Tuesday 25 October 2016

Safar - The Journey Of Flavours From Then Till Now at Sepia, by Renaissance Lucknow

Aadaab janaab aur mohtaram! I am surely ruling by this style of greeting, eh? Anyway, that just simply means 'hi everyone!'

Being a Lucknowite by birth and have lived in the city of Nawabs all my life till now, I have a great great attachment with Lucknow and everything that's associated with it. May it be the culture, fashion, its people or most importantly its food. As you might know, Lucknow is known well worldwide due to its unmatchable Awadhi cuisine which is an indigenous part of the city. The dishes and cooking style of the people here is inspired and influenced by the Mughals, and I'm one die hard fan of it too!

Recently I attended the on-going Awadhi food festival, SAFAR - THE JOURNEY OF FLAVOURS FROM THEN TILL NOW, along with my friend Azman Khan at Sepia restaurant at Renaissance Lucknow Hotel, and it became a must share story for me with you all!  

The richness of Awadhi cuisine lies not only in the variety of the cuisine but also in the ingredients used like mutton, paneer (cottage cheese), and rich spices. The need for such a cuisine arose in Lucknow as the emperors, the Nawabs of Awadh, being inhabitants of Persia were used to a certain type of diet which comprised of grains, dry fruits, fruits and vegetables available in that part of the country apart from various forms of meat. This style of cooking was further polished by the Nawabs by adding exotic flavors of saffron and other Indian spices.

The bawarchis (chefs) and rakabdars (gourmet cooks) of Awadh invented the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which became popular and synonymous with Lucknow. Their spreads consisted of elaborate dishes such as kebabs, kormas, biryanis, kaliyas, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas

Today, years later with SAFAR, Chef Mohsin Qureshi - the Chef De Cuisine along with his team at Sepia, took ques from the original recipes of some popular Nawabs of the city, and has reinvented its glorious flavours while recreating an extravagant menu for all of us to relish and feel the modernised twists in the age old recipes! 

Awadhi cuisine is native to the city of Lucknow. The cooking patterns of are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Northern India with the cuisine comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared with exotic spices, herbs and garnished with dry fruits. I, along with Azman gorged upon some of the finest Awadhi delicacies prepared exclusively for us by Chef Qureshi and below is an array displayed for you to have a look and drool!

Oh JK! This food festival is running up till 2nd November so you can actually go and taste the entire menu yourself!


Kebabs are the integral part of Awadh. There are several varieties of popular kebabs in Awadhi cuisine like Kakori Kebabs, Galawat ke Kebabs, Shami Kebabs, Boti Kebabs, Patili-ke-Kebabs, Ghutwa Kebabs and Seekh Kebabs are among the known varieties. So, we were served lots of kebabs in the starters and I was so happy to see that they had some unique vegetarian recipes incorporated!

Til Bhindi ke Kebab (Sesame + Lady Finger)
My favorite out all, so that's no.1!

Doodhi Dahi Gilawti Kebab (Bottle Guord + Curd)
This is one of the most unbelievable kebabs I ever tasted.

Tara Arbi
For most of you who don't like colocasia, this is a must try!

We also tried 'Gobhi (Cauliflower) ke Shaami Kebab' which were super tender and tasteful!


Machhi Masala (Fish fried in herbs and spices)
Soft, delectable, yummy!

Jeera Dhaniya Murgh 
(Cumin Seed + Coriander in Chicken filled with Mozerella Cheese)
Very innovative dish, and Cheesy AF. A junk non-vegetarian's paradise!

Gosht Gilawti (Mutton Kebabs with Garlic Bread)
Love the unique display and it did taste awesome as well!


Curries and Kormas originated in the lavish Mughal cuisine wherein lamb or chicken was braised in velvety, spiced sauces, enriched with ground nuts, cream and butter. The main course menu of Safar include lots of revamped vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties and you must take a look below at what all we tasted the other day!

Bhindi Nain Tara (Spicy Ladyfinger)
I was drooled by the name already, and also its my favorite vegetable so it was yum indeed!

Dal Dhungar (Black Lentil with Mixed Spices)

Khumani Kofta (Apricot Stuffed Koftas)
Melts in mouth, amazingly thought of and well put together with a blend of spices and innovation!


Turai Gosht (Ridge Gourd + Mutton)
Succulent enough to pop your taste buds and delight for the fans of fusion dishes!

Lagan Dum Ka Murgh
Completely swayed by the juicy chicken and Awadhi flavored gravy. A complete gourmet delight!

Awadhi breads are very significant. A few varieties are of the raised breads and improvisations are of different types and made in various ways that include the rumaali roti, tandoori roti, naan, kulcha, warqi paratha, lachha paratha, sheermaal and baqarkhani. We preferred tasting Plain naan and one of our favorite breads at Sepia, the Warqi Paratha. I'm not too sure, but if you remember in my previous post for Sepia during the Kakori food fest, I did mention how luscious this bread was, and still is indeed!

I am a vegetarian survivor, but my friends keep forcing me to try non vegetarian food too. Well, its just not my cup of tea and I am glad that vegetarian food combinations are innumerable for people like me to taste some real good food without compromising on taste. Well, Azman says the same for non vegetarian food served to him!

PS : I had a wonderful time during the Awadhi dinner and it was an helluva experience rediscovering flavors from the times of my great grand parents (or even earlier I'm not sure) but the twists added by the chef at Sepia restaurant truly won my heart! I personally and highly recommend all of you to at least visit SEPIA once, also because the ambience is so authentic and soulful, and like I say you can always thank me later! ;)


I can never really dress up to impress, but dressing up for a theme could be in my 'I-Like-To-Do-Stuff' list! This time I wore a long indo-western kurta from Saatchi Fashion with a pair of maroon churidaar pajama from Jabong, and styled it with a crystal necklace from Accessorize, a brass handcuff from Myntra and beige-gold heels from Steve Madden. Suited well I guess! 

If you liked reading this post, don't forget to share it across! Until next time, lots of love and virtual hugs.

Photographed by : Azman Khan



  1. Very well described shubhi... Again a mouth watering post 😅

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