Last night, at the Dum Pukht, the Sea Rock and India best Indian food restaurant, we had a dinner fir for the old nawabs of Avadh, cooked by Chef Imtiaz Qureshi ans Sons, and presented by Grand Gourmet Jai Inder Singh Kalra.
Mr. Kalra, who in some mysterious manner is associated with every five and four-star restaurant in the country and speaks with epicurean delight on all varieties on food (raniging from the Japanese to the French), had gathered at a long table a dozen friends, himself sitting at the table. Others ranked from the general manager of Citibank to the editor of Filmfare (no, not Pritish Nandy, Rauf Ahmed.)
We began with a very dry white wine. Mr. Kalra emplained: The British spolit it all by standardising on hot curries and chilled beers, actually a dry white wine is ideal, it opens the taste buds and enhances the other senses.
And as we sipped the wine, we filled our sideplate with three of the four pickles provided. There was garlic, each separate bulb of it marinated in its own juice, definitely the most garlicky garlic I have ever eaten. And there were tiny samosas made entirely of ginger, a fine ginger paste inside and the cover made with the thinest silver of ginger, the whole thing folded and packed with a lavang. You take gentle bites of it and hit the roof evey time. And a raw papaya chutney, recommended for everybody except enceinte women.
The actual dinner started with a hara kabab, which is a vegetarian kabab and in itself a miracle. Made entirely of soft creamy spinach, chopped so fine that it could only have been done by a surgeon scalpel. And to clear the mouth, a sorber of crushed ice, 70 per cent lemon juice, 30 per cent khus.
Then came the meat, to each dinner a single knuckle bone, a most tender meat crowning the bone, the animals specially broughts from Aurangabad. And there was a fish, done in mustard oil and with mustard sauce.
Finally, the biryani, the rice almost white, the minimum of masala, no grease. And with it the burhani, garlic sauce, refreshingly piquant, blending with the aroma and taste of the rice.
And a larg, lot gulam jamun for dessert. We skipped the masala tea and came out into the chill winter air of Land End, Bandra. Perhaps not in Bombay, but the winter has certainly arrived in Bandra and stations further north.