That at some point arrived final week, and what a nice day it was. One, we had been assembly two of our dearest associates after eons (with our masks and social distancing in place). And, two, what a scrumptious hamper they carried for us! The meals — yakhni meat pulao, shaami kabab and Ghar Ka Salan — was from Arq. Somehow, our associates thought that we had a marriage ceremony at residence, for they’d acquired meals for a full baraat. Not that we complained: as a substitute, we dug into the meals with relish (and continued to take action for a couple of days after).
Arq is run by a meals lover referred to as Anamika Bajpai, who is from Lucknow, and grew up in a largely vegetarian residence. But Anamika’s curiosity in varied varieties of cuisines — together with good previous Awadhi non-vegetarian fare — prompted her to throw up her company job throughout the pandemic, and begin a meals supply service. She is based mostly in Gurugram, and most of her clientele is there. But meals is delivered throughout Delhi-NCR by a service at an additional value (9315480032; menu at: Facebook.com/arq.on-line.ggn/menu).
I loved the shaami kabab essentially the most. The kababs that we typically get are of minced meat, however I actually love those which can be a bit stringy, ready with crushed meat. That provides an added texture, a chewiness that is surprisingly tasty. Arq’s kabab was like that, and never crumbly as kababs might be. The menu card describes it as “Reshe Waaley Shaami — gloriously meaty and reshe-daar”. I have to say that’s true.
The scrumptious yakhni pulao, cooked in meat inventory with saffron and milk, had the strong flavours of complete spices akin to black cardamom and mace. The gravy in the meat curry — referred to as Ghar Ka Salan — was gentle and never thick or heavy like a korma. It jogged my memory of all these home-cooked mutton curries, ready for Sunday lunches.
Anamika tells me that she was all the time in meals, however picked up the finer nuances of Laknavi delicacies from a host of books that she pored over to collect simply the correct recipes.
The charges are a bit excessive, maybe, however good mutton is costly, and Anamika will get most of her aromatic spices from Kerala. The Arq Special Mutton Boti prices ₹1,100 for half a kilo. All mutton dishes (500g) are priced at ₹900, and rooster based mostly dishes (500g) at ₹750. Vegetarian dishes value ₹650 for half a kilo. The vegetarian fare consists of Shaadi Waley Dum Aloo, Kaju Muttar Makhana and my all-time favorite (and full of childhood recollections), U.P. ki Tehri. The non-veg fare consists of keema kaleji, Khadey Masala Ka Meat and Awadhi dum biryani. The chef is including new dishes to the menu: Chandni Quorma (a sort of safed korma), Dum Ka Keema (keema cooked on steam) and Kimami Sewaiyan (a candy dish).
Arq, I’m instructed, means essence. I get the whiff, I actually do.
The author is a seasoned meals critic