TRULY IN­DIAN IN EV­ERY BITE

Step­ping in­side In­dus at the Royal Opera House ( ROHM) trans­forms you into an­other world. The re­gal set­ting, the up­lift­ing am­bi­ence, and the lav­ish spread of the best In­dian cui­sine is a ver­i­ta­ble feast to the city’s food buffs.

HI Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - STORY ASHISH DUBASH • PHO­TOS SHABIN E —ashish­dubash@time­so­fo­man.com

Visit In­dus at Royal Opera House for In­dia’s best cuisines in Oman. While you treat your palates to some In­dian de­lights, also be part of the Biryani Fes­ti­val.

It was a bright and chilly af­ter­noon as we walked in­side In­dus with im­mense ex­pec­ta­tions hav­ing heard lots about this place.

We were there to try the new menu pre­pared by celebrity Chef Shaikh Arif Ahmed. Chef Arif, who was the pi­o­neer dur­ing the launch of In­dus, is back af­ter a brief hia­tus ow­ing to his undy­ing love for the restau­rant since its begin­ning.

To be­gin with, we were served Vir­gin Am­rud­tini, a guava drink with roasted cumin and rock salt. It was re­fresh­ing and kind of set the mood for the rich food that was to fol­low.

We started with Pa­neer Taipatai where fine lay­ers of cot­tage cheese are stuffed with mixed vegeta­bles, pome­gran­ate seeds, dry nuts, fresh herbs and gar­nished with pome­gran­ate sauce on top which en­hanced the dish.

It was fol­lowed by Phat­tar ka Gosht, a Hy­der­abadi style sliced mut­ton dish mar­i­nated with In­dian spices and cooked over a stone. Murgh Malai Parche, chicken flavoured with car­damom, cheese and cream and topped with bell pep­per and fin­ished in a tan­door was very suc­cu­lent and was ooz­ing with cream.

We also had Stuffed Bar­beque Prawn, where prawns are mar­i­nated with BBQ sauce, and stuffed with bell pep­per, cheese, cashew nuts and then grilled. The tiger prawns were huge and de­li­cious.

Zafrani Lob­ster, as the name sug­gests, is lob­ster mar­i­nated with saf­fron and cooked in tan­door. You can get the taste of saf­fron in ev­ery bite that you take. Hamour Pa­trani, which is very sim­i­lar to pa­trani machi, a Parsi del­i­cacy where fish is coated with co­conut and mint chut­ney and wrapped in ba­nana leaf and cooked in the tan­door.

Mush­room Gahlawat were but­ter mush­rooms sautéed with a de­li­cious blend of spices and made into pat­ties and served on a roti. The starters were so fill­ing that it would have eclipsed the main course but for­tu­nately it couldn’t as the food con­nois­seur in us looked for­ward to the royal treat.

The main course started with In­dus’ sig­na­ture dish Raan e Ul­fat. It is baby lamb leg mar­i­nated with saf­fron, rose petals, and cooked in ghee. The lamb was cooked so well that one could see ev­ery strand of the meat. Palak Gosht fol­lowed where tiny mut­ton cubes were sautéed with chopped spinach and siz­zled with gar­lic. If you do not have a palate for spinach like me, don’t make the mis­take of skip­ping this dish. It’s de­li­cious to the core.

We also had Murgh Delhi Qorma where chicken is blended with home­made Qorma spices and cooked in rich and dry nut gravy. Methi Murgh, chicken is cooked with fresh fenu­greek leaves and sautéed with a de­li­cious brown gravy, was rich, creamy and had sub­tle flavours. These were served with Ba­gara Rice, that is sea­soned bas­mati rice with In­dian spices and cooked on dum. Rose Pe­tal Paratha was some­thing new I had tasted where you could get the aroma of the rose pe­tal in each bite. We ended our meal with green ap­ple jalebi where slices of green ap­ple were bat­ter fried and soaked in a saf­fron sugar syrup was a novel con­cept. It was truly a feast of tra­di­tion and spices that won’t set your sys­tem on fire, but at the same time pam­per your senses.

That’s not all. Ar­dent biryani lovers can have a real treat by at­tend­ing the In­dus Biryani Khaz­ana Fes­ti­val. In­dulge in a va­ri­ety of non-veg­e­tar­ian and veg­e­tar­ian biryani from across In­dia. From Awadhi Biryani, Sha­ja­hani Biryani, and Gosht Bhori Biryani to veg­e­tar­ian birya­nis like Qu­booli Biryani, Kathal Ki Biryani, and Narangi Biryani, en­joy a va­ri­ety of flavours. The fes­ti­val is on from Jan­uary 25-31.

Lo­ca­tion:

First Floor, Opera Gal­le­ria, Royal Opera House Mus­cat Open from: 12-3:30; 6:30-11:30pm

+968 2202 2888 (https://www.rohmus­cat.org.om/en/opera-gal­le­ria/ mall-map)

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