Food & Drink Magazine

Kitchen Of Awadh, Supermart 1, Gurgaon: A Hidden Jewel

By Indian Food Freak @IFoodFreak

Galawat ke kebab&kakori kebabWhen one goes to a place with little or no expectations and is served an excellent meal, you just feel blessed. I am talking of Kitchen of Awadh which serves food as close to authentic Awadhi (Lucknawi) cuisine as can be. I couldn’t believe that this jewel was right under my nose and I had missed it all this while but then, it’s better late than never.

Kitchen of Awadh is nestled inside the crowded Super Mart I market in DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon which is already housing a few other good regional restaurants. The signage in maroon color with a huge red chili on it is eye catching and is visible from far. It is a thirty four cover restaurant which has a modern, simple décor designed by the owner’s wife and has a nice airy feel to it. There is Mughlai style filigree work on the doors and windows and a beautifully designed menu card (which is a dome shaped little window with filigree work on it).

The owner, Kamal Kumar Veer, after twice being ditched by chefs whom he had got from Lucknow, decided enough was enough and took matters into his own hands. The passionate foodie that he is, and having learnt his earlier cooking from his mom, he landed up in Lucknow (from where he originally belongs) and spent time learning how to cook Awadhi cuisine from the actual khansamas of Awadhi cuisine. He also hunted out all the dying, age old recipes and spent hours perfecting them – for e.g., the kathal and jimikand kebabs on his menu are not even available anywhere in Lucknow.

Panchamrit organic drinkI started with the Panchamrita drink which is an organic, natural mixed fruit drink made of amla, beetroot, mint, orange and lemon. I loved this red coloured, sweet, tangy, healthy drink and ended up having two glasses of the same.

KOA Special chicken tikkaThe KOA Special Chicken Tikka was charred perfectly from the outside and was juicy and soft from the inside. I was surprised to learn that he uses the chicken breast for these tikkas – those who cook will know that chicken breast toughens on slight over cooking. Kamal, who is well versed with what cut to use for which dish, uses special techniques for softening the chicken. The tikkas got onto my plate after two long marinations.

Galawat ke kebabGalautis or Galawat Ke Kebab, their house speciality, were totally melt in the mouth. In fact, I was told that one should not have to chew the kebabs in Awadhi cuisine. They were so soft that you had to gently slide it from the serving dish onto the plate. These were had with soft and flaky ulte tawa ka parantha which were slightly sweet and complemented the kebabs.

Shammi Kebabs were, if possible, softer than the Galautis. They were not the hard and dry kebabs overloaded with daal you get everywhere in the name of Shammis.

Kakori kebabAnd now, the Kakori Kebabs. Here, I have to mention that I grew up eating kakoris from Al Kauser in Kautilya Marg which are super soft, spicy and almost impossible to lift off the plate – so fair or unfair, in my mind I’m going to compare. As far as the kakoris here were concerned, if you gently lifted them off the serving plate, you could do so without them breaking. They were also much milder where spices are concerned, had a super thin outer covering and were soft inside. They were nice on their own but I prefer the kakoris of Al Kauser.

Jimikand ke kebabThe kebabs I had next were made from ingredients I could not imagine being used for making kebabs – Kathal and Jimikand. In appearance, they looked no different from a galauti but they both had their own distinct flavor and would be a vegetarian’s delight. And I must say they tasted good.

It also has to be mentioned that the kebabs were not at all oily. There was no residue of oil on the serving dish after they were served nor was there any oil on the plate after I finished eating them. All the spices were in perfect tandem with each other with no single ingredient overpowering the other flavours.

A special mention of the lovely tangy chutney served along with the kebabs. It makes a perfect marriage with the kebab and has a special ingredient which I managed to guess.

Lucknawi murg masalaLucknawi Murg Masala was super soft and succulent and in a mildly sweet, thick gravy which had a perfect balance of spices. The sweetness came from lots of onions used in the gravy. Even with no room in the stomach, my hand kept reaching out for more gravy.

Bhuna goshtBhuna Gosht had onions used two ways in it. Again, a subtle dish which still speaks so much – I loved it. The meat could be pulled off the bone with one’s fingers. However, I got a lot of whole spices in the gravy so I had to kind of hunt them out and separate them before taking a bite – this could have been avoided.

Mutton biryani 2Mutton Biryani was the next dish that made it to my table. It was served in an earthen pot with a lid sealed with atta and the whole thing covered with a foil. The minute you open the lid and unveil the biryani, the aroma of kewra, itr and saffron totally engulfs your senses. The biryani had long grains of rice with each grain separate and the rice hiding perfectly cooked mutton within it. The subtle play of flavours was a treat for the taste buds.

Kesari phirniLast but not the least – the “to die forâ€� Kesari Phirni. This phirni is totally different from any you’ve had because the consistency is that of a custard/mishti doi. One cannot get to taste the grains of the finely ground rice common to all phirnis. I actually asked Kamal if he had used rice flour for the phirni.

By the way, did I mention that Kitchen of Awadh uses RO water for all the cooking purposes ? Or that, it is also supplying some of their kebabs to Godrej Nature’s Basket ?

Mutton biryaniKamal has surely come a long way – spent seven years in a field totally unrelated to food, i.e., politics, but then had a change of heart and decided to dive into the food business instead – started from scratch from a delivery outlet in South Extension (which is still operational and successfully too) and progressed (very well, if I may say so) to this thirty four seater in Super Mart I.

As for me, I need to go back and try lots of things in the menu which I could not on this visit. A last point I want to make is that even though I was full, the food was not heavy. I was not thinking of having Eno the minute I hit home but was still savouring the lovely flavours.

Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 4.0 | Drinks: No| Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 3.5| Overall: 4.0

Meal for Two: Rs. 800 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: No |Timings: 12.30 pm to 11 pm |Wheelchair Access: No

Address: The Kitchen Of Awadh A-208 Super Mart I, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon. | Phone: 9910035805, 9910035806, 9910035807.

Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement 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.

Ulta tawa parantha Shammi kebab Panchamrit organic drink Mutton biryani Mutton biryani 2 Lucknawi murg masala KOA Special chicken tikka Kesari phirni Kathal ki Galouti Kakori kebab Jimikand ke kebab Galawat ke kebab Galawat ke kebab&kakori kebab Dal makhani Bhuna gosht 20150515_202329 20150515_202337

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