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COMING SOON: BLACK SHEEP INTRODUCES PHASE TWO OF THE MAGISTRACY WITH THE ADDITION OF PRINCE AND THE PEACOCK

Chef Palash Mitra presents a living ode to the grandeur, recipes and traditions of the royal houses of India’s princely states.

Throughout the ages, the Indian subcontinent has laid the foundation for a rich assortment of kingdoms and cultures. In the era of the princely states, Maharajas and Maharanis, Nawabs, Nizams, Emperors and more reigned not merely as authorities looking to amass territories and consolidate power, but also as devoted patrons of the arts, governing their territories with a passion for the poetic and the beautiful — before, throughout and after colonial rule. 

Among the lasting contributions to art and culture that these princely states passed down through generations, it is their enduring culinary legacies that stand as testament to their grandeur. For the royal courts, might was measured not only in armaments or gold, but in the bountiful spread of their banquets. Lavish feasts were orchestrated; each dish was a work of art, and every flavour told a story. The fragrant biryanis of Awadh, the spice-laden curries of Rajasthan and the saffron-infused delights of Kashmir were culinary masterpieces that stirred not just the senses, but the very soul. 

As Black Sheep ushers in Phase Two of its remarkable revival of Tai Kwun’s Central Magistracy, Founder Syed Asim Hussain and Chef Palash Mitra are set to unveil Prince and the Peacock, retelling the culinary stories of this era, when kingdoms were not merely ruled, but savoured; when the power of empires reflected in the bend of their tables, weighed down by the mighty spread above.  

The culinary mind behind New Punjab Club, the world’s first and only Punjabi restaurant with a MICHELIN star, Chef Palash spent time early in his career working in some of these royal Indian palaces, which long ago planted the seed for this vision. With Prince and the Peacock, he welcomes guests on a multifaceted journey through the opulence and beauty of the nation’s majestic past, drawing from the culinary tapestries of the royal courts through dishes that preserve and resurrect the grandeur that adorned the royal tables throughout India’s history — from ingredients to techniques to the legends that followed them, emblematic of Black Sheep’s passion for telling stories through food. 

To explore the collective histories of nearly 700 states spanning multiple eras that quilted the subcontinent, each with their own closely guarded culinary traditions and heritage dishes, Chef Palash introduces our rendition of these beautiful stories, where the chef and his brigade have travelled far and wide to learn from the finest palace kitchens across India and bring home the recipes and the stories that will most delight the young prince.  

Those stories include that of the last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, a devoted lover of the culinary arts, who saw the royal kitchens of Lucknow flourish under his patronage. He is celebrated for his role in shaping the artful and aromatic legacy of Awadhi cuisine, renowned for its finesse and the artful use of aromatic spices. It was within his court that the foundations of Awadhi biryani, kebabs and kormas were laid. 

Elsewhere, in the royal courts of Kashmir, the Maharajas were known for their cultivation of saffron. They valued this precious spice for its singular flavour and fragrance, adding a golden hue and a delicate aroma to dishes like Rogan Josh and Yakhni. The legend of saffron’s royal journey from Persia to Kashmir remains a testament to their commitment to culinary excellence. 

From the Mughal emperors’ legendary dastarkhwans, laden with aged grains of royal rice to the fiery Mathania feasts of Rajput warriors, each dish offers a page from history, every meal a celebration of the culinary extravagance that once graced the royal courts of India. 

Prince and the Peacock is an invitation to dine in the grandeur of the princely courts, where the stories and flavours that shaped one of the world’s most diverse and rich cuisines are lovingly brought to life. Guests can expect to be treated to all the pampering and fineries of a noble visitor to the court, while feasting upon beautiful, elevated expressions of Indian cuisine — some they may have grown to love from the work of Chef Palash and his brigade at New Punjab Club, plus a few delicious surprises that may be less prominent in the grand canon of Indian cooking, but more than worthy of celebration. 

An idea that was years — or in a way, centuries — in the making, it is a restaurant that Black Sheep has always dreamed of opening. It was only among the grandeur of The Magistracy project, now entering its second phase within the walls of Hong Kong’s historic former supreme court, that a beautiful canvas was laid worthy of painting the full picture of India’s rich culinary artistry within. 

Like a beautiful jewel box, this new 60-seat restaurant, complete with a private dining room, is designed by award-winning designer Joyce Wang of Joyce Wang Studios. “Juxtaposing the essence of grand, understated residences with the rich and vibrant homes of Indian royalty, we have worked closely with Indian artisans to bring the authenticity of regal Indian furniture and honour traditional Indian craftsmanship,” says Wang. 

Invoking memories of the ornate palaces of places like Rajasthan, Prince and the Peacock presents a deep assemblage of intricate motifs and vibrant details inspired by the peacock, India’s legendary symbol of royalty and power. The space will resonate with the opulence of the Indian royal courts, exquisitely paired with the grace of its namesake bird in a room that revives the splendour of an era when cuisine itself was the true measure of royal power. 

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