Dum Pukht Bengaluru Makes A Smart Move And Goes Completely Awadhi

After 25 years of giving Bengaluru a delightful combination of Awadhi and Anglo-Indian food, this restaurant at ITC Windsor Bengaluru switches things up a notch, dishing out pure Awadi delicacies.

Published On Jun 26, 2024 | Updated On Jul 04, 2024


Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs, the Awadhi and Anglo-Indian restaurant at ITC Windsor, has always maintained a low profile, despite its many awards over the years. This restaurant which serves a set menu, is open only for dinner (and for lunch on the weekends) and on reservation is one of those elusive places in Bengaluru that barely held food festivals or popups. 

But after more than 25 years of its existence, the fine-dining restaurant decided to do away with the Anglo-Indian touch in its new, retired the ‘Jolly Nabobs’ and embraced its Awadhi identity completely, and with that it brought in the kakori kebab – one of ITC’s hit dishes that was earlier available at ITC Gardenia’s Kebabs & Kurries. 


The new menu was introduced by ITC Group’s master chef Gulam M Qureshi (ITC Maratha) and also featured complex dishes such as the Jhinga Dum Nisha, Seekh Gilafi Dum Pukht, Mahi Dariya, Mahi Qaliya, Gucchi Sabz e Zar, Dum Pukht Koh e Awadh, Murgh Yakhani Pulao, Kesari Phirni etc. 

Kakori Kebab

Let’s talk about the kakori. Anyone who’s ever eaten it knows that there’s quite literally no chewing involved. One bite and then you just let the delicious flavour of the spiced lamb melt in your mouth and then disappear. What makes this kakori special is that you don’t taste the overbearing flavours of garam masala one bit. After all, it does have cloves and cinnamon. What you get is their subtle hint, and with a touch of saffron. Quietness is much needed when you eat the kakori kebab. 

The Guchhi Pulao

But it’s hard to be quiet around Gulam Qureshi because at that precise moment, with your mouth filled with kakori, you want to know if they’ve made the kebab smaller or if it’s subtler than before. “People think that kebabs need to be spicy, or that in general Awadhi food has a lot of spices. It’s not about the quantity, it’s how you use them. If you wrap masala in a potli when you’re making a gravy and then take it out once done, you will find a softer finish than the overbearing nature of garam masala,” he says. All you can do is nod because you’re still busy eating. 

It was over the Shahi Nehari and its prime cut of lamb that’s cooked overnight with the clever potli masala and then put together with roasted lentil and onions – and this could very well be a perfect way to deal with the rains – that chef talked about the Late Imtiaz Qureshi and how he joined the ITC Group way back when and brought him along. “He was a very stylish man and quite charming,” he said. Gulam Qureshi is Imtiaz Qureshi’s son-in-law and the heavy baton of carrying forward the Awadhi food at ITC is now in his hands. 

Gulab ke Kheer

The Nehari was as beautiful as the way chef narrated stories, talking about his various experiences with guests over the years, and all we did was dip the ends of the warqi paratha and revel in the taste of the stew. The royals were quite ‘shaukeen’, he said. “The world praises the olive oil now but it was in their kitchens back then itself,” he says while explaining how the food that he had prepared was not as rich as people think it would be. 

As our tables were being cleared and plates changed and I was quite sure it was time for dessert, chef presented the famed Dum Pukht Biryani, and with some serious flourish. He sliced off the dough seal and steam rose into the air; that’s when the delightful aroma of the biryani hit our senses. The delicate flavour of the basmati cooked in mutton stock, the tender meat in itself, the minimum hit of saffron – this is a meal by itself.

It's after this biryani you wonder if you really want dessert. But you do. The Shahi Tukda cannot be missed. The decadent saffron rabdi spread on syrup-soaked bread and garnished with slivers of pistachio and almonds make you want to learn Urdu just so you can wax eloquent about the food. 

At Dum Pukh, ITC Windsor Bengaluru 

Timing: 12.30pm-3pm (only on weekends); 7pm-11.30pm (on all days) 

Meal for two: INR 6000 plus taxes 


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Photo: Featured Restaurant