Firdaus’ Paradise Regained

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Now that’s a clever heading, but not entirely true though, considering Firdaus, Taj Krishna’s fine dining Hyderabadi and Northwest Frontier cuisine restaurant has consistently remained ahead of the pack since its inception quarter of a century ago.

As if that weren’t enough, Executive Chef Nitin Mathur and his team have upped the ante with new additions to an already extensive menu. The new menu has an interesting mix of all-time favourites, as well as some innovative Rajasthani and Lucknowi dishes from the royal kitchens.

Deconstructing the menu course-wise, lets start with the entrees. The melt in your mouth Kakori Kebabs starts off this culinary odyssey with a bang, and have you hooked at the first bite. Colourful Jaituni Malai Kebabs, exceptionally soft paneer slices layered with red and green chutneys and topped with olives are a clever Indo-Western twist. The Sangri Lal Mirch Ke Kebabs and Murgh Jahangiri Shorba were noteworthy too. The Pathar Ke Gosht took a bit of a beating though. I’ve sampled much better versions of it in this city. Chef Nitin’s newest creation, the Kebab-e-Firdaus was an unexpected surprise. One usually associates fiery red kebabs with chilli and spice, but these were sweet and succulent from a cashew marinade.

Most noteworthy among the main course vegetarian dishes was the Aloo Wadi Bharta. While Wadis are usually soaked in gravy, this was a dry flavourful potato and wadi mash. It’s always heartening when Chef Nitin refers to in-house condiments as homemade. And these wadis are another addition to Firdaus’ kitchen of homemade stash after extensive research from authentic sources. Chowgra and Kaddu ka Dalcha are two noteworthy additions that are sure to become favourites.

Murgh Tarmezi Korma with its rich cashew and cream gravy was slurplicious, especially to scoop up with Firdaus’ assortment of naans and rotis. The Kachche Gosht ki Dum Biryani, a classic from the Nizam’s kitchen accompanied with Mirchi Ka Salan and raitha is a perennial pleaser, and happy to note that the new menu has retained this signature dish.

Now to the sweet course – Hyderabadi palate pleasers like the Double Ka Meetha, Khubani Ka Meetha are still around with assorted Kulfis. A newcomer to this segment is the Badam Ka Kund and Baked Anjeer Halwa. All make for a blissed out happy ending indeed.

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