Asaf Jahi, one of the viceroys of the Mughal Empire in the 16th Century, broke away to establish his Independent State at Deccan plateau of India and the people from this state known as Nizams. Even if, Nizams were part of an independent state, they were ‘Mughals’ to the soul. Mughal Emperors raised cooking to an Art and Nizams kept this Art intact in their cuisines.
The Royal Kitchens of Nizams- the Aristocrats of their time, included a fusion of indigenous culinary culture of Vedic and Aryan periods in India and further customised by the foods of Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkish nations. The culinary trail of Nizams was later extended by European touches and formed the ‘Modern Nizam Cuisine’ famous in Hyderabad, India. Generally, Nizam Cuisine included the following courses of the meal:
Mashghool Dastarkhwan (main course)
These courses were enjoyed on Dastarkhwan – a great spread used by Nizams, where continuous improvement to their cuisines was discussed and shared amongst chefs and cooks. This is how the Culinary heritage was maintained during Mughal and Nizam Era.
The most popular dish of the Nizam cuisine, undoubtedly, is Biryani. Aromatic Basmati rice and Meat marinated with spices & yoghurt are cooked in Pure ghee at the heavy bottomed vessel, and steam pressure created by the lid sealed with dough (Dum) is a treat to taste buds. Apart from Biryani, Nizams used to eat Pakoda, Haleem, Kulcha, Naan, Salan, and Desserts as a staple.
Chota Restaurant brings a few of the dishes of Hyderabad (Nizams) to Abu Dhabi residents.
With its minimalistic menu and small but cosy space, Chota Restaurant reflects Nizam Cuisines of India through its food, hospitality, and traditional (fancy) interiors. The earthy aroma of old furniture from India’s countryside houses, sharp colours of artefacts, a touch of Bollywood’s glitter, and staff in Lungi is unique Indian experience amid Arabic & European themed Al Seef Resort in Abu Dhabi.
Crispy Vegetable Pakora served in Copper mini-bucket with Mint Chutney is a nicely balanced dish; mildly spiced pakoras, when dipped in spicy & fresh mint chutney becomes a perfect appetiser.
Chicken 65, a popular appetiser and main course in India, invented in southern India, have plenty of theories behind its names. Following are a few of them:
- 65 numbers of spices were used to marinade and cook this dish
- The chicken was cut into 65 pieces before cooking it with spices
- Soldiers in the Chennai canteen were presented an extended menu which had this dish against the serial number 65 (written in Tamil and hard to pronounce for them)
- Mr A. M. Buhari invented this dish in 1965 using local spices of southern India and introduced it in his fine dining restaurant – Buhari Hotel (though ‘Hotel’ is a place to sleep, Indians like to eat at the ‘Hotel’ and therefore, you will see a lot of Hotels on Indian street where there is no arrangement to sleep but to eat).
Chota Restaurant seemed to prefer a theory involves Mr Buhari and serve Chicken 65 as ‘Chicken 1965’. Southern Indian states have their versions of Chicken 65 by modifying the spices in it, but the common thread of these variations is ‘Herb’; usage of fresh curry leaves and coriander is essential to cook Chicken 65. Chota, understand this essentiality of herbs and use it appropriately in Chicken 1965. Perfectly marinated boneless chicken when tossed in varieties of spices and herbs, pleases the taste buds. Tiffin, the lunchbox of Indians, is used to serve the main course in this Restaurant, and it is so good to see that they get you the complimentary butter Naan, Raita, and a fresh salad with Chicken 1965.
Aromatic ‘Dum ke Biryani’ is cooked to the perfection in Chota. Fresh Australian Lamb for preparing the Mutton Biryani and local breed of Chicken for Chicken Biryani becomes one thing with long grained Indian Basmati Rice when cooked on Dum. Biryani is best enjoyed with ‘Mirch ka Salan’ but by adopting the choice of Emiratis and Western customers in the vicinity, Chota Restaurant serves Biryanis with Chicken Masala gravy, and it is not much spicy.
Small or Minimal in the Hindi Language means ‘Chota’. Chota Restaurant keeps everything minimal, and this is the Ultimate Selling Price (USP) of this place; minimalism let you enjoy the quality and hassle-free Service. Right from Appetizers, bites, the main course to desserts, Chota Restaurant provides its customer with countable choices of dishes, but all of them are of top quality.
Fresh hot and cold beverages are delicious. Mango Lassi with its perfect consistency and sweetness fused in yoghurt is something you should not miss in Chota.
Coconut is ideal for summers, after enjoying Hot and Spicy meal during summer, you may give soothing Coconut Milkshake a try.
Three popular Desserts from India: Gulab Jamun, Rasmalai, and Sheer Khurma are available in Menu. Generally, to curtail a cost, many restaurants prefer condensed milk in desserts, but Chota believes in quality and uses Fresh Milk in Desserts. Freshness in Food is important because it gives real purpose to Food – nourishment of the body. Chota Restaurant doesn’t compromise in quality.
Take a brisk walk at Al Seef Resort, shop at Al Seef Village Mall, and Dine at Chota Restaurant: an ideal family time to look for on weekends and at evening.
Average Cost: AED 155 for two people (approx.)
Location: Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus, Behind Al Seef Village Mall, Off Salam Street, Khalifa Park Area, Abu Dhabi
Follow us on Instagram: