“KheyVakh”:Turkish expression meaning What a pleasure
An Afghan warrior, on his black steed riding through the desert sands, rising up in front of the sun like a silhouette, the hoofs kicking up a storm, a game of Buzkashi underway, dark intense eyes above the mask! Oh Yes! The film Khudagawah was my favourite fantasy like that of many others in 1992. Khiva, a month old venture heralding BJN Hospitality’s foray in Mumbai took me to that amazing reverie back again. The large murals of warriors on horseback, chandeliers, wooden tables with tile inlays, subdued relaxed atmosphere, exposed bricks and the aroma of kebabs and tandoor…. Sent my heart skipping a beat! The romantic and the foodie in me both jostled to gain attention. That anticipation coupled with the memory of soul-satiating meals at Samarkand in Bangalore, as we learnt that Chef Sujit Kumnar Dey was the one who had designed the menu and cooked there as well. My foodie heart was singing a happy song already.
We started with the non-veg appetisers – Chakori Murg, Chandni Kebab and the trademark Barra Kebab. I was a little disappointed that they had not started serving the signature Galawati kebab and Shikampur Kebabs, but then that was short-lived; only until I had my first morsel of the chandni kebab ! The Chandni Kebab were morsels of chicken laced with cream, now-here-now-gone, leaving a lingering taste with you, pining for more; amazement. The Chakori murg, a green masala roasted chicken was softly succulent. The barra kebab were tender, melt-in-your-mouth, tangy pepper, char grilled excellence! The vegetarians have enough to rejoice too. We tried the Peshawari Paneer tikka, Khumb khazana and Mutter aur Cheese ka tikka. I am a non-veg addict and yet I couldn’t resist taking second helpings of their vegetarian offerings. The paneer was well marinated bursting with flavour. The khumb khazana, mildly seasoned, brought out all the subtlety in tastes of the spinach and the mushroom.The mutter-cheese tikka were however my favourites; saffron, cheese, green peas and perfection – what was there not to like! One must mention the amazing chutneys that accompany these: mint, yogurt/mint, garlic chilli, chilli and the special touch of the chef – chickoo bell-pepper chutney. The last one is a must try.
The main course was Murgh Peshawari, Chicken Dum Biryani with Mirch ka Salan and Dal Khiva accompanied with Khameeri Ki Roti. The Murgh Peshawari was brown gravy based spicy, roasted garlic and red chilies dish with cashew-nuts touching all the flavour elements – spicy, sweet, tangy. The biryani with its salan had almost transponding-to-another-era kind of fragrance of spices, butter and saffron. The khameeri roti was like a dish in itself. I could just eat that sweet, yeasty, floury goodness on its own. But I leave the best for last – The Dal Khiva. If there is anything that can prove that less is more, simplicity is beautiful and patience pays; one needs to eat this concoction. I declare it as the best black dal/ma ki dal I have ever eaten. Rightfully it is one dish the Chef proudly proclaims as his own signature dish.
We culminated this love story with a sweet ending – Khubani ka Mitha – the rich sweetness of the dessert with a drizzle of cream on top and the kernels of the apricots generously sprinkled on the dish. We felt satiated and happy and satisfied like Marco Polo did finding the Silk Road. Khiva truly was a discovery of the age old culinary traditions influenced by the Persians, the Turks and then Russians.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambiance: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 |Overall:4.0
Meal for Two without Alcohol: Rs. 1200 Approximately plus taxes| Alcohol: Not at the moment but will start soon | Credit Card: Yes
Timing:Lunch: 12 to 3 | Dinner : 7 – 12
Address: Khiva, Ground Floor, Neptune Magnet Mall, Lal Bahadur Shastri Rd, Ganesh Nagar, Bhandup West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400078 | Telephone :+91 22 25959278