Address: 2nd Floor, Plot No. A2, A, Entertainment City, Sector 38, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201301 (Delhi NCR) India
Time: 12 Noon to 1 AM
Meals for two: Rs. 2,500
Cuisines: North Indian, Mughlai, Continental, Awadhi
Facilities: Full Bar Available, Wallet Accepted, Live Music, Rooftop, Outdoor Seating, Smoking Area, Serves Cocktails
Spellbound, Sector 38, Noida: DECOR
In a mall that is under the radar, overshadowed by its illustrious neighbors, Spellbound is a large, spacious restaurant with a private dining room and full-length windows at one end. It also has a terrace garden on the floor above, which I have not been to yet. Dr Izzat Hussain, Lucknavi food impresario, is the man in charge of this kitchen. Hussain, who appears on TV, is a Unani medicine practitioner as well as a recipe developer, whose writ runs large in Spellbound. Approximately half the menu is western and I must confess that I have not been tempted to try it. The Lucknow part of the Indian menu is what draws me to the restaurant over and over again and whether Hussain is present or not, the food is surprisingly consistent and of a most superior quality. You will not feel unpleasantly full after a five-course meal here. Neither is there any curd based gravy. Dr Hussain feels that the active yeast in curd is neutralized upon subjecting it to heat, so it is counter-intuitive to cook with it. It must be said that however good Lucknavi food is, Hussain’s version of it incorporates his health promoting touches.
Spellbound, Sector 38, Noida: FOOD
Murgh kalpasi (Rs. 475) is succulent pieces of chicken mixed with the spice variously called dagadphool, patthar ka phool or kalpasi. Neither is the end result bitter, as often happens, nor does the highly aromatic spice overpower, so there is some trick at play here. Izzati galauti kebabs (Rs. 500) is offered in two versions: chicken and mutton force meat. I tried the chicken version, which has obviously been made for today’s diner who avoids red meat wherever possible. The kebab was on the verge of disintegration, but just about held its shape. The best part was that though it was authentically spiced, the delicate meat was the primary taste, rather than the spices. Kabuli gosht (Rs. 700) is rich and unctuous, with the meaty flavor permeating the soft-as-butter chickpeas and is highly recommended as an off-the-beaten-track preparation. Mutton zaffrani biryani (Rs. 775) is gently redolent with stock and saffron. Like all the food here, the spices buzz gently in the background.
Spellbound, Sector 38, Noida: PLUS AND MINUS
Izzati Kakori kebabs are curiously unfinished, in the absence of a tandoor, this being a mall restaurant.