Royalty fare at Indian Durbar

Lasooni Jheenga is one of the additions in the new menu.

The new menu at Indian Durbar at Conrad Bengaluru offers authentic dishes of the ancient Indian empires. 

Chefs Ishtiaque Alam and Akhilesh Pathak have recreated the taste of the royal kitchens of empires Awadh, Rajputana, Sailana, Peshwa, Kashmiri, Patiala, Hyderabad and Gupta. 

We visited the venue in the evening when the weather was pleasant. The restaurant's ambience had an instant feel of grandeur and elegance to it.

We settled at a corner table and were soon welcomed with some refreshing cocktails — chilli guava and raw mango were our favourites. We recommend the mojito; the addition of tandoori masalas was a surprise element.

While we enjoyed the chilled beverages, chef Ishtiaque prepared ‘Bhati Da Kukad’, ‘Lasooni Jheenga’, ‘Gaad Dhaniwal’, ‘Mushroom Galouti’, ‘Buzith Chaman’ and ‘Chukandar Aur Kele Ka Gular’ as starters. 

‘Mushroom Galouti’ was an instant favourite. I had a melt-in-the-mouth moment as the patties were extremely soft. We had to reconfirm if it was actually mushroom. 

I usually stay away from veggies that don’t appeal to me and beetroot is one of them. So, when Chef brought the ‘Chukandar Aur Kele Ka Gular’, I was sceptical. But I gave it a shot when I heard it’s stuffed with spicy cheese. I wasn’t disappointed at all. In fact, I went for another bite!    

The inside of ‘Bhati Da Kukad’ was succulent and creamy. The smoked flavour from the tandoor enhanced the taste and texture of the meat outside. 

If you are a seafood lover, you must try the ‘Lasooni Jheenga’. The prawns were marinated in garlic and yoghurt and cooked in a clay oven, which gave the dish an earthy flavour.  

‘Gaad Dhaniwal’, the coriander flavoured fish kabab, was another seafood starter we tried. Marinated in hung curd, Kashmiri masalas and poppy seeds and cooked in clay oven, the fish was extremely soft and juicy. The chef followed the traditional Rajputana recipe with a hint of modern touch.   

We ended our appetiser with the traditional ‘Buzith Chaman’ (spiced paneer dish), a speciality of the Awadh empire. 

For the main course, Ishtiaque recommended ‘Dum ka Murgh’, ‘Paneer-E-Khaas’, ‘Dal-E-Durbar’ and ‘Punjabi Kofta Curry’ with his special ‘Paronthi Naan’. 

The naan had interesting combination of ingredients like poppy seeds, dry nuts and saffron. ‘Paronthi’ was easily chewable and didn’t get hard even when it cooled down.  

A personal favourite was ‘Paneer-E-Khaas’. The paneer dumplings were evenly spiced, thanks to the soft cottage cheese. The naan and paneer was a great combination. 

The gravy of ‘Dum ka Murg’ was thick, rich in flavours but mildly spiced and not too heavy. 

I loved the creamy ‘Kali Dal’. It was buttery and perfect in consistency. It’s a dal that I would love to have with hot ghee rice. 

We completed our wholesome meal with a bowl of Rasmalai, which was not too sweet and just perfect for the palate. 

The ‘Paan Icecream’ took me by a sweet surprise.  

‘Indian Durbar’ is located at Conrad Hotels, Kensington Road, Ulsoor. For details, call 2214 4444. 

Set menu is priced at Rs 1,700 onwards. Ala Carte is priced at Rs 400 onwards.

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