22, Lalbagh Crossing

Mohammad Asif is a graduate and has been managing the restaurant for the past six years along with his brother Yusuf. He tells us that this business was set up by his grandfather Ashraf Ansari back in 1960. His grandfathre had moved from Bijnore to Lucknow at the time of Partition. He spent the first 13 years selling tea and snacks at Charbagh railway station and later in Sadar. After him, Asif’s father Abdul Aziz took over and managed the restaurant for 40 years. Asif is desperately busy at the counter, and can spare time only for snatches of conversation. In the five minutes we spent with him, we counted 11 bills being settled. The aroma of qorma, stew, roasted chicken, kababs and biryani wafted across. Every table was occupied, and we could make out people waiting outside for their turn. A crowd of delivery boys surrounded us as they waited for the home delivery orders to be packed. “I came to know that our family has such a famous and reputed restaurant only when I was 10! After I graduated people used to tell me to get a job. I would say, why shouldn’t I work in the family business instead? When we asked him for some anecdote or memories, he laughs and says “Some other time—I don’t even have time to breathe right now—and you had ordered six kababs, hadn’t you?”