Ramadan 2017: Iftar Review at Bombay Brasserie
Savour a meal from the Mughal Kitchens
Prepare to be led on a royal journey at Nuskha e Shah Jahani, a special Iftar menu curated by chef Jitin Joshi at Bombay Brasserie, Taj Dubai for the Holy Month of Ramadan. Now, Bombay Brasserie has always steered cleared from the progressive route, sticking to traditional Indian cuisine so we wondered how different could this one be from their regular menu. But the two hour journey we indulged in, with Chef Joshi helpfully playing food and history guide, was educational and delicious at the same time.
What I liked the most was the detailing that went in crafting the menu that offers tribute to the flavours of the ancient Mughal Empire. If this was the food that was being served in Shah Jahan’s courts, it’s easy to see why Indian cuisine is considered one of the richest and most refined in the world!
But does it work in today’s times? Oddly, yes! Chef Joshi has tried to stick as close to history as possible. We were told, the menu was developed taking inspiration from historic scripts written by King Shah Jahan’s royal chefs. The recipes in these scripts had been long forgotten with only two manuscripts left behind, on in Chennai and the other one, in Britain. Working closely with students and professors of Jamia Milia Islmaia University Delhi, one of the hotel’s Sous Chefs, Thoufeek Zakriya, a historian and calligrapher, painstakingly translated a few key recipes from the original manuscript allowing the Bombay Brasserie team to replicate them.
So what makes this food so special? One, the refinement and rich flavours; two, the perfect blend of spices and three, the quality of ingredients that lend a special essence to each dish.
My absolute favourite was the Kaliyan Shirazi (braised lamb shanks) that had the flavour of saffron, raisons, apricots, almonds and pistachios. The meat was supremely tender, melting in the mouth. The Harees (chicken mince mixed with broken wheat) was great too. The Yakhni The Bala – a special biryani cooked with goat stock and infused with ghee and spices, had a unique fragrance to it while the soft naan bread had a very slight sweet tinge that made it a perfect accompaniment to the meats. The meal, which began with a sharp lamb trotters soup followed by kebabs and the main course, ended with a smooth firni.
So while every dish was flavourful without overpowering you with spices, the flip side was that it turned out to be a heavy meal. This was a dinner that pulled no punches, it had the best but it surely leaves you wondering about the calories. Another minor quibble is that it had little to nothing for vegetarians. Yet, if you want a whiff of royal Indian culinary heritage, this is a daawat worth savouring.
INFO: Dhs225 per person, till June 26, daily from Iftar to 11.30pm, Bombay Brasserie, Taj Dubai, Business Bay
Location: Bombay Brasserie, Taj Hotel, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay – Dubai