paani puri), basket chaat and kulhar chai.
At the Moti Mahal Restaurant in Hazratganj, try out Daulat ki chaat and be assured to be transported to heaven. It is a melt-in your mouth sweet delicacy that is fluffy as clouds, looks like foam and is available only during the winters. If you are staying at Renaissance Hotel, be assured then these experiences will be neatly curated for you.
Dinner at the fine dining Indian restaurant Sepia at Renaissance is heavily influenced by the Awadhi cuisine where every condiment used has a set purpose. This cuisine primarily traces its roots to Mughalai cuisine with some improvisations brought about by the nawabs. So dip into some galawati kebab, murgh awadhi biryani, nawabi kofta, and the chef’s speciality warqi parantha.
You can’t possibly leave Lucknow without trying the nihari which is a slow-cooked mutton stew that is rich in flavour and heavy on the spice, with meat so tender they disappear in your mouth. Desserts are some unique options like baked boondi jamun which is baked gulab jamun with boondi and rabdi.
Curated experience on the go
Experiential travel is the buzzword in tourism. From curating food walks to watching the city skyline from a helipad, attending art classes to watching derby races, there’s something new for the explorer.
It is exactly this concept that the Renaissance Hotels, part of Marriott International, is now working upon. The group has worked out unusual experiences helmed by the hotel’s navigator, a counter to a typical concierge. The navigator hand-picks local discoveries that cannot be found in a guidebook and works out an itinerary depending on whether the traveller has minutes, hours or weeks to spare in a city.
The idea is to give the guests a sense of the local neighborhood’s soul. So at Renaissance Bengaluru, the experiences range from having a wholesome breakfast at Konark Vegetarian Restaurant, a quaint little place on Residency Road tucked away from the bustling city traffic or sipping wine perched atop the World Trade Centre in Malleswaram at the highest restaurant lounge bar in South India (31st floor at 421 feet).