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Culinary Delights @ nazeer foods
A Pan-Indian mission in 5 years: Haji Aftab
A complete chain of family restaurants for Indian and Mughlai cuisines, Nazeer Foods has become a prominent landmark for its palatable food and excellent table service. Lately, it has been honoured with QSR award for its warm hospitality and gastronomic delights.
The man behind the vastly spread empire that has sailed a titanic voyage from Secunderabad to Faridabad to Delhi to Bombay to Dubai is Haji Aftab Ahmed who in this exclusive interview with senior journalist Sufi Syed Wajid elaborates on this four decade long journey through tough tides and times, how a small kiosk expanded into this corporate umbrella. The down-to-earth humble Haji Aftab prides himself on the a la carte menu growing taller every day. He meekly attributes his phenomenal success to the sincere endeavour of the team working at achieving the best of hospitality.
He never fails to name Naresh Shukla, General Manager whose contribution has over a period of time been tremendous.
Known for its authentic and exotic delicacies, here mutton and chicken steaks straight off the charcoal sigri do tickle your taste buds, so tempting are the kebabs like melt-in-your-mouth, juicy and succulent all are from this kitchen only.
Surmai fish off the Odisha coastline, believed to be the best is what makes the outlet one of a kind. Besides roast fish, mutton burra, mutton nihari, Afghani malai tikka and Arabic roast mutton raan attract hordes of foodies and food connoisseurs.
Nazeer Foods stays away from taking part in city’s street food fests, except for a rare occasion. It participated in Durgapuja at CR Park, Delhi where it remarkably made its presence felt. The restaurateur Ahmed seems to have exclusively designed the menu for those wearing lesser deep pockets, all can relish the bite, students on a shoe string budget can pick a hot chicken spring roll or toothsome chicken takatak to boast of the treat at Nazeer, not bad! Hot crispy mouth watering grub to start with, lemon toss is the best beverage to wash down the throat with and conveniently leave the venue on a sweet note with special kheer, the brand boasts of the preparation and all in-house.
How did you get into food business?
Basically, I come from a humble background, food business was nowhere I got from my parents and before, but I was determined to do something on my own. Business stayed etched on my mind since I opened my eyes to the world around. I was all 17 when I came to Faridabad where I worked at a place under someone; it was all about supplying meat to various embassies in Delhi. That was the time of early 70s. Soon after that I moved to east Delhi’s Ganesh Nagar where I started the business of food with a small takeout, like a chicken corner, it was wholly mine.
How did you manage the culinary show singlehandedly?
I am a food lover and very well understand the subtle nuances of food quality. I had to drag the show all by myself, my kids were too small then. I did from anything to everything without any help. Now with me is my eldest son Imran he looks after everything the way I once did for myself. The other son is an MBA whereas the youngest one is studying HM (Hotel Management).
What distinguishes Nazeer from the rest of eateries the city has?
Everything is fresh here; we have a centralised kitchen catering to the entire cooking process. Despite the fact that we have eating restaurants spread across the city and the NCRs but the taste and flavours, aroma everything is the same. Rich quality food at comparatively lesser rates makes us stand head and shoulders above the rest. We use fresh yoghurt in our preparation, tender and marinated meat is what I can boast about. We get our meat from Nawalgarh, Rajasthan (a place known for best lamb and goat meat).
You are trying your hand at spices too?
We already have two spices in the market, chicken masala and chaat masala they are doing quite well. We have 16 more different spices in the pipeline and we will soon be visible in leading stores in Delhi and NCRs. Besides, we are soon going to introduce our spice paste that will help in cooking, it will reduce the herculean task of grinding and pounding different spices.
How do you look at the scenario that is growing more competitive?
That’s been there for long but we solely believe in quality and hygiene of food as we are more conscious about our customers’ health. We fear no competition whatsoever. Our team is par excellence, working towards maintaining the authenticity we have long been known for.
How long would your raw meat take to go online?
In another couple of months we are going online. You can get your order delivered anywhere in the city and NCRs within an hour, and can paytm, pay online or CoD (Cash on Delivery).
Where does Nazeer see itself in years to come?
We with 100 outlets are going to be in almost every single state. Lately, in Connaught Place and Faridabad and next we are pitching in Bangalore and Dubai.
Bombay is no way a place for quality and delicious food, could you please share if any plan there?
Yeah, very soon maybe in another two months we are moving to Mumbai.
What’s your USP?
Aromatically rich and sumptuous food, our humble table service and friendly crew members altogether is our USP. We have hot crispy lollipop for hors d’oeuvre. Besides, our dal makhni is our USP you can say that!
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