Royal Indian Hotel (147, Rabindra Sarani, Bara Bazar, Kolkata)


In a nutshell:

Legendary in the 1950s & 60s, this eatery impressed YUMMRAJ with quite a few dishes.

Royal
Royal

Address & other details: Royal

Meal for 2: Rs. 200 onwards

Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.

I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.

Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:

I have of course heard the name of Royal many times but never had really taken the trouble to go there due to the mixed reviews I used to get. People wud say that ‘it used to b good but not that good now. Arsalan is better’ etc. So when my friend & connoisseur of Mughal food recommended me to go here, I decided to take the plunge.

Guy near the entrance making mutton tikia & chaap
Guy near the entrance making mutton tikia & chaap

Well, for us, to have good food no amount of challenge is a challenge. We chose a weekday (assuming it wud be relatively less crowded) & drove to chitpur. Trying to park the car there can b a nightmare. So it is prudent to take public transport / go in a car with a driver.

busy traffic street in which
busy traffic street in which

The restaurant is in different levels. It has a large signage outside & is difficult to miss. Even if u miss it, everyone there knows about Royal. So to find the place is not a big deal I must say.

Royal
Royal

The Ground floor is (my version) Economy Class. It has fans to cool the diners, has tables & chairs in a congested way & is full of activity all day long. This is infact where u get the real; feel of the place. A part of the Kitchen is also visible from here.

A narrow flight of stairs takes one up to level 2 which is a bit more ‘family restaurant’ kind. This one is non airconditioned. When I say narrow I mean only one person can go in one direction. The rest wait at the other end of the staircase. I guess there r close to 30 steps in the staircase & that makes for a good little workout before u delve into buckets of greasy food.

super narrow multi step stairway to heaven (foodie heaven)
super narrow multi step stairway to heaven (foodie heaven)

A level above is the airconditioned section which is more of a regular A/C restaurant feel. Waiters here r more seasoned & are pretty trained to deal with people who r paying more for the same food that is available in all three levels.

Tikias being made alongside
Tikias being made alongside mutton chaap

The menu card was short & crisp – 2 pages & focused. It just listed the iems. No description, no pictures of dishes. There was an interesting section called specials of the day  – Some dishes were offered only on 1 / 2 days of the week. Mutton handi was the special dish for tuesday.

menu card
menu card

There was an interesting writeup on the back of the menu card.

note on the back of the menu card
note on the back of the menu card

I loved the taste of the food in general. Liked some curries more than the fabled Biryani. The dish & all others at this restaurant was made with ‘dalda’ – they tasted good but wud solidify if not eaten hot. Surely not the best thing for health but who cares about all that while being nice to the tastebuds. I usually look forward to opportunities in the next few days to workout extra & burn the extra fat.

Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:

We started our lunch with Mutton chaap & roti. This is a signature dish of royal. It had numerous small pieces of mutton some boneless & some with rib bones. It had a peppery, grainy, minimalistic gravy that was dark brown in color. The taste was very spicy, robust & very rustic. Super loved it & rate it 4.75/5

Mutton chaap
Mutton chaap

Post that we moved to Mutton tikia. These were large tikias, the size of burger patty. These were made the traditional way – Not machine minced but hand minced.

Mutton tikia
Mutton tikia

That was evident from the taste & texture of the meat. Thus the patty was very juicy inside & had robust taste & flavors. I rate it 4.5/5

cross section of Mutton tikia
cross section of Mutton tikia

Mutton handi was a mutton gravy dish & was just outstanding. There was makhana & full red chillies visible in the gravy. Rest of the masalas had been well cooked & none retained their original look. The presence of a lot of onion juice had ensured that the gravy had a mild natural sweetness. The balance of the dish was super awesome – salt, sweet & hotness. It being one of the best dishes I had this Pujo I rate it very high at 4.9/5.

Mutton handi
Mutton handi

Mutton biryani was different from the version that Shiraz & Arsalan have. The long grains of aromatic rice were soft but not melt in the mouth. The biryani was greasier & spicier than the one at Shiraz. The spice mix was a tad different & there was a ‘hot’ aftertaste.

Mutton biryani
Mutton biryani

There was no aloo or boiled egg in the Biryani (characteristic of Kolkata Biryani). One plate Biryani had only 1 piece of mutton. Arsalan has an option of ‘Special Biryani’ that has 2 pieces in 1 plate. No such option was available at Royal. I rate the rice of the Biryani 4/5

The lone mutton piece in the Biryani was quite big though. It was just outstanding. It was super soft,melt in the mouth & totally non-fibrous. It had an intense taste to it. I rate the mutton in the Biryani 4.8/5

Mutton biryani
Mutton biryani

Overall the flavors of the meats, spices & rice intermingled well & we were happy with our Biryani. I rate this 4.4/5

For desserts we tried Phirni. This was thick, subtle in flavors & unidirectionally sweet – Not too sweet. The extent of cashew & milk was less as compared to the best I have had. I rate it 3/5

Phirni
Phirni

We also tried Shahi tukra for dessert. It was sweet but had a nice hint of salt in it. The base was of course bread & atop was a 1.5mm thick layer of inhouse made milk cream. The shahi tukra was garnished with super super thin slices of almonds that started looking like kesar from a distance. Liked it quite a bit & rate it 4/5

Shahi tukra
Shahi tukra

Overall the rating of food at Royal averages out to 4.25/5. I am super keen to get back there to try the other dishes. Till then alvida………………..

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19 comments

  1. I m a regular visitor of royal and my favourite is of course biryani and reshmi kabab it’s taste is awesome .I love it’s dishes very much the meat of biryani is so soft it’s melt in the mouth. I really love it .

  2. fantastic review…
    left country for decades… but always come back to this heavenly place… to sniff the childhood aroma… surprisingly the food still tastes the same…
    my fav is rumali roti and mutton chaap…
    the gentleman at the gate with white dress greeted me well once came to know I travelled thousands miles to taste these. he shared some secret recipe as well in part of course! told some story from the pre-Independence.

    Not sure its all dalda as cooking oil…
    will try the reshmi kabob next time for sure…

  3. The biriyani was good ,mutton reshmi was pretty tasteful but over all some thing was missing to cherish our taste buds.

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