Abu Dhabi: If the way to your heart is through the stomach, then Lazeez, the new Indian restaurant on Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi is sure to win you over.
You have to ignore the tacky decor — gold, magenta and yellow, ceramic tables sans tablecloths and crude upholstery — and go for just the food. The ambience may be a far cry from your fine dining experience, but the spectacular, extensive menu more than makes up for it with a culinary feast offering the best of Awadhi, Dum Pukth and other Lucknowi dishes. It took me a good 20 minutes to leaf through the extensive menu and it isn’t easy to make up your mind with 35 types of kebabs from chicken, mutton, seafood and vegetarian varieties on offer. Curry lovers will also be spoilt for choice with 13 chicken curries, 13 mutton delicacies and 12 seafood dishes to chose from. Biryani lovers will also love the 25 varieties on offer.
Noorjahan biryani made of minced meet, dum machli biryani featuring fried hammour or pomfret fillets, lobster masala biryani, bharwan mushroom biryani (char grilled mushrooms stuffed with spinach cottage cheese) are some of the items worth mentioning.
Sadiq Khan, the owner of Lazeez, says the chefs are all trained by renowned names such as Ishtiaq Qureshi, one of the stalwarts of Indian cuisine.
For a true Lazeez experience, you must ditch the cutlery and eat the items, served in earthen plates and pots, with your hands. After each use, the earthenware crockery is broken and discarded — the reason for the extra 25 per cent charge.
We first dug into murgh reshmi kebab (Dh32) which looked all the more appealing because it was dished out on a huge red brick plate. The boneless chicken breast was marinated in roasted green flour and cream and covered in a thin layer of egg. The chicken grilled to a golden brown texture was soft and melted in our mouths. Next we tried out gosht galawati kebab (Dh37), a speciality made from fine mutton mince mixed with spices, chopped onion, green chilly and coriander leaves. The shallow fried patties were moist inside and served on a bed of reshmi parathas.
We would also like to recommend the kachumber salad (Dh10) This otherwise banal mix of chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumber, green chillies and coriander in a lime dressing was made to taste exceptionally good at Lazeez.
For our main course we tried the murg tawa masala (Dh33). The semi-dry dish made of tender boneless chicken pieces tossed in onion, tomatoes, capsicum and a good dose of cumin and garlic was quite enjoyable.
A welcome change from the regular naan was the taftan bread made of wheat flour enriched in milk and yoghurt and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
It would be a crime not to try out a biryani from Lazeez and we tried the aatish-e-jhinga, a signature dish made of grilled jumbo prawns. The dish, served in a pot sealed with dough, was finger-licking good — literally. The prawns were juicy and the masala had permeated well into the rice, lending it an irresistible aroma.
The maliki falooda, made of rose syrup, milk, vermicelli and served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, brought our dinner a sweet ending.
Restaurant timings: 12pm to 12am, Friday: 1pm to 12am