In Ramadan, the old dusty bylanes of Mohammed Ali Road turn into the epicurean centre of the city. Its charm lies in the humongous variety of food — where people can chomp on the meat chunks, naan and sweep clean phirni off the earthen bowls and all this while they stand ground as hundreds of people head their way! It’s not every one’s cup of tea to find their way through this food fare.
And if your idea of enjoying a meal is planting yourself on a table in an air-conditioned setting, forget it. Out here, you hog where you can get your order heard, and keep on the move.
So then where do the docile foodies go if they want a bite of the Ramadan spread... Well, quite a few places actually.
Neel, Mahalaxmi Race Course
Neel’s chef Mukhtar Qureshi has created an à la carte menu inspired by the traditional delicacies like haleem, nihari, kebabs, paya shorba, malpua and the like, available at Mohammed Ali Road. “The menu is a combination of the street fare available at Mohammed Ali Road as well as traditional Awadhi fare,” he tells us. For those that have a soft spot for mishtaans, the menu features Ramadan specials like Malai Sheer Biraanj, Shahi Nawabi Tukda, and Chandani Malpua.
Their patrons who observe rozas find it convenient dining here for iftar, says the staff. “Within the precinct of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Gate no. 7, a couple of minutes away from Neel is a mosque which patrons could use before visiting Neel for an early dinner,” says Deepti Dadlani, their Communications Head.
How about a chef coming over to serve you iftar fare in a community thal? A casual chat with his business partner Majid Khan and his mother about the good old days had chef Karmokar kicked about the idea. “We are dishing up dum biryani, and an assortment of kebabs on a thal good enough to serve at least 12 people.” Costing anywhere between `5000 to 20,000, these thals will be catered to be bigger groups only. “We either serve half game or the entire goat on the thal. The idea is to spread brotherhood, after all don’t they say, a family that eats together, stays together.” And to make this possible, all that the chef asks for is six to eight hours of notice.
The fare available this time of the year is so popular that everyone wants to dish up a piece of it. WTF! too. During the last 10 days of the fasting month, they will be setting up a live counter outside to serve delicacies like Gurda masala, Kaleji fry, Mutton bhuna, Kandi kebab, Nargisi kebab, Bheja masala, Khichda, Nali nihari and Shami kebabs. Says Kishore DF of WTF! says, “It’s not going to be a full course meal, but more of the fare you get at Mohammed Ali Road.”
Nawab Saheb, Renaissance
Head here if you’ve had enough of the street fare. As part of the ongoing Lucknowi festival, Renaissance has designed a set menu for Iftar for the 27th roza at Nawab Sahib. The menu has fruits, fresh juices, dates, Galoti kebab, Kakori kebab, Seekh kebab, Vegetable kebab, Laapsi, Namkeen ke laddu, parathas, biryani, rose sharbat, nimbu paani and more. Their executive chef, Sandeep Pande, says as there already is a Mohammed Ali Road for the street fare, we wanted people to try the Nawabi fare. “It’s the food of the Nawabs, from Awadh and Lucknow, that is part of UP, which has the largest muslim population in the country.”