Years back when life was simple, heart was full of hopes and mind full of dreams, pockets were always near-empty, the coveted dress was just out of reach and Five Star dining was a big deal for a small town girl like me, my hostel friend and I used to save and scrounge all month to go to this restaurant in a Five Star Hotel just to have their Kebabs and Dal Makhani (called by a much more impressive name). Many years have passed since.The restaurant is no more in its original form. I have lost touch with the friend. Hopes and dreams are more mundane and materialistic and pockets are somewhat healthy and yet heart yearns for those days with nostalgia.
Sitting at Kebab Korner overlooking the Marine Drive, with the reproduction of Red Fort jaalis and paisley patterns from Fatehpur Sikri, copper vessels hanging on the ceilings, I felt a sense of déjà vu. An excitement washed over me with a sense of trepidation hoping that the food was at least as good as my memories or else I shall be marring my experience.
Vegetarian kebabs arrived; Sabz Nawabi Seekh and Khumbh Dak Bungalow. The seekh was softly melting blend of vegetables and cashews pounded together with spices. The mushrooms were filled with green chutney and roasted to perfection. The next to come were the Lamb Seekh Kebabs, the Haleem ke Kebab and Methi Murgh. The Lamb Seekh Kebabs were succulent, bursting with flavours. The Haleem ke Kebab, a version of galouti, were soft with a tinge of saffron. The Methi Murgh was softly tender, delicately marinated in light spices. So far my heart was dancing and I was glad that I was making new memories rather than fanning old ones. I was looking forward to the repertoire that the chef had promised to showcase.
But didn’t I say life was simpler earlier? We waited for the next to come to the table. We waited.. We ordered drinks and we waited. We tried their signature cocktails; Dark Sugarcane Mule, sugarcane juice with dark rum, and Dark Plum Sour, plum juice with vodka and mint. They were delicious. We sipped and we waited. I took some pictures of ceilings, walls, road..and we waited. We checked Facebook and we waited. For a moment we thought that was it! Let’s go. A call came from a friend so I waited while my partner chatted. I have often wondered that while as a reviewer we get great service would a common patron get the same and hence I usually check on the other tables to make my decision. Today I neither had to wonder nor look, I was getting plenty of empirical proof myself. I smiled and I waited!
Just as my drink was over and I was getting impatient, they arrived with the main course. Huh? That’s the repertoire? I came for the Kebabs you know, I wanted to tell them. But we didn’t want to endanger another long wait so we trudged on, tasting just a morsel each of Kachhi Mirch Paneer, Khatti Karari Bheendi, Roganjosh and Coriander Chicken. All usual fare and nothing I need to write specifically about.
Feeling like anti-climax, I took a little spoon of the Black Dal and realised that I had gone back to those days when sharing a dish with a friend, giggling away, was life’s supreme pleasures. The dal lived up to all its expectations and more. Accompanied with the Spinach Cheese and Roasted Garlic Baby Kulchas, it could be a meal in itself!
For dessert we were served the Gulkand Panacotta. I am a fan of gulkand and love it in my paan. Years back mom used to give me gulkand mixed with milk when I came exhausted from my NCC camps. But this here did not go well. The panacotta was a little bland and gulkand too sticky.
I wish they make this a specialty Kebab restaurant as their name suggests rather than making it another Indian restaurant. Playing on their strengths and tightening up the service would probably make this one of my favourite restaurants. So if I were really the Mallika-E-Hindustan, I may not banish them but will surely be fining them 10 Gold Mohurs!
Ratings out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambiance: 4 | Service: 2.5 | Overall:3
Meal for Two without Alcohol: Rs.5000 Approximately plus taxes| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Timing: 12:30 – 3:00 pm, 7:30 – 11:45 pm| Wheelchair access : Yes
Address: The Intercontinental, 135 Marine Drive, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400020
Telephone :022 3987 9999
Disclaimer : This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review; however readers may exercise their own discretion.