Of all the explorations I cherished at Renaissance Mumbai during my stay, the most-fascinating was my weekend “Wine & Gazal” dinner at Nawab Saheb, the in-house Indian Specialty restaurant. From incredible decor to excellent ambience, this posh restaurant foretells a Nawabi story that transports diners back to India of years past. As for me, the evening opened with multiple rounds of Vina Tarapaca Cabernet Sauvignon with lingering notes of soothing vintage Gazals in the background. I tell you, swirling and sipping ‘warm’ full-bodied Argentinean red wine in a Nawabi atmosphere is quite something!
And it only gets better when the food and hospitality are just as fabulous! Emperor’s Court in Renaissance Mumbai guarantees a night full of guilty ‘gastronomic’ pleasures, whether it be the Royal platter of kebabs or the finger-licking main course. Well-nigh validating that Indian Master Chef Yunuz Khan wins at first-rate food.
While you can choose between vegetarian, non-veg, and seafood set menu at Emperor’s Court, I’d say the Nawabi “Mix and Match” is best designed to for the authentic tasting of a variety of Royal cuisines of yesteryears. Even with the “Mix and Match” menu, I left it upon Chef Yunuz Khan to decide the best food melange for my gastronomic tour.
And then they surprised me with a large assortment of aromatic kebabs infused with Indian spices, for the first course. It was indeed, a ‘splendid’ offering including Dhuan Achari Lobster, Jheenga-E-Nisha, Shahi Gilawat Kebab, Hussaini Kebab, Shahi Babuli Kebab, Akbari Murgh Tikka, and Chef Yunus Khan Ka Paneer. And with that, the Royal feast commenced! Pre-eminently I dug into the smoked lobster, my favourite, and this oh my god was palatable beyond belief. (The secret is that they cook it with the pickled spices in the most traditional method) Likewise, Jheenga-E-Nisha turned out to be a delectable tandoori preparation showcasing King prawns slathered with saffron, cashew nut and almond paste.
The meat festivities, on the other hand, were bestowed by the kebabs from the Nawabs era, viz the mouth-melting Shahi Gilawat, Babuli and Hussaini Kebab. The Shahi Gilawat at Nawab Saheb is the softest Kebab I have tasted so far, and they sure give you an idea of how the former Kings and Queens liked their food. Wherein, Chef Yunus Khan Ka Paneer and Akbari Murgh Tikka were yet another appetising surprises.
For the main course, I received a Nawabi selection featuring Daal Nawab Saheb, Awadhi Murgh, Lagan Hara Murgh, Potli Nihari, Makhmali Jhinga, and Mahi-Dum-Qaliya with the choice of bread. However, I relished my meal most after I learned the ‘culinary secrets’ of Nawab Saheb from Divyesh Patel, the culinary associate of Renaissance Mumbai. The anticipation elated the moment Divyesh described the preparation process of Daal Nawab Saheb. Which, by the way, requires Urad lentils to be stewed in home-churned butter for 48-hours. (The excitement in his tone voted for the culinary efforts!) Gleefully, he spoke, “At first, our Master Chefs cook 5 kg ‘Daal’ in 4 kg butter for 5-hours then they leave it inside the Tandoor for overnight slow cooking. This lets the lentils absorb the richness of the butter and the spices. Following day, we give this Daal a Desi Tadka, with additional 1 kg butter and crackling Indian spices. And that is when you get to luxuriate in it.”
I bet there are plenty of culinary stories hidden in the kitchens of the Nawab Saheb and the best one will come from Chef Yunus Khan, the man himself. I concluded my Wine and Gazal night with a dessert buffet which, exhibited the best of Nawabi sweet course. Overall, I had an excellent time dining at Nawab Saheb and I ‘certainly’ can’t wait to return with my friends to grab more culinary stories. Something you shouldn’t miss either when you are around!