We decided to conclude our Ramadan Walk around Nakhoda Masjid area by relaxing at some air conditioned restaurant where we can get some Haleem and Biriyani. The Royal Indian Hotel Nearby had shut down for a while for Iftar and they said it will reopen after an hour or so. Hence we decided to move on and settle down at Arsalan (Park Street) mainly to gorge on some delicious Biriyani, Kebabs and Haleem.
|Mutton Haleem at Arsalan|
When we reached Arsalan it was quite dark outside, the entrance was well lit and the red colored Arsalan name board was glowing bright making it visible from a distance. The huge Koshe Kosha name board diagonally opposite to it attracted more eyeballs though, but our destination was fixed for the day since we were all set to have some haleem more than anything else.
Haleem as we all know is the Ramazan month’s special meat and lentil dish available all across the city and it is actually a great evening snack which you can devour with some tandoori or rumali roti. This dish is slow cooked for several hours and in the end the meat almost blends with the lentils or rice so that all the ingredients gets mingled to form a paste like substance that is flavorful, aromatic and highly nutritious. At several places stock of the paya i.e. the goat’s leg is slow boiled for 20 hours before it goes into the haleem. There can be various types of Haleems like Chicken, Mutton, Beef; at places you even get maghaz (brain) haleem or zabaan (tongue) haleem! But at Arsalan, Park Street we found that only Mutton and Chicken Haleems are available. At certain places in Calcutta like Sufia, you get only Beef Haleem.
Anyway we had to settle for what is available because when we reached Arsalan we were exhausted after that food walk organized by Panchphoron (food bloggers group) through the congested Zakaria Street in the blazing heat of the afternoon. The place was quite relaxing with high ceilings and not too glossy interiors, at least the couches were comfortable and the mild blast of the AC was soothing to say the least. We straightaway ordered for chilled Coke after taking our seats which was sadly served much later when we had already cooled down a bit! Maybe the management was too cautious about our health, eh! 🙂
Anyway, after a bit of discussion we placed our order which comprised of –
a) Mutton Lucknowi biriyani – To start with, I did not like the quality of basmati rice used here in this biriyani, it was short in length and not that aromatic either. There was also some imbalance of the saffron induced milk used while preparing this dish. It had a reddish color and spicy touch to it which was not very appreciated in the end. We struggled hard to finish off this plate and everyone in our large group was giving it a pass after tasting a bit, surely needs some amendments. The mutton piece was well cooked though.
|Mutton Lucknowi Biriyani|
b) Mutton Haleem – Here we were served some awesome slow cooked haleem, with lovely flavorful mix of meat, lentils and spices. It was beautifully garnished with lemon juice, coriander leaves, fried onions, green chilies. Actually all these stuffs were served separately on a plate and we added them as required in the haleem. The stuff tasted good with the tandooru roti and the texture was pretty perfect, the dal was not grainy and the flavors were nice and subtle.
c) Tandoori roti – Tandoori rotis were served hot and were not too thick or chewy, they were pretty soft, well made and always best when consumed warm.
d) Chicken Biriyani – Somewhat the biriyani was again tad disappointing for the quality of basmati rice used which were mostly broken and not too aromatic. The stuff otherwise was flavorful and not too oily. The Chicken piece was nicely cooked and the sweet potato was soft. But surely more is expected from Arsalan Biriyani.
e) Soft drinks – Well, the thirst quenchers arrived much late after we ordered. They were served in long mocktail glasses, and it always goes good with biriyani or rotis by the side. Helps you wash the goodness down and leave you in a state of delight.
Prices are pretty reasonable here and VAT and Service Tax was levied on top of the bill.
Thus we covered one of the must visit places for haleem in the holy month of Ramadan, all the Panchphoron members and guests who came in for the walk were extremely pleased after the entire day’s experience that concluded really well at Arsalan. The group dispersed from here with the hope to come back for this Ramadan walk around Nakhoda Masjid and more in the next year!
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