How I wish to fly immediately to Naimatkhana, the only concept restaurant of its kind that specialises in Awadhi Home-cooked food experiences in the city of Lucknow
The recipes and the food is sourced from Master Home-chefs all over Lucknow, who have perfected these recipes over generations and are willing to share these otherwise inaccessible delights with people other than their family members. Unlike the street food that Lucknow is famous for, the food served here is cooked home-style, with subtle flavours and using the best available ingredients – The kind we would happily serve to our own families.
In its post covid avatar, the restaurant is now available for exclusive bookings where you do not share the seating space with any other guests while you are there. You can book the entire available seating space with a 24 hour notice, at very reasonable prices. The entire restaurant can host up to 30 diners but you can book select spaces separately for smaller groups as well.
The place itself is located in a 1950’s bungalow, tucked away in a quiet corner of Qaiser Bagh. The seating style takes inspiration from a traditional Lakhnavi drawing room and is aesthetically appointed with authentic antiques. The restaurant is thoroughly sanitised before and after every meal sitting and you can even ask for a live video of the place being sanitised before your booking. We also have a self-service buffet option available, where the restaurant staff enters only to set up the buffet, leaving you to relish the food with your loved ones, as if in the comfort and privacy of your own home
Askari Naqvi based in Qaiser Bagh, Lucknow, opened his house for an authentic dining experience that boasts of the region’s rich history. Naimat Khana serves nawabi cuisine so expect authentic non vegetarian fare of Awadh region but vegetarians need not be disappointed as there are enough vegetarian options as well.
What does Neemat Khana means?
Neemat, or Naimat Khana, was certainly a state-of-the-art system to preserve left-over food in the pre-refrigeration days. Used across the Awadh region—the north-eastern portion of Uttar Pradesh—it was a wooden kitchen cabinet with steel nets on all sides and a latch.
Since preparing Awadhi style food was a long and tedious process, the women would usually make dried dishes like halwa, barian (meat), pickles, etc, in bulk and store them in the cabinets. Each dish would be kept on top of a clay bowl to keep ants away and the nets allowed for proper ventilation
This would prevent food wastage and also ensure there was always food in case the guests arrived, thus making mehman nawazi (hospitality) a priority.
It might be hard to find a neemat (meaning: blessings) today but if you visit Qaiser Bagh in Lucknow, you will spot a blue and white board inscribed with the words ‘Naimat Khana’ on a 70-year-old bungalow.
This is now a unique restaurant that serves authentic Awadhi food made from rare and heirloom recipes by original settlers of Lucknow.
Askari Naqvi, the owner, believes the concept of sourcing food in different places and storing them is similar and thus the name. This was his tiny effort in taking a leaf out of the region’s history and infusing it in the contemporary world.
In 2018, he opened a restaurant inside his bungalow with an aim to serve authentic Awadhi food to those coming in search of it..
The food served is a 60:40 ratio combination of his own recipes and dishes that he sources from families.
With a seating arrangement of not more than 25, people from across the country have visited this unique concept dine in including many
Awadhi cuisine is generally known as synonymous with kebabs and biryani. However the cuisine is much vast.
More importantly, loads of love and real love for food goes into its preparation.
Not just the cuisine, everything about Naimatkhana smells of Awadh be it cutlery, the rustic decor or even the utensils used for cooking.
What is the difference between Awadhi cuisine and Mughlai Cuisine?
While writing about Naimatkhana I searched to find about the difference these two popular cuisines. Mughlai food uses lots of milk, cream and spices whereas Awadhi cuisine is prepared slowly using tomato, onion, ginger, garlic and whole spices and is mildly flavored. Just like normal homes of Luxknow where meat is cooked with vegetables like bhindi, cabbage and even lauki, Naimat khana serves authenticity at it’s best and an experience which is served with dollops of warmth and platter full of love.