A 45-year-old gastronomic legacy - Hindustan Times

A 45-year-old gastronomic legacy

Mar 31, 2024 03:02 PM IST

We speak to JP Singh, chef culinaire at Bukhara, ITC Maurya, about the restaurant’s iconic menu and Tandoor-cooked Indian dishes served in a rustic-chic space

Chelsea Clinton with the team at Bukhara, ITC Maurya
Chelsea Clinton with the team at Bukhara, ITC Maurya

While everyone believes in the magic of change, Bukhara, the iconic restaurant in the heart of the Capital, is a beacon of uniformity. The restaurant, by ITC Maurya, has preserved their widely loved and acclaimed recipes, made using ingredients of the same quality, for over four decades. As this internationally recognised restaurant celebrates 45 years, we speak to chef culinaire, JP Singh, on its rich tradition. “Bukhara is all about carrying the legacy of having the same menu since its origin in 1978. We never felt the need to change our north-west frontier menu and that’s what made us iconic,” he says, adding, “Consistency is our USP, and this is the reason we are visited by heads of states, presidents and PMs. It’s challenging to retain the same quality and maintain a reputation worldwide than changing the menu every six months. We want to use the same cooking techniques.”

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Anil Chadha, chief executive, ITC Hotels says, “As we celebrate 45 glorious years of Bukhara, we reflect on a journey filled with timeless flavours, cherished memories, and an unwavering commitment to consistency and quality.”

Naan Bukhara, made with 1.3kg dough
Naan Bukhara, made with 1.3kg dough

Among many dishes that the place is known for, Dal Bukhara is worth talking about. “This is most likely the world’s longest-cooking dal. It’s never taken off the tandoor set-up until it is served to the guests. We make 70kg of it every day as our guests come from across the world to relish it,” says Singh. The ingredients have been sourced from the same supplier for many years to maintain its taste and texture. “To make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan, all the chefs who pass by, give it a nice stir — as a ritual,” adds Singh, who has served here since 1991.

Most of the dishes are prepared in a charcoal tandoor, be it veg or non-veg platters, kebabs or naan. “We serve a single Bukhara naan made of 1.3kg dough. The idea is to have families and group of friends to break bread together,” says Singh. The restaurant prefers that guests relish their meal with bare hands. “It brings out the right flavour to the dish,” says the chef, who is extremely particular about sourcing the ingredients, in addition to their specifications.

To celebrate their 45th year, Bukhara is organising multiple events till April 7. One highlight of the celebration will be 45 hours of non-stop service, starting at midnight on April 5. Special surprises are also planned for diners. “There will be the once-in-a-lifetime option of having your breakfast in Bukhara,” says chef Singh.

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