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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Tijouri -> Unlock Fragrant and Flavourful Memories

The mouth-watering smell emanating from a tandoor where naans are being cooked, the sweet scent of saffron-milk as it is poured into a biryani and the smell of the last dollop of butter added to an almost-ready dal makhani; these are the kind of treasures that can be unlocked at Tijouri, the Indian specialty Restaurant at Radisson Blue Atria. Read on.

This is a lovely fine-dine place located in the lower-ground floor of the Radisson Blue Atria. At the entrance is a small fountain around which a few tables are arranged and is perfect for couples looking to spend a quiet, yet fabulous date. As you enter, the first thing you notice is the almost ethereal aura created by the lovely purple-hued lighting. Even the neatly arranged chairs have a shade of purple fabric, and add to the appeal of the place.

The walls are tastefully adorned with murals of the faces of Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai and these do deserve a second look for the sheer beauty of the artist’s work. One side is taken up with a large horizontal window which allows you a glimpse into the kitchen asthe chefs prepare your meal. Antiquely-Elegant is the phrase I would use to describe the ambience here.

The Menu:
Tijouri has A La Carte as well as a set menu, and while I generally prefer ordering A La Carte, the Set Menus here had all the signature. I was surprised to find the pricing of the set-menus to be fairly reasonable for a place like the Radisson. Full-Course Menus start at INR 899(Nawab, the vegetarian version) and go up to INR 1499(Maharaja). We chose to go with the more elaborate Maharaja, which had the largest variety of their signature dishes.


Course 1: Soup
Yakhni Shorba: This is a meat soup of Persian origin, and was supposedly served to Alexander in Bactria. It has several regional variations, including a thick saffron-scented one from Kashmir, and a lighter, broth like version from Pakistan. The version here is an Indian variation. Soft, shredded pieces of lamb in a meaty, soup broth, with a sprig of mint and a dash of lime to bring out the lovely mild flavors in this one. This was indeed the perfect start to our meal.

Course 2: Appetizers
Gilafi Seekh Kebab: The journey of the kebab from its Turkish origins to the Indian sub-continent is quite a fascinating one. Gilafi kebabs are of Persian origin, and ‘Gilaf’ translates to a cover. This Gilaf refers to the covering of veggies (primarily capsicum, tomato and onion) over minced meat. The version here was exquisitely tasty, and the lamb-mince was cooked to perfection. The kebabs were of a melt-in-the-mouth texture, and the blend of spices was subtle, but delicious.

Meen Masala Fry:  Stepping away from the Sindh province, and going further down south, this was fresh seer fish deep-fried in a batter spiked with spices from Madras, predominantly curry leaves, coriander seeds and peppercorns. A welcome change from the bland basas of the world, we relished this dish with a dash of lime and a creamy mint chutney.

Oruindai Onion Pakoda: So ‘Urundai’ loosely translates to an 'orb' in Tamil. For example, a meatball is called ‘Kolla Urundai’. A pakoda in a fine-dine you ask? This was indeed one of the best Onion pakodas I have had, hands down. The addition of fennel seeds imparted a slight sweetness to the pakodas, which I enjoyed immensely.

Course 3: Mains
Jhinga Masala: A preparation reminiscent of the bengali malai curry, but with a spicier and more fragrant body. The prawns were beautifully cooked, and had a slight bite to them, as they should be. This would go well with any lightly-spiced rice preparation.

Nalli Ka Salan: Finally, the most awaited dish of the evening came in. Nalli translates to a shank, and generally it either a goat or lamb shank. Salan can be interpreted as a gravy. This dish is an amalgamation of the rich Nizami and spicy Andhra flavors. The richness of the gravy is from malai or yogurt and the spice quotient is from red chillies and peppercorns. This dish tasted as good as it looked. Fall-of-the-bone meat and a perfect balance of spice and sweet, I almost fell in love with this dish. A fitting tribute to authentic Deccan Cuisine.

Course 4: Rice
Gosht Dum Biryani: Biryani is a highly subjective and debatable dish, and having tasted the best of biryanis from Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ambur, this would definitely rate high on the taste meter. The scent of saffron as the biryani was brought in, the lovingly layered and dum-cooked rice and the juicy pieces of lamb (I would have preferred mutton though to be honest) cooked to perfection. There was none of the artificial rose-syrup and no overpowering masala to spoil this lovely dish. Simply put, I loved this too!

Course 5: Dessert
Baked Paan Yogurt with Sweet Boondi: After such an extravagant meal, the dessert needed to be soothing, and this was indeed. Presented in a matka, sprinkled with boondi, and a couple of betel leaves perched on top of it, this dessert looked like a dream. As we dug into the luxuriously thick curd, the subtle and refreshing flavors of paan soothed our palate. The sweet boondi imparted a bit of crunch and a little more sweetness to the dish. A bite of the lovely paan leaf enhanced the flavor ten-fold, and I found myself enormously enjoying this simple, yet beautifully crafted dish.

Tijouri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Be it the peaceful ambience, the beautiful mini-fountain, the lovely live-kitchen, the excellent food or the polite service, this place has it covered on all fronts. And with the pricing to be fairly reasonable, this place definitely deserves a visit for its old-world charm and food!

Abhishek Chatterji / Author & Editor

A Grammar Nazi. Suave, Savvy, Geeky. Calm,Impatient,Versatile. Ductile, Malleable yet Brittle beyond a point. A true-blue Gemini!