We all know that Umerkot is a district in the Sindh Province of Pakistan, very prominent during the time of the Mughals and the British. History students are more familiar with the district as the Great Akbar was born in Umerkot. Borrowing the name and its History is one of the newest restaurants in Bangalore. Our freelance writer Rajesh Dangi relishing the taste of the Mughal Emperors strongly recommends Bangaloreans and visitors to experience the Royal cuisine.
Which recipes would mesmerize their taste buds with the magic of their Khansamahs? The leads to the answers may be found at Umerkot, a traditional Indian and Mughlai place situated on 80ft Road in Koramangala. Three entrepreneurs- Sajit Chacko, Sanjay Tyagi and Anand Singh opened up Umerkot a fine dining restaurant and offers up gourmet delights akin to those produced by the royal khansamahs.
Having ruled over India for so long, the Mughals left a deep and long lasting influence on Indian cuisine. The Mughlai cuisine is Royal due to its rich sauces, magnificent curries, marinated roast meats and mouthwatering sweets. Its a fancy of food lovers all over the world ranging from tangy shorbas, biryanis to the rose petal strewn kulfies. Its irresistible flavors both aromatic and pungent, exotic spices, gravies and completely different cooking methods from Noble Bawarchikhanas
While I was to have this experience called "learning dinner" to learn more about the history, tradition, and techniques of Mughlai cooking, a scattershot approach Charles proposed made more sense. The idea was welcomed by Sajit going to have his chef, Sanjay prepare a tasting menu tour with explanation through the history and development of Akbari gharana of north Indian cuisine, including a discussion of each of the dish being served.
Reaching a bit early in the evening, beating Koramangala traffic and got a chance to chat up with Sajit and the conversation broke with my first stupid question to a well informed veteran, Whats so special about north Indian food? he was nice to smile and clarify there is nothing called north Indian food, but a collection of cuisines we have adapted from various cultures, gharanas, invaders who ruled, visited and became part of India. I was all my ears. It made me think on the lines I put forth my question to him as if a foreigner asking any Indian Do you speak Indian?. While there are 14 languages spoken in India no Indian speaks language called Indian.
Sajit continued explaining the ideology of Umerkot, the birth place of Akbar, the emperors process of getting along his khansamahs (chefs) while he is on the move visiting places, fighting wars and the journeys setting up on musafirkhanas and sarayahs ( temporary cooking places ) and his khansamahs would being creatively cooking for the emperor keeping his taste, inclination, expectations in mind balancing it out with ingredients they carried, local ingredients they savored along the fresh meat they could find etc the magical amalgamation mesmerized my soul and the stomach
As we joined by me fellow friends Sajit invited us to the table and we started discussing the wines Umerkot has a fantastic cellar which houses 50+ varieties of wines, few of them go well with the menu he had in mind for us. He was graceful and patient to hear our questions and managed to answer almost all of them while few of us even visited the cellar few moments later we agreed the Indian way of Sula Dindori Reserve Shiraz
The ambience of Umerkot was relaxing, not heavily studded with upholstery but very artistic placement of furniture with ample space between seating to help protect the privacy of conversations and proper isolation. The capacity of this 80 seater restaurant has three sections: a patio, the main restaurant and a secluded cozy section near the bar. All the sections are ideally isolated from each other and most importantly place is well ventilated. The use of silk on the walls and on the table spreads was creative yet simple. The artifacts like paintings, weapons on the wall help you relate with the emperors saga. The wood décor is rather understated and simple making it ideal for both business and families.
The menu is apt and precise; focuses more on the experience and not on the long list of menus creating confusion. As for us we honored what the Sajit and Sanjay had proposed, it goes like
For Starters we had .. Aalo tikki, Murg ki Chaanp (Chiken legs marinated with lemon and royal cumin) and Gosht Laccha Kebabs ( Lamp slivers marinated with paththar ke phool and kebab chini) this time it was difficult to give Sajit an ear as the senses focus relishing the great taste ..as the discussion continues with questions from Eating Chefs ( Charles, Madhu etc) to the hosting Chef Sajit, conversations was interesting
The Main Course was Murgh e Firdaus ( A Musafirkhanas specialty with magical fillings and curry) Gosht Nalli Afghani ( Lamp shanks cooked with Saffron) and Dal Makhani (fusion of lentils simmered for a minimal of 12 hours with extraordinary palate ) Mutter Makhana Masaledar ( puffed lotus seeds cooked with green peas and spices) on the vegetarian frontier the extraordinary Gelafi Kulchas were so soft and delicious.
Sajjt added that the particulars of this cuisine also related well with Unani aspects of the medicinal use of spices and cooking methods with witch even with sucha heavy use of meat the digestion is a simple affair, he further added that the medicinal effects of these magical recipes make your stomach lighter rather than heavier meal after meal. The meat and the marinating it surely make it a wonder. With few ingredients getting reintroduced due to people liking like that of Peas in the Mutter makhana masaledar, which originally used to use channa-dal instead, he was frank to admit their experiments, we all were enjoying the experience.
By the time we could give justice to the main course the Gosth Biryani shah Pasand ( Lamb biryani inspired from bawarchikhana of Royals) was served, must mention that the service was attentive, prompt and carried the Aadab due to the nobles
This was the ecstasy time when the Royal Sweets like Paneer ka Jalebi, Tandoori Ananas (made by cooking the caramelized pineapple in tandoor) served with Vanilla Ice Cream it took us quite a while to realize that the other tables are full and Sajit seen engaging with few others as we relished the fantastic dinner which lasted for almost two hours
On a separating note we did spend another good part in the kitchen where these delicacies were and being created, Sanjay and his team was keeping our eyes engaged while we repented having to get satisfied with the fullness and contentment but our eyes continued to dance on the Noble color-codes steaming out of the kitchen .
are many facts we heard, many aromas experienced and understood, few did help
us change our assumptions, beliefs of Mughlai food
Keeping a tag on the
wrist watch and the place to return again, we burped away back home late night
when the Koramangala 80 ft road was almost sleeping while the night was young
Umerkot is located at #30, 80 Ft Main Road, ST Bed, Koramangala, Bangalore-34, ph: 2550426 or 41522223/4/5/6.
The restaurant also has valet parking and a small paan shop serving maghai
If you have been to Umerkot recently and would like to give your feedback, please provide here
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