Rated as one of the top restaurants of the world due to its authentic north western frontier province cuisine, Bukhara is the top class eating place in India. It is one of many restaurants of respectable ITC brand and surpasses all others in popularity. It’s signature ‘Daal Bukhara’ is irresistible and once you had it, the taste lingers in your mouth for days if not months and years. Its uniqueness is based on the perfected and fine cuisines of north western frontier province of pre-partition India. The rugged area was known for earthly charm of tandoor (Earthen Oven) and roasting. The stress is on right way of roasting after marinating the fine quality meat and non meat products with other essential ingredients. The secret recipes have continued to flow from generation to generation and the chefs at Bukhara are privileged to treasure them.
I had been to Bukhara few years ago. At that time I was a vegetarian and had relished the ‘Gobhi Ka Phool’ with Daal Bukhara and the naan. The taste of tandoori vegetarian dishes with a whole cauliflower was really mouthwatering and with sprinkling of special masala over them, I felt like paradise. Now with larger choice of non vegetarian food too, I decided to revisit Bukara last week.
The entrance to restaurant is noticeable by a large hanging wooden menu card. You can have a look at it and can also decide the orders, before even entering the restaurant. It may not be a bad idea, because once you are in , you don’t want to wait even for seconds before plunging your teeth in succulent recipes prepared in glass partitioned open kitchen.
I had to wait for sometime outside as the restaurant on a Sunday afternoon was filled to capacity. I utilised the time to finalise the order therefore. After some time we were ushered into the restaurant by a pathan suit clad gentleman in the tradition of North Western Frontier British India. After being comfortably seated the menu card came in form of a wooden plank. It had all the dishes written in two categories of vegetarian and non vegetarian. I ordered a ‘Sikandari Raan’ and Daal Bukhara with Pudina Naan and plain Naan.
Raan recipe is prepared by raosting a marinated meaty leg of a lamb or goat and is cooked delicately. The recipe comes in a big size and you need at least 2 persons to devour it. The order came soon. The restaurant does not places the forks and knives on the table and therefore we used our hands in right earnest to feed our salivating mouth. The taste of the ‘Raan’ was really great. It was so perfectly cooked that it dissolved in mouth with a little pressure of teeth and tongue. We had it with pudina naan and it tasted like heaven. After finishing a good portion of the recipe, we decided to taste the signature ‘Daal Bukhara’.
The black lentils are cooked in special earthen pots over night and is garnished with perfect and ancient mix of herbs and spices along with dollops of cream. As you get a spoon of daal inside your mouth, your eyes are closed automatically and you want to feel the recipe with a roll of tongue over a spoonful of daal inside your mouth. I had tasted it before too and was missing this perfect rich taste for years. I had few more spoonful and in no time my brother and me finished the recipes. We were feeling fully happy, that is ‘full’ and ‘happy’ both.
The order for sweet dish was now made with ‘Phirani’ and ‘Kulfi-Faluda’. Phirni is made with rice and other ingredients while Kulfi-Faluda is made with condensed and sweetened milk. We had it and smacked our lips like a happy cat. The experience at Bukhara once again was really mind and tongue blowing. I thanked the staff at restaurant for their great food and their service and came out with a smile.