As I reach Crowne Plaza Today in Okhla, my stomach growls in anticipation. I love Awadhi food and with their all-day dining Edesia promoting a month-long festival called Dawat-E-Awadhi, I was about to indulge in an evening of rich and glorious slow-cooked delicacies. My mouth was watering.
Making my way up the elevator into the first floor, Edesia beckoned on the left. The 24-hour restaurant serves patrons various cuisines but their month-long Awadhi food festival is the centre of attention. Big handis (deep and wide-mouthed vessels) line the buffet counter. For Rs 1900 (plus taxes) a person can indulge in a fantastic Awadhi dinner. Children can enjoy the feast for Rs 1000 (plus taxes).
Two appetizer platters arrive on the table. The non vegetarian options have melt-in-your-mouth Galouti, delicious and tender deep fried chicken, miniature Shammi kebabs and Kathi rolls. The vegetarian one has stuffed Paneer Tikka which is rich and creamy, and meatless versions of the others. I would definitely recommend the deep fried chicken, Galouti and Paneer Tikka. They were my favourites.
Check out their tawa section because the options change everyday. While I tasted Tandoori Pomfret which was the star that day, they do serve raan and other such specialties. I preferred the tawa chicken more than the fish but then again, I’m not partial to pomfret.
Now came the time for indulgence. To be honest, I don’t do buffets because like most, I tend to overeat. But with experience and practice I’ve found the right path – take tiny tasting portions! The Awadhi Mix Dal was so tasty. Different lentils and ghee make for a perfect combination on a winter night. The vegetarian fare includes Paneer Shahi Pasanda, Subz Makhanwala and Palak Mushroom Malai. The paneer is soft, the mixed vegetables have the right amount of spice with an after taste of butter while the mushroom and spinach combination hits all the right spots. Then comes the Awadhi Dum Aloo. Small potatoes in a rich gravy is best eaten with buttered breads.
For hardcore non vegetarians, I would definitely recommend the Shahjehani Karele ki Nihari. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined liking meat with karela (bitter gourd). The meal just melted in the mouth while the bitterness of the karela was enough yet not overpowering. The quality of the meat was superb and it was interesting to chat with executive chef Sudershan Bhandari on the unique combination! The Noorjahani Murgh was extremely rich and creamy while the Zaffrani Fish Curry in a red gravy was spicy enough to give a balance.
The rice section has three handis – steamed, pulao for the vegetarians and of course the famed Mutton Biryani for meat lovers.
Every rich meal deserves a richer ending. While the dessert section is inviting, the deep fried sweet Jalebis are perfect to pop into the mouth. Made in front of your eyes, you consume the intricate handiwork of the chef while the sweet syrup leaves its mark on the white plate. I could barely move despite those tiny tiny portions!
The Dawat-E-Awadhi is on till November 30, 2016. Go taste the wonders of Awadhi cuisine at Edesia. You won’t go home hungry, I promise.
Where: Edesia, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi in Okhla Phase 1