Dinner first night: Mutton biryani, mushroom korma – Rs.320
Dinner second night: Kashmiri Biryani pulao, salad, tea – Rs.300
Dinner third night: Kashmiri Biryani pulao, mutton sour soup, papadom – Rs.440
I first heard of Mughal Darbar restaurant from one of the forums in IndiaMike – where I’ve got most of info and travel advice for India. The way they recommend it as if it’s a must-visit restaurant if you happen to be in Srinagar. Later, when Az & I was researching from Lonely Planet book we got from library, and this LP book is the oldest edition we ever seen – 1970’s!! And this book featured Mughal Darbar as well, and I mean, since 1970s! Therefore, we really have to go and see how special this restaurant should be.
To search for Mughal Darbar was a bit tricky although Srinagar is not a very big town, we walked around and asked people but some did not seem to know this place, which is weird, but we thought it might be known by another local name, so wee kept on asking and searching. One of the people guided us to this Darbar Hotel which has restaurant in it.. and I said, it doesn’t look like one. Later we found someone who seems to be familiar with tourist wanting to go to Mughal Darbar, and showed us the right place.
Mughal Darbar is actually a hotel restaurant, and it has another section for bakery. It seems a decent restaurant, at least among the decent ones we ever been in India (including in Amritsar, and certainly NOT any place in Delhi :P), with classic decoration lights resembling Kashmiri style, the restaurant has a good atmosphere even though at the back we could hear some noise from building reconstructions. And we see a good number of people having dinner here, and from their looks we can guess they’re mostly tourists from other states in India.
The dishes of our second dinner at Mughal Darbar. I say second dinner because we happened to visit this restaurants for dinner for 3 times! THREE TIMES, SERIOUSLY! The first dinner was the very first photo in this post – mutton biryani, and mushroom curry (also watch the video clip above, if you like). Second dinner was after we came back from Gulmarg, when I got sick and couldnt eat much, and the third one could be from one of nights we stayed in Clermont’s Houseboat but escaped dinner served by Ramzan to have our last dinner in Mughal Darbar. All three dinners are worth the visit!
We mainly opt for biryani, for its specialty seems to be in it. We have tried lamb/mutton biryani, Kashmiri pulao biryani (pulao is biryani that consists of mixed chunks of meats: chicken, meatball (excellent!), mushrooms, eggs and all (click the first thumbnail to see how a pulao biryani looks like!). The price are very reasonable for its quality (and quantity!). For one dinner for two, we spent averagely less than Rs. 300.
You can tell how good is the food by our number of returning :) We now found the best biryani in the world – right here in Srinagar! Should we have more days here, we would like to try every single type of biryani and food in the restaurant menu booklet.
Please be reminded if you’re average size Malaysians like us, you may want to order one meal first, because you’d be surprised that it can feed 2 people until full. They even give us two plates for one meal, as if they already know that amount is meant to be shared for two. If you like, you can order side dishes like soup, salad, mushrooms, papadom (again they call papad in here) and others but definitely not two rice meal.
During our second visit when I was not feeling well after coming back from Gulmarg, I didnt eat much and we wrapped the leftover to bring back to houseboat, thinking that I could be better later and could eat. It turned out we totally forgot about the food thanks to being too tired and went to sleep immediately after returning, and only realized the about the food the next morning! And surprisingly, the biryani and chunks of chicken still tasted as good as they’re newly cooked :P So it was our breakfast that morning apart from bread and butter the houseboat always served us.
Our third dinner in Mughal Darbar we had in its upstairs, which we had not realized before that it was two-storey restaurant. They were having heavy construction downstairs so people were asked to use the upstairs. The upstairs was spacious and not many people around (maybe because it was still not dark for dinner time) and we enjoyed our last moments in this restaurant.
A truly recommendation, not only by Lonely Planet guide books, but from our original experience! :D
Mughal Darbar Restaurant, Srinagar