Previously, I’ve posted something about the generic biryani scenario in Kolkata. And out of them, very few joints have proved to be synonymous with quality and legendary food. And even fewer have been able to come up to such a level that stories are written on it and research has been conducted on them. Royal Indian Hotel in chitpur is one such place.
How to go and when to go:
If you’re travelling via M G Road, go towards howrah station and get down at the nakhoda masjid stoppage. Turn towards nakhoda masjid and follow the tram line. Opposite to the mosque, there lies The Royal Indian Hotel. Those, who’re coming from Lalbazar/ Poddar court, an even interesting ride awaits them. Get on any tram towards chitpur and relax. It’ll drop you bang in front of royal. Ask him to wake you up at Nakhoda. This place is open on all days 11 AM – 1030 PM. But, better go early.
Entrance and ambience:
In this place, its a 2-storied restaurant, 1st floor being little expensive. even first floor is having one AC and non-AC section. I personally prefer always the AC family section on the right side. The staircase is pretty steep and tough for any person with knee problem. No lift.
For food, I should not reinstate that its purely mughlai cuisine here. The owner of this place is said to have descended from the rakhabdars of Nawab Wazid Ali shah. Hence, all the items will have a subtle difference in taste from most other run-of-the-mill joints in Kolkata. For example, Biryani here dows not contain the mandatory Aloo and Egg. Do not get surprised or do not even fall off from the chair. Its true. The Biryani is having little history tucked in it.
They say when Nawab Wazid Ali Shah came to Kolkata, he was allotted a yearly stipend of INR 12L PA by the british government, which was quite a hefty sum that time. But nawab being nawab, he used to have a huge team of assistants with him and lots of other people to take care of on a daily basis. And that sum was not really that huge as compared to the number. Now, In nawab’s kitchen, there were 2 types of cooks- Khansama and Rakhabdar. Khansama used to cook for everybody and Rakhabdar used to take care of only the Nawab and his immediate family members. Now as it was getting difficult for the khansama to feed everybody a good amount of meat with the biryani, he introduced the use of aloo/ potato and boiled egg to increase the quantity but it was a sin for the Rakhabdars. And as time went by, Khansamas spread thoughout Kolkata and Kolkata Biryani was introduced, which won hearts of millions. Rakhabdars still stuck to their root and potato/ egg was never ever used in Biryani. Hence, be prepared to have Biryani here without them.
But, to make up to the loss of that, Royal Biryani is THE best in Kolkata if one is looking for subtleness in it. Its mild and fragrant and meat pieces are so tender so that they just melt in the mouth. The rice is long-grained and non-greasy yet having that aroma. Now, I can’t describe it. Just one suggestion. Do yourself a favor and have it…..
Along with the Biryani, we had Chicken Rahmi Tikka, Fish Tikka Kabab and Mutton Burra Kabab. Chicken Rashmi Tikka was good, nothing extra-ordinary. Good, succulent pieces, lightly spiced- my son loved them. Fish Tikka was brilliant. It was spicy yet not fiery. They use Fresh water Vetki and portion size is quite good.
But Mutton Burra Kabab (above) was brilliant. Boneless Mutton Chunks were soft yet chewy and that gave them their identity. Spread a little dhania chutney and heaven is yours. Too bad they do not serve wine here….. (I knew that, didn’t I ? )
Next we ordered some Roomali roti and along with, came the famous Mutton Champ and Mutton Pasinda Kabab. We’ll start with the champ. Mutton champ is what Royal is mainly famous for (really ??? ) and its good. But, lots of bone pieces come is a dish and every one a while I needed to sort it out- which I didn’t like. On the good part, it was not extremely oily and its difficult to figure out where the gravy finishes and the meat starts or is it the other way round ?
The Mutton Pasinda Kabab (above) was, on the other hand, was a revealation. It was boneless mutton chunks in a thick brown gravy. Quite hot, yet enjoyable. We just loved it. One suggestion for both the dishes, once you’re through, wipe the bottom of the plate clean with your roomali roti and a heavenly smile will come to you… Amen.
Well, so, we were mostly done yet the waiter didn’t allow us to leave unless we have a slice of their ishpecial Shahi Tukra. and boy, was he right…..
A fat, thick piece of sliced bread soaked in rabri and sprinkled with dry fruits- somebody has to be really really insane to ignore that. Neither did we. Statutory warning. Order this dish before you start your meal because this thing tends to get over extremely fast and you’ll be the one to lose out.
We could hardly move and probably needed a help to get out from the table. All the items were extremely moderately priced, then again when could money buy happiness ?
Do yourself a favor and before you even start discussing the Biryani scene in Kolkata, visit this place. In all probability, opinions will change.
Bon apetite !!!
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