It’s not often that a member of the royal household invites you to a sit-down dinner after meticulously planning the menu. Which is why we couldn’t say no to Rajkumari Sarvesh Kaur of the Royal Patiala household and a direct descendent of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh. The royal household has, during its tenure, hosted feasts for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Tasting dishes that have graced royalty as the perfect appetiser for the three-course meal recreated by Chef Amrinder Sandhu of Taj Lands End, Mumbai.
“I learnt so much while cooking for this meal. Rajkumari insisted that we cook without modern instruments even as we foraged for local ingredients that are especially used for some of the dishes we’ve created,” Sandhu said. Kaur, graceful as royalty, only said that she has grown up with great aroma and tastes since her childhood days and was happy to share some of the culinary secrets from her kitchen with us.
After introductions and a welcome drink of coconut water infused with saffron, we were treated to soups, which is when we knew our feast had truly begun. The Badami Shorba was heated to the perfect degree that allowed the ingredients to shine by themselves. The rich almond milk with vegetables was tasty without overpowering the taste buds.
A small plate with Bharwaan Gucchi, Tutma Paneer and Bhatii Da Murg was offered next. The Bharwaan Gucchi, which has Kashmiri morrels stuffed inside smoked button mushrooms, was a dish we weren’t even aware of. Again, we were blown away by the sophistication in the overall dish. The theme continued with the Tutma Paneer, broken paneer pieces dipped in a special royal masala and the Bhatti Da Murg, chicken marinated in yoghurt and spice overnight, that melted in our mouths.
With that, the stage was set for the main course. We tried the vegetarian dishes that consisted of Aloo Bharme Creamwale, Shalgam Methiwali, Tamatarwala Paneer and Gobhi Creamwali along with Gucchi hor Kesar da Pulao. The first potato dish dipped in gravy didn’t taste extraordinary but its homeliness won us over. The Shalgam Methiwali, described as a mélange of turnips and fenugreek, was again on the homelier side while the cottage cheese mixed with tomato and cashew nut gravy didn’t quite register with us.
The Gobhi Creamwale on the other hand was the star of the entire menu. The sheer creaminess and flavor of the cauliflower dish had everyone asking for seconds and even thirds. It tied and brought together the entire dish with the pulao rice with morrel and saffron and a Shahi Paratha.
The non-vegetarian dishes include Murg Kibiti, which are slow-cooked chicken legs, Kofta Raganjosh (minced meat koftas with spicy gravy), Mewadar Keema (minced meat with thickened milk) and Mutton Aloo Bukhara, a mixture of mutton and plums. This is served with Duggani Mutton Pulao, a straightforward way of adding double the mutton in pulao than is generally served. A vegetarian Malka Masoor Dal (red lentil soup with coriander chutney) is another addition to the menu.
With a fully-satisfied meal, we weren’t sure how the Shahi Phirni dessert would turn out. When the perfectly-turned out dessert was placed on our table, our doubts vanished and appetites returned. Indeed, the rice pudding dessert is one of the best we’ve had anywhere and deserves a special mention after the Gobhi Creamwali.
Rajkumari Sarvesh Kaur along with Taj Lands End have kept the menu for patrons to savour at Masala Bay until January 28, 2017. Food enthusiasts who want some royal treatment can pay Rs 2200 plus taxes per person for the vegetarian menu and Rs 2500 plus taxes for the non-vegetarian menu. We highly recommend this one.
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