When Nawab Wajid Ali Shah finally settled down in Metiabruz, he brought with him a cuisine which was then combined with local flavours. You see, the beauty of Nawabi cuisine lay not only with the flavours, but also with how it would benefit the king. It would be based more on the weather, the physical condition of the nawab, the local ingredients, and a few other conditions. Which is why the flavours of Metiabruz have always intrigued me, and my ventures there were mostly to eat my weight in meat.
We begin with an assortment of Kababs, starting with fish tikka butter masala which wasn’t too impressive, followed by paneer tikka, where the pieces of paneer were buttery and moist, with a heady fragrance of cloves and cinnamon, served with chunks of capsicum and tomato. We followed it up with a side of vegetable jhalfrezi, which was spicy and nice, but lacked something which I could not put my finger on.
The Chicken Reshmi kabab was predictable but tasty, but I was enamoured of the Mutton Tikia. Tender and succulent, with a hint of smoke wafting from it, this was my pick from the menu. I wished for a few pieces of parantha to wrap it up, not to mention, a few drops of lime juice.
The Mutton Biryani was what I had looked forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. This was a typical example of good Kolkata Biryani, redolent with the essence of rosewater and ittar, soft chunks of meat falling off the bone at the first touch, and perfectly cooked rice, each grain separate from the rest. The potatoes and the eggs would make anyone happy, and I might have taken a second (and perhaps a third) helping. It was served with a rich Pudina Ghol, which was spicy and minty, and was the perfect palate cleanser when one might get tired of the Biryani.
I have always associated Chicken Chaap with a plate of oily goodness, where the oil forms a major part of the cooking process, keeping the meat moist during the cooking procedure. Here, the meat was spicy and cooked with very little oil, which sort of dried out the meat as well. It was accompanied with a side of Moglai Paratha, thin parathas which reminded me of the ones which are made at home, but these had a lovely flakiness which is something that I love.
Dessert contained an assortment of sweets, including the creamy Firni, the Sheera, where the hot, sweetened and thickened milk was added at the last moment to retain a bit of the texture of the mildly roasted vermicelli, and the Zarda pulao, which, like its name suggested, was redolent in saffron, the smell intoxicating to any saffron lover.
We also had a brief meeting with Chef Manzoor Alam, who had helped create this rather large compilation. He was born and brought up in Metiabruz, and had learned the art while working in his family business. Apart from the Chef, Mr. Shahenshah Mirza, one of the descendants of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, was present for the event and we had a nice time interacting with him about the food served in his family. The Metiabruj Dawat is on between 16th to 23rd April, Dinner buffet only (7:30 pm to 11:45 pm) at INR 2250 + taxes with a glass of select premium beverage per person and INR 1950 + with a glass of soft beverage per guest.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to the Metiabruj Dawat by the brand.