Gharib Nawaz Hotel


Old Lucknow lies on both sides of the Stone Bridge across the Gomti. Chowk and Husainabad are on the right bank have their share of famous food joints, and Khadra on the left bank has its own. Vazir Ahmad is a devotee of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz of Ajmer, and named his restaurant after his spiritual master when he started it 30-35 years ago. Vazir Ahmad started with just biryani. Within a couple of years, saalan-roti, paaye, nihari and khameeri roti were added to the menu. Very soon, his rotis became the talk of not only Khadra, but the whole town. Before this, khameeri rotis were not popular in Lucknow. The kulcha and sheermal made in Lucknow are different from those in Meerut or Delhi. Rather than these breads, Gharib Nawaz Hotel specializes in dhaniya (cilantro) roti. After Vazir Ahmad, his son Zaheer Ahmad took over the business. His sons Mohammad Umar and Mohammad Waris manage it now. Umar is in overall charge, and Waris is continuing his education while working part-time. They have maintained the flavours that their grandfather used. Umar recalls that when he was small, this part of Khadra used to be deserted by 7 PM. Customers would hesitate to visit for evening meals. Now, the place is abuzz till late in the night. The restaurant is open for six days a week and closed on Tuesdays.