My approach while opting for a buffet is simple: Concentrate on the appetisers, skim over the main course and finish off with dessert. Looks like there are others like me and Barbeque Nation knows it because their grills, especially the kebabs, were melt-in-the-mouth delicious and the heroes of the menu; while the desserts are the deserving cherry on the cake.
A Street Food Feast
If you can’t head to Mohammad Ali Road, then make your way to this popular city eatery. Chef Qureshi has curated this traditional menu with care. The lamb trotters-Paya Shorba made us instantly fall in love—it may be a clear soup, but it is flavourful, with a hint of spice that will whet your appetite for the barbeque.
Peanut Seekh Kebab
Skewers of Pesto Mushroom and Paneer Peshawari were placed on the live grill on our table. Both appetisers were light and had authentic Tandoori flavours. The Crispy Corn, Cajun Spice Potato and Peanut Seekh Kebab did not disappoint either. The Tandoori Fruit Chaat is an acquired taste, because the sweet and smoky flavour didn’t quite marry well for us, unless you are a pineapple-on-pizza kind of person.
The non-vegetarian appetisers were being char-grilled for us at our table. We kept in mind to rotate the skewers so that the meats were cooked well by the time we made our way through the veggies. Then, they were piping hot and fresh, with an inviting aroma, just waiting to be eaten. Living up to their promise, the Tandoori Tangdi, Cilantro Fish Tikka, Burnt Garlic Prawns and Bhuna Seekh Kebab were succulent, grilled to perfection, with ample amount of flavour. The live counters were serving Shammi Kebab and Chicken Kheema Pao—both sumptuous and would tempt anyone.
The main course included a hearty Gosht Nihari and indulgent Mutton Khichda, both holding their own. The Chicken Angara and Grilled Fish with Capper Sauce were not up to the mark, especially the fish—which was clearly Basa, but not well cooked like the Cilantro Fish Tikka. The Chicken Egg Dum Biryani and Jhinga Pulao were good, but far from being memorable.
The vegetarian fare surprisingly had plenty of variety considering this was a Ramadan special menu. The hyped Navratan Korma and Khajur Kofta Curry didn’t meet reality, and could have been better with less turmeric and spices. The Paneer Kolhapuri was far from being melt-in-the-mouth good, unlike the previously relished Paneer Peshwari. The Kurkure Bhindi lacked the much-needed crunch, though the Dal Tadka and Bukhara were the saving grace from the vegetarian main course. The inclusion of oriental options (Chilly Garlic Noodles and Vegetarian Manchurian) was avoidable. When your forte is Awadhi, that’s what the chefs should focus on.
The desserts were the highlight of the evening. The must-try are Muzzafer, Date Kulfi and Phirni. The first was our favourite—it’s dry sevaiya with khoya, dry fruits and generous amounts of ghee, but our taste-buds loved how it wasn’t overly sweet, and it had an interesting crunch and texture. Chef Qureshi tells us that it’s a Ramadan delicacy, and it sure did taste royal. The Date Kulfi was velvety, creamy and just divine—and a welcome break from the popular Malai Kulfi. The Phirni was coarse, had a fine balance of saffron and cardamom, and was the perfect end to a hearty meal. The only way to top it would be with Malpua, but that’s just us being gluttons.
The Ramadan Food Festival at Barbeque Nation is ongoing till June 23, 2017. The special menu is available for lunch and dinner. The vegetarian buffet is available at ₹901+taxes and non-vegetarian for ₹1,029+taxes.
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