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    Modeled after the hunting lodges of yore, Tiger Trail at the Royal Orchid comes with cosy little wooden machaan’s doubling up as seating around an open kitchen and hearth, in lush gardens to stroll after the meal is finished.
    Strong start
    They have the usual mocktails and cocktails (courtesy Geoffery’s) but we highly recommend the desi specials. So with a masala chaach and jal jeera in hand, we got down to the starters. Chef Wahid, from Lucknow, and chef Rana, whetted our appetites with tunde kebabs, murgh gulnar and the vegetarian tarana kebab. The tunde kebabs did justice to their Awadhi heritage! The chicken, soft and succulent on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside, was the ideal kebab and a refreshing change from the generic tikka versions. Surprisingly tasty was the veggie platter of baby corn, broccoli and paneer in a spicy yoghurt marinade. Tiger prawns grilled on charcoal and Ajwaini bekti too is worth a mention.
    Heavy finish
    The mains took things up a notch with murg reshmi dum phukt in a rich creamy gravy paired with the chironji spiced naan which added a gentle bitterness. Paneer dumpling in palak (spinach) gravy with soft kulchas gave us a break from the meat, as did a serving of vegetable biryani. Do try the yakhani pulao too, as judging by the spoonful we sampled, it was divine—dum cooked with spices in a lamb stock. Sweet-toothed guests can indulge in kulfis, phirni and ras malai.
    Head here for relaxed atmosphere, tasty Awadhi food and a trip down memory lane when skilled bawarchi chefs reigned supreme.
    Rs.1,500 for two. At HAL Airport Road. Details: 25203366
    — Aakanksha Devi

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