The new Awadhi menu at Kangan by Chef Mohammad Danish has all the finesse you can associate with “Lucknow”. All brought to Mumbai by The Westin Mumbai Garden City. Served with the style and hospitality that is quintessentially Westin. Add to that the genteel of Lucknowi culture…
Hailing from Awadhi locales, Chef Mohammad Danish has been there and done that at several five-star kitchens across the country. With stints in Saudi Arabia under his chef’s cap, he comes to Kangan at Westin Mumbai Garden City creating what he loves to the most – Awadhi food.
Adding a whole new ring to Kangan is this is an extensively reworked menu at one of Mumbai’s best fine dining Indian restaurants. “I have changes close to 95 percent of it. After re-working for about 3 months, my team and I have created this Awadhi menu”, says Chef Mohammad.
The menu deftly balances vegetarian and non-vegetarian options across the courses, in keeping with the tastes of the local clientele. This also creates a unique appeal, in that seasonal vegetables are used to offer a balanced and tasteful Awadhi meal experience.
Let me take you through this superlative gastronomic experience, course by course.
A Shikanji to set the mood
If you think of Awadhi regions right now, you can almost feel the heat wave under your skin! Shikanji – a refreshing cooler – is the most common way for a Lucknowi household to soothe the senses. Mumbai is no stranger to heat and humidity. But the Lemongrass Shikanji on Chef Mohammad’s menu sure provides respite. With hints of sugarcane juice and kesar, and just the right tinge of sweet, it balms you and restores perfect calm.
A Shorba to trigger the appetite
Any shorba I’ve consumed so far has been an overdose of creaminess. Chef Mohammad’s at Kangan has a fine muslin-like texture. The Zaffrani Murgh Shorba is the light melody that welcomes a guest into the Awadhi fold. Tiny slivers of chicken and saffron swirl in a light flavourful stew. It’s a perfect appetiser that truly sharpens the tongue for more. One must make a special mention of the Dahi Tamatar ka Shorba. It’s the more tangy and zestful vegan alternative to the chicken stew. I for one enjoyed drinking it as much as I did the Zaffrani Murgh Shorba!
Starters to tête-à-tête with
You use a straw to down the Shikanji. You use a spoon for the Shorba. But what comes next really challenges you to use you fork. The kababs and tikkas at Kangan are so tender that any cutlery used on them becomes a monstrosity. The Kakori Kebab by Chef Mohammed is outstanding. With a whopping 30-odd masalas that go into it, it’s only one of the most delectable kebabs you can ever have in Mumbai. The ingredients and technique that go into making a perfect Kakori kebab are no mean feats. And to make the act of eating it so effortless and ethereal is no ordinary task.
The Doodhiya Awadhi Kebab is another regal creation, fit to begin a celebratory meal with. Two layers of cottage cheese harbour dried nuts and spiced prunes and become a very exceptional vegetarian starter. The crispy and tandoor-scented Firdausi Bharwan Aloo proves that nothing at Kangan will be ordinary. You may have eaten this stuffed potato starter from several kitchens. This one – stuffed with paneer, nuts and potato trimmings and then crusted with sesame – will fade away all other Bharwan Aloo recollections!
While on the before-after trip, the Kangan Tandoori Chicken is yet another game-changer. It’s a far cry from any previous one’s I’ve ever had, in terms of its delicate marinating, baby-bottom softness and perfect tandoor grill. You need to have this on your foodie bucket list, meat eaters!
Mains to make friends over
Lucknowi food, as Chef Mohammad reminded us, is about using a myriad ingredients but showing almost none. ‘Dalta sab kuch hai, dikhta kuch nahi’, he said. It’s almost like a magician’s act – stunning his audience. You’re left pondering on all the elements that you’ve just experienced. And being awestruck is a given.
The Badami Aloo is a stellar show of a chef’s passion. Baby potatoes filled with dry fruit and then cooked in a lightly spiced almond gravy. The Murgh Rezala Kofta is a great option if you prefer boneless chicken gravies. A cashew-pepper-royal cumin sauce bears aromatic chicken dumplings that are tender and undoubtedly delicious. Murgh Begmati is another one to bookmark – it’s a colonial dish that gets its name from a combination of “Begum” and “Shrimati”. Appealing to either and all, this chicken curry is a simmering onion-tomato gravy spiced perfectly with cinnamon.
If you’d rather just hit the lamb options, go for the Martaban ka Lahori Gosht. You might think I have overused the word “light” throughout this review but I can hardly help it! The light preparation mates Lahori spices with tender lamb. Traditionally served in earthen lidded pots, it’s a great summer lunch feast. But if you’re palette would prefer fiery, serve it the Burhani Gosht. The garlic and other spicy flavours are a robust example of the spectrum of Awadhi food.
The bridge between all these sighs is the Kangan signature preparation – Dal Kangan. A bowl of this creamy black dal has proved to be an unmatched crowd puller. Many have admitted to come to Kangan just for this Dal. And it continues to woo more Indian food aficionados.
Chef Mohammad Danish and his team are more than happy to suggest which breads – naans, parathas or rotis – to try out with each dish. You can select as per your choice or just leave it to the kitchen to bring you the right ones.
And now, biryani. More proof that Awadhi menus are stellar is every way. With flavours that are sensual and subtle, the Kacchey Gosht Ki Biryani is a winner all the way. Have it with the Burhani Raita – infused with roasted garlic paste and cumin or jeera.
Sweets as final salutations
We were served Shahi Tukda and we lost ourselves to Kangan forever. Several leagues above the otherwise cloyingly sweet Shahi Tukdas today, this one shows how it’s really done. You must end your Kangan meal with this.
The Moti Choor ladoo ice-cream is another delightful in-house preparation.
Kangan offers a perfect setting for dinner. The new Awadhi menu gives you more reasons this season. Redefining Indian fine-dining in Mumbai, Chef Mohammad and his team exemplify the essence of their craft.
This GHP food review was done upon invitation by The Westin Mumbai Garden City.
Meal for two: ₹6,000 +taxes