I wasn’t really sure whose grand plan it was to do a Lucknow trip, but I shall blame it on M, who messaged me in the middle of the night and lured me with tales of Kabab and Biryani. Frankly speaking, although I have had the food from Lucknow, I have never really been to Lucknow, and it was on my list of places to go to anyway, so we decided to buy the tickets, and one fine morning, hopped onto the Jammu Tawi Express. The train started from the fabled ‘Chitpur’ or KOAA station, and we landed at Lucknow the next day, around 10.30 am. Our hotel had already called and confirmed booking with us, so, after a brief hour when we freshened up, we donned our sunglasses, draped our dupattas, and launched ourselves into the bustling city of Lucknow. Our first mission: Tunday Kababi, a place which made the humble galauti kabab so famous, that the kababs started to be called Tunday ke Kabab.

The top of Rumi Darwaza
Before beginning, one word of caution: as we were both first-timers in Lucknow, we stuck to the recommendations made by others, and tried to eat as much as we could in our three-day stay. My experience is documented here, along with some inputs from M. Check out the second part of our trip concerning vegetarian food of Lucknow and shopping tips here.

Tunday Kababi, Aminabad

The Kababs frying outside Tunday Kababi
We walked over to Aminabad, because I was reading instructions, and realized that Tunday Kababi was pretty close to where we were staying. We walked down the narrow lane and took the turn left, and were greeted by the sight of a huge tawa, on which beef and mutton tunday kabab was being expertly dropped and turned. Fried quickly, the key to Tunday kabab is to drop a ball of meat into the hot fat, and then, while turning it, flatten it out slightly with the flat side of a metal spatula, and press down gently. We entered the clean and spacious eatery, and ordered some food.
Onion and lime slices at Tunday Kababi
A plate of onions and lemon came first, and we rapidly rattled off our order. We wanted to sample some of the good stuff, so two plates of kabab, biryani, and a thums up was ordered, because why think about calories when you are eating biryani anyway?
Beef Galawati at Tunday Kababi Aminabad
Within five minutes of placing our order, the smiling server placed our kababs in front of us. Okay, time for a little information. Tunday is just the name of the place, what they serve is actually galawati or galauti, and the menu says so.
Menu at Tunday Kababi
Here is a handy dandy photo of the menu where it says so. We had ordered both beef and mutton kababs, and, to be fair, I did not find them very different from each other. The beef kabab was meltingly soft in my mouth, the flavors very mild and the meat was allowed to be the star here.
Sheermal at Tunday Kababi
I was not much of a fan of the red-colored sheermal. Frankly speaking, I have never seen a red sheermal before, and it was chewy and lacked softness, according to me. M did not have any complaints though. She downed her kababs with the sheermal happily enough.
Mutton Galauti at tunday kababi
The mutton galauti, which had come in with the beef, was also very soft, but although I loved the mild flavors, M looked slightly disappointed, since she had wanted more flavors from the meat.
Rumali Roti at Tunday Kababi
The rumali roti was the perfect accompaniment for the kababs – wrapping a bit of it around my kabab, I would eat up with relish, and at this point, our biryani arrived, so we dug in.
Mutton Biryani at Tunday Kababi
Although many people would call the biryani at Tunday Kababi all right, I think this was a very nice and mild example of a good Lucknow style biryani. The meat was tender and the rice was fragrant and moist. There might be some who would talk about the superiority of this biryani to others, et cetera, and I will not go into the debate because I believe that the flavor palette is totally different, and therefore, incomparable to other kinds of biryani.
At Bada Imambara
We walked around a considerable lot during our trip. As the Hazratganj, Chowk, Aminabad is formed like a large circle, a considerable amount of time was dedicated to walking and looking around. The bustle of chowk is diametrically opposite to the quaint beauty of Hazratganj, and Hazratganj is a nice place to walk around, especially during the evening. The presence of a number of nice places, including Royal Cafe, Marksmen, Salt, Moti Mahal, and they also have the commercial brands, like Cafe Coffee Day and KFC.

The Mughal’s Dastarkhwan, Hazratganj 

We were recommended this place by a number of people who were residents of Lucknow. They claimed that the galauti here was better than Tunday Kababi any day. We walked down to The Mughal’s Dastarkhwan, or Dastarkhwan in short, which is right opposite another place – open air, and at around 8 o’clock in the night,  we were in, what seemed to be, a crowded place, and the only two unaccompanied women in there, or so it seemed. Wisely, we chose to pack our food, because we really did not want to wait.
Meat frying on a tawa in Dastarkhwan
On one corner stood a man, managing a huge tawa filled with meat. While we watched, on another side, men massaged parathas to ensure they were just right, perfectly crisp on the outside, yet tender and flaky. Our server was fast, but he ended up not putting the biryani inside our package, and I have to now go back to Lucknow to eat that Biryani again.
Seekh Kabab at Dastarkhwan
The seekh kababs we had ordered were generously sized, but dry and slightly chewy. I quickly turned over to the galauti before M finished them all, and they were very tender, with a mild smokiness and were much more spicy.
Mutton Shammi Kabab at Dastarkhwan
However, the star of the show was definitely the shammi kabab, which were exceptional with the mild flavor of the chana dal and a hint of smokiness setting them apart from the rest. However, our quest for good biryani soon led us to Idrees or Idris Biryani, which was a place  recommended to us by many people. M vehemently argued with me when she saw the biryani joint, but in the end relented, and we bought a plate of biryani before walking over to Mubeen’s.

Idrish Hotel, Chowk Region

Our quest for the perfect biryani took me to the Chowk region. We started walking from the crossing at Chowk and nearly a kilometer later, literally bumped into a police station, and this was right opposite it.
Biryani from Idrish Hotel, Chowk
Idrees or Idrish hotel’s Biryani would remain in my memory as one of the best biryanis I have had, ever, and the best biryani that I found in Lucknow. Although there were other places, I can still say, without a doubt, that this biryani left me with a longing for more, and as I write, I am fondly planning a second trip there. The meat was soft, tender, with a mildly fragrant rice which was long and moist and the mild aroma and perfect seasoning was everything I wanted and more. We packed one plate, but we regretted that move later. I wanted more!

Mubeen’s, Chowk

We walked to Mubeen’s for some more meat that night, and ended up getting half a roast chicken from the huge counter in front.
The roast rack in front of Mubeen’s
The handsome dude in the counter smilingly asked what we wanted, and we rattled off the names – beef pasinda, nihari, kulcha. The names were all familiar to us, what wasn’t was the guys sitting right in front of the shop, turning chickens on spit with a look which spoke of endless hours of work, and a dedication which made me add a plate of chicken roast to the list of food we were ordering.
Nihari and Kulcha at Mubeen’s
I was recommended the nihari from Mubeen’s. However, apart from the tender meat, I had nothing to recommend here – the gravy was too light and without much flavor. The kulcha on the other hand, was pretty nice, and I liked eating it with my beef.
Beef Pasinda at Mubeen’s
The beef pasinda was excellent – the meat melted gently in my mouth, and I found myself sneaking off more meat from M’s plate. She was too busy eating the roast chicken, so she did not notice. Or so I thought!
Chicken Roast at Mubeen’s
The roast chicken was another really tasty and pleasant surprise – tender pieces of spicy chicken, tossed with some additional chaat masala and lemon – I got a piece with the head, and to me, that is bliss, because head = brain = happiness.

Wahid Biryani, Lalbagh and Aminabad

Well, we visited two branches of Wahid, and tried the biryani at the Lalbagh region, near Novelty Cinema, but what really made me happy was not the biryani, but well, everything else but that.
Paratha at Wahid Biryani, Hazratganj
We visited Wahid Biryani on two occasions. The first one was in Hazratganj, and we had tried vainly to find Bajpayee kachori bhandaar, and were not able to. Frustrated, we entered Wahid, and ordered the mutton Awadhi korma, paratha and a plate of chicken biryani. For some strange reason, both times we ordered mutton biryani at Wahid, and at different outlets, the servers told us that it was not available.
Awadhi mutton korma at Wahid Biryani
The Awadhi mutton korma had a delightful gravy – the perfect balance between mild and spicy. We loved the paratha that came with it – flaky and crisp, and hot! We were served some salad and what looked like a curd raita with it – we wisely avoided eating that.
Chicken Biryani at Wahid Biryani
The chicken biryani was milder in flavor when compared to the other biryanis, but the amount of salt they added to the biryani was way too much, and we ended up gulping glasses of water to get rid of the saltiness. However, as we were told about the chicken, we went back to the Aminabad branch of Wahid, and ordered the roast chicken, chicken fry and mutton liver, because you know, offal.
Outside Wahid Biryani, Aminabad
I wish I could remember to photograph those things, but the only thing I can say is, two girls, sitting in the middle of a waiting room filled with hostile people, completely oblivious to the whole world because they were too busy eating roast chicken with parathas. My last memory of Lucknow would be of sitting in the platform and cursing a train because it was coming late, and thinking of all the chicken I was missing out on. Lucknow, apart from being a wonderful city filled with beauty, is another city I felt totally at ease in, which is saying a lot.
Clock tower, Lucknow
Written by Poorna Banerjee

    1 Comment

  1. rajesh kumar 2016-07-06 at 6:24 am Reply

    This blog is Repository of food, i have found lots of delicious item, when i was seeing that type food i was feeling too much hungry.

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