It’s inside the Royal Kitchen, of Noor-Us-Sabah Palace, is where I got my first insight into the food that the Royals once savoured. Zaaiqa, unearths the very essence of a Royal Kitchen, along with, aromatic fragrances which make the food almost seem irresistible. In fact, this in-house restaurant of WelcomHeritage Noor-Us-Sabah Palace offers an unmatchable opportunity, for you to relive the Nawabi era of Bhopal. With authentic Peshawari and Mughlai cuisine on display, Zaaiqa is the perfect Diner in Bhopal, to enjoy fine dining amidst a delicate ambience. Although, it’s the “Live-Cooking” kitchen that confirms the wow factor to action! A cooking style, which is more of a visual treat, you certainly can’t miss.
Nawabi Interiors of Zaaiqa in Bhopal
Then again, being a WelcomHeritage property, Noor-Us-Sabah Palace, has not only, been restored to its former glory, but also to its regal traditions. The front entry door of Zaaiqa is a royal confirmation of that statement.
For a brief moment, I stood awestruck, admiring the Grand teak double door weaved in intricate designs along with, the rose-filled earthen pots welcoming you royally to some high-quality dishes, right out of the historic royal cookbooks.
Apart from the food, the tall twisted Mughlai teak pillars, of the restaurant, narrate the fascinating history of the 18th and 19th-century Royal Mughal era. These Mughlai and Peshawari creations, in particular, were amongst the first few trendsetting dishes of the time. Once, cooked only for the royal households, WelcomHeritage has now made these dishes available at to all who have a taste for fine dining.
Nawabi Food of Zaaiqa in Bhopal
Royal residences are famous to have separate kitchens, primarily, because it lessens the risk of fire, as well, keeps away the unwelcome fragrances. In Bhopal, Za-aiqa too is built in a separate section, towards the left, if arriving from inside the Noor-Us-Sabah Palace. That’s one reason to explore this restaurant, another being, the unique hand-written recipes passed on from generations to generations. Each one of these recipes is far more complex than your imagination. Back in time, professional cooks worked hours on food, before, it was finally served to the Royals.
Bhopali Raan Masala
The Mughlai Raan Masala is an exclusive Middle Eastern Gosht dish, cooked in a traditional rustic pot for hours. Even though, it’s the marination-seasoning which defines the ultimate taste of this perfectly-cooked leg of tender lamb. I almost had Executive Chef Suman Rakshit, reveal the lost royal recipe. However, I lost that thought as the dish arrived on the table. Drizzled with melted butter, lemon juice, and special masalas, Raan Masala, is divine from first to the last bite.
Laal Maas may be a Royal Rajasthani speciality, however, it has been the favourite of royal families across India. In Bhopal, this delicious meat curry has been the favourite of Royals ever since the early 18th-century. To re-create a royal dining experience, Za-aiqa brings to you the spicy royal ‘Ghosht’ cooked in generous amounts of pure ghee, further infused with aromatic spices and green chillies. Above all, it’s the deep red colour of the dish is what attributes most towards its celeb status.
Last but not the least, I had the chance to taste Bhopal’s very famous Nalli Nihari, with a royal twist. In earlier days, this speciality breakfast dish was served to the kings after they performed their morning prayers. Hence, the name, Nihari, which refers to ‘Day’ in Urdu. This slow-cooked mutton curry goes best with freshly baked Bhopali bread. An absolute delight of a flavoursome creation!
At WelcomHeritage Noor-Us-Sabah Palace, it’s all about the quality. From multigenerational ties with employees to serving lost traditional recipes, this place is a reminder of everything kingly. I highly recommend you to have at least one meal at Zaaiqa on your next trip to Bhopal.