Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh by Holiday Inn Chennai

I took a trip to Lucknow for an Awadhi meal.

No, no, I didn't sneak past state borders nor did I break the quarantine imposed in Chennai. In fact, I didn't even step out of my house.

Fine, let me rephrase that. What I had was Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, an Awadh food festival. It came from the kitchens of Holiday Inn Chennai, a labour of love by Chef Asif Iqbal and his team. It's a festival with a difference where the food was delivered fresh to my home.

Chef Asif

Adhering to the hygienic and no contact delivery norms, the food was brought by an associate of the hotel and left outside my front door.

Everything was neatly packed in disposable containers. I opened them to take photographs before transferring the contents into my own platters, in the process, it filled my home with such tantalising aromas.

Murgh tikka Zeenat

Fresh fresh salad

So much care had been taken even in arranging the food in foil containers. Finely sliced onions and peppers, a green chilly and half a lime shared space with super tender murgh tikka Zeenat. The mint chutney was perfect. There was even a green salad, the fresh and vibrant colours of the cucumber and carrot batons, salad leaves and tomato wedges and neatly sliced onions were so inviting.

Nawabi kumbh ki galouti

Nawabi kumbh ki galouti was stand out. The dark kebab practically melted in the mouth, leaving behind its earthy, umami flavour. The saffron bread that encased it was soft and tender, almost like a thinly rolled piece of pastry.

Dal sultani breado; shahi paneer; roomali rotis

Lagan ka murgh

Awadhi cuisine is known for its rich yet subtle flavours. The predominant spices seems to be cardamom and saffron and both were noticeable but added with a delicate hand. Shahi paneer had triangular pieces of paneer in a gravy that was thick yet smooth. Dal Sultani breado, with its mellow flavours, indicated a long and slow cooking process that resulted in lentils that were creamy yet full of texture. Lagan ka murgh, slow cooked chicken in a thick red gravy, was perfect with both nawaratan pulao and soft roomali rotis. While the colour was a tantalising red, the spice level was moderate. Portions are very generous.

Perfect nawaratan pulao garnished with sultanas, caramelised onions & diced apple

Zaffrani phirni

Our dessert was zaffrani phirni. It had the perfect creamy texture and wasn't too sweet either and it was cold. Slivers of almonds and saffron strands added texture and contrast to the smooth rice paste.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some mellifluous Indian classical music and savour the delights of the royal flavours of Awadh in the comfort of your home.

Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh is happening now at Holiday Inn Chennai and the full course set menu is priced at 999/ per head, inclusive of taxes and delivery.

Orders can be placed by calling 044 66046604/ 7550111044 or 7824880968


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