Torch Bearer of Lucknowi Taste
Shaheer A. Mirza
Lucknow has always been a centre stage of Mughlai cuisine ever since the Nawabs or the deputies appointed by the ruling Mughals stepped here. They brought with them the taste of Persia & Central Asia and all the mouth- watering delicacies that fell enroute to Lucknow via Delhi & Lahore.
The modern day Lucknow boasts of various outgoing activities but something that has contributed a big deal towards adding spices to popularity of Lucknow has been its eateries or the food-joints. One such family catering to the taste-buds of Lucknowites has been the fore-fathers of Mohammad Anwer, the proud owner of Al- Zaiqa Restaurant at Lalbagh Square that intersects sprawling gateways towards Hazratganj.
Decades have passed by but the delicate scents of Mughlai cuisine are still in the air that pulls the passerby and reminds the presence in Lucknow. Mohammad Anwer dedicates his delicacies to the family he comes from which has expanded its reach from the by lanes of Aminabad to the reach of Hazratganj, the heart of Lucknow. His grandfather Mohammad Shafi started the business in early 40’s by the name of ‘Muslim Ghareeb Hotel’ that later transformed into ‘Hotel Habibiya’.
From his maternal side too, Mohammad Anwer is blessed to have the names that boast of his tasteful lineage. His maternal grandfather Late Mohammad Ali started Hotel Alamgir in Aminabad that still caters with their speciality Band-Gosht. Al-Zaiqa Restaurant is known for its Chicken Masala, Qorma, Bhuna Gosht and other specialities like Murgh Musallam or the wholesome grilled Chicken, and not to mention the aroma of ever-lasting Biryani. Keeping the tradition alive, Al-Zaiqa is serving the tastes of Mughlai cuisine that vary from extremely mild to spicy, and is often associated with a distinctive aroma and the taste of ground and whole spices. A Mughlai course is an elaborate buffet of main course dishes with a variety of accompaniments.
Abdul Haleem, the father of Mohammad Anwer bought him the current place at Lalbagh in the year 2000 and ever since the place is tirelessly serving the taste- buds of the lovers of Lucknowi cuisine.
Writer is a travel professional, freelance writer, commentator and a political analyst