Nabanno was the first restaurant I reviewed in this blog. It’s among the few restaurants in Hyderabad that does justice to my native cuisine, and is among my favourites due to its amazing consistency. However, I had noted earlier that Nabanno is a touch expensive, which turn off foodies looking to explore a new cuisine. Now, they have introduced a new buffet that’s available on weekends and holidays. The buffet offers a great chance to relish the many flavours of Bengali cuisine without breaking your pocket.
Bengali cuisine doesn’t strictly have a concept of starters. Nabanno has tried to make do with serving “bhaja-bhooji” like batter fried eggplant (Beguni) and spinach. The Beguni was not as crispy as I would have liked, but the spinach fry was brilliant. A bit surprisingly, the non-veg starters weren’t something you would find in a typical Bengali meal – chicken Manchurian, and an Indo-Chinese preparation of fish fry. Both the non-veg starters tasted brilliant – especially the fish preparation; however, they were bit of a misfit in the menu, and were obviously kept to tend to the local preferences.
For the main course, the buffet included Luchi (a light and fluffy version of puri made from maida), Sweet Pulao, and Steamed Rice. The vegetarian offerings of the night included traditional Bengali preparations like Chholar Daal, Chaaper Shukto, Aloo Poshto, Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Phulkopir Torkari (a cauliflower preparation with potatoes), and Dhakar Morich Baata. I love the Morich Baata (a paste prepared by grinding leafy vegetables and spices) and Dhokar Dalna (a gravy made from lentil cakes), but I am not a big fan of the version of Shukto that Nabanno serves.
Bengali cuisine is known for the prominence of fish, and that’s amply on display in the Nabanno menu. There were three fish preparations – Rui er Kaliya, Tangrar Jhaal, Pabda Sorshe. Each preparation is a very different yet a very bong way to enjoy fish. The other two non-vegetarian delicacies on offer were Dak Bunglow Chicken and Chingri Batichochhori (prawns cooked with veggies). The former is a rustic dish where chicken, egg, and potatoes are cooked together to create a delicious combination. I loved Nabanno’s rendition of this famous dish, but I couldn’t find any egg in the chicken gravy.
Desserts is one of the famous areas of Bengali cuisine. However, Nabanno’s buffet doesn’t have as many options as one might expect. This didn’t bother me too much, since by the time I finished the main course, I was stuffed! Desserts on offer were Chhanar Jilipi, Pantua, and ChhanarPayesh. Chhanar Jilipi was my favourite dessert of the night, but that’s mainly a personal preference. The preparation of the desserts gave little room for complaint.
Nabanno plans on offering the buffet for both lunch and dinner during Durga Puja (Sep 30 to Oct 5), along with a limited a la carte menu. The entire experience costs Rs. 599 + taxes. Once again, not exactly cheap, but considering what’s on offer, an entirely reasonable proposition.