My friend (also a keen enthusiast and food lover) has been asking me to dine at THE CARAVAN SERAI for over a year. She some how carried the impression that this Caravan serai is an authentic Mughlai / Indian restaurant. I have been avoiding only because I had never heard any good reviews neither did i read anything very positive about it. So on the 10th September, we landed up at the Water field Road, (albeit before time) all ready to savor the delicacies of Avadhi Food Festival that they had advertised for and we saw banners all around the pavements. Since we were early, we were informed that the restaurant would open at 7 pm and that they serve Buffet for dinner. Hence we spent some time in Bora Bora only to wait for the restaurant to open. The food at Bora Bora was okay (Invoice 13 table 14, waiter 19, bill Rs. 794/-). That is the price we paid for the wait to savor the famous Avadhi food of Caravan Serai !!!!
So at 7 pm, we walked into an empty restaurant , there was no buffet we were informed and they served only A la carte manu, but thats okay, no issues. We were anyway there to savour the Real Avadhi food as they had been advertising.
After much deliberations , we ordered the following :
Nalli Neihari (After much deliberations and hesitations)
Gosht Parda Biryani
The steward no. 2 ( do not recall the name) had categorically been cautioned that we were not only Food lovers but also trained Chefs hence the kitchen should be informed to get it all right and perfect.
Se prior to placing the order the steward was quizzed, but obviously did not know anything about teh cooking processes and the authencity of the dishes. He was informed to take the message to the chef anyway. He went inside to check if they could do the authentic and the real Nalli Nehari, He came back saying all that what ever we were asking for was not available ! So it was declared that teh real authentic Avadhi Food was not available.
Any we placed our order. The real and authentic Nalli Nihari should have been cooked using the Nalli gosht (meat behind the Shin along with the bone marrows from the Nalli (bone) - called Boung ka gosht by cooks and chefs). So much for the NALLI NEHARI , wonder what else they called Nalli nehari when it is not made of the right meat.
Okay so the Nalli Nehari arrived, a basic yellowish gravy with excess cinnamon, and Dhaniya powder added with fillers (probably maida) to make the gravy look gooey and thick, there were average pieces of Mutton with some fat attached to it. there was no bone marrow. So this is their version of Nalli Nehari served, which actually had gone all wrong.
It is obvious the kitchen guys, or who ever was inside had not heard about it, obviously there were no chefs but just a couple of masalchees trying their hand at what ever they could rustle up in the name of Avadhi Food .
The Gilawati kebab were just about okay, they were actually shaamee kebabs served and named Gilawati kebabs.
What came to us as Parda Biryani was neither the Masala layered Biryani neither was it the Yakhni (PULAO) Biryani which is the right term, it was one mix of all the Masala meat cooked and mixed with Rice and the Handi Packed with a lid and lined with Dough flour (Atta) and made to sit in the tandoor for a while to get heated. The portion was good but there was no taste at all. None !!.
We ate what ever was served reluctantly, since we had to pay for it, but with each morsel we also kept promising ourselves never to return and to always take references before trying new places like these.
Caravan Serai serves nothing new, nothing worth talking about, absolutely average food, nothing worth writing home about, apart from this review to save others from the trauma.
The dessert ordered was Shabnam Moti, Which was procured from outside (the Halwai next door ) i would say shame on the fake Chef of this restaurant because no CHEF worth his salt would allow for food to be purchased from outside while he himself was running the show. This is the difference in restaurants here in India and abroad. Abroad the CHEFS own and run the restaurants and the Kitchen themselves and hence the surety of the taste and the quality. Here the chef or the masalchee in this case is just a small pawn doling out whatever he can in the name of Avadhi food while the dessert and the halwa etc is purchased from the LALA next door and served as Avadhee food, So where is the consistency and the quality and the genuineness of the food you promise to serve.
It is better if the menu reads, " main dish and starters prepared in Caravan Serai" and rest purchased from the halwai next door.
To top it all, the music being played at the Avadhee Food Festival was Punjabi Bhagra music, So much for this much touted Avadhi Food Festival.
We as is obvious we had a very bad experience . and through this blog and review i want others to save them selves the trouble of going there, spending their money and getting nothing but disappointment. Unless you are okay with eating trash and it does not matter what is served to you.
Most striking here is the fact that despite these comments from people, I notice the management of the restaurant does not deem it right to respond to any of the feedback, Perhaps the clients are not important to them any more and they feel that they have attained success with their outlets. Let them not be surprised when they would be sorry for saving these few wise words that they ought to write to get it right !!
Stay away from Caravan Serai, that is the good advice.