Everything grows with time – an idea, a baby, a relationship, a concept. All you need to do is nurture it with tender, loving care. The same goes for this blog. It’s been about 8 months since I started it and 6 since I vigorously worked on it trying out new recipes, tasting different ingredients, meeting my fears, etc. And, it’s growing now. As I meet new people, new opportunities come up and my blog gets a new vertical. One of them is reviewing. I started off with Serafina, then went on to the 5-course French meal by Michelin Star Chef Baptiste Fournier and more recently reviewed Cafe Pico’s new tasting menu. But, never have I reviewed a restaurant that is so established and synonymous with the cuisine it serves, till I got an invitation from Copper Chimney to review their ongoing Kebab Festival, and boy, was I excited! So, off went Ishaaq and I for a lovely meal at the Khar branch of the restaurant.
Copper Chimney at Khar is located in a quiet bylane just above the Toyota Showroom. The interiors are woody, warm, ethnic, yet contemporary in their choice of materials. I love the glass partition with the bells. We were ushered in by the restaurant manager and assistant restaurant manager and seated in a quiet spot near a window overlooking the street. The space was beautifully partitioned with lattice screens lending a sense of privacy. A wooden lantern above bathed the table in a warm glow.
Copper Chimney’s Kebab Festival has a wide range to choose from: 4 in the chicken category, 3 in the lamb category, 6 in the vegetarian category, and 2 in the seafood category. They also have 4 different kinds of tandoor breads that one can try out. We left it up to Captain Nitin Mahamunkar to serve us his choice of dishes and the meal began.
First, we were served a colourful platter of four chutneys. Now, both Ishaaq and I love chutneys, and the variety here was amazing. You have the regular hara chutney (coriander and green chillies with a hint of coconut), a sweet and sour date chutney, one made of dried figs and a tomato chutney with a generous touch of saunf (aniseed). These complemented the various kebabs we tried through the evening.
Captain Nitin also served us the tandoori breads to sample. Each one was unique in its own way. The Kabuli Roomali Roti, enhanced with rose water and rose petals was a revelation. Its subtle rose sweetness went perfectly with any of the starters served. A word of caution: eat it before it gets cold (as you would any Roomali Roti) otherwise it gets too dry.
The Gilafi Kulcha was one of my favourites of the evening. A double-layer kulcha, typical of Awadhi cuisine, it was crispy on the top and perfectly pillowy in the centre, having retained the moistness of the dough. The Tawa Warki Paratha was flaky as promised (wark in arabic means paper) and had a smooth consistency. The same could be said of the Fatehpuri Paratha, which was flavourful with ghee.
We started off with the Tawa Macchi. This was a Basa fish fillet marinated in aromatic spices that complemented the taste of fish without overpowering it. Perfectly cooked, the basa was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and juicy. If I could find some fault, it would be that I didn’t taste a hint of lemongrass as the description on the menu promised! Nevertheless, delicious.
Next came the Dahi Lasooni Murgh. Now, this would sound like the usual tikka served at every Indian cuisine restaurant, but it’s not. The very scent of curd and garlic that wafted across the table left us salivating. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the tangy flavour of the fragrant garlic-tempered curd on top was just right. The surprise element, though, was the cheese stuffing. Its saltiness complimented the curd’s tartness in perfect synchrony. A must-try!
Pind Tawa Murgh was next on the list. Chicken breast on the bone coated with cracked mustard and roasted on the tawa! Could you ask for more? The spice of the mustard blended seamlessly with the rest of the spices neither overpowering the taste of the chicken nor getting overpowered itself. The chicken could have been more tender, but given that it’s the breast, it worked out rather well!
The last part of the meal was certainly the best! Angoor ke Chaap are delectable, falling-of-the-bone lamb chops coated generously with spices and honey. Tender mutton complemented beautifully by the caramelisation of honey simply begged to be taken off the bone and consumed! Hats off to the recipe creator and the cook! A must-try!
The vegetarian selection was a feast. For all you carnivores out there who believe that vegetarian tandoori dishes suck, here’s a revelation; they don’t! The Arbi Ke Tuk was a lovely rendition of the dry arbi that Sindhis cook. It was crusted with coarse spices like coriander and saunf (aniseed), and the starch interior complemented the crisp exterior going perfectly with the date and fig chutneys.
The husband fell in love with the Aloo Methi. I love Aloo Methi in general, but this was simply mind blowing. The baby potatoes had been marinated from the outside with curd and other spices and stuffed with a methi filling. And, just as you cut into the tender potato and take a bite, the sharp bitterness of the methi simply melts away with the natural sweetness of the potato. Lip smacking! Don’t miss this one!
Next came the Paneer Tulsi Tikka. In one bite, soft paneer crumbles in the mouth leaving a lovely, refreshing aftertaste of tulsi (holy basil). My only complaint was that the roasted walnuts weren’t there (as promised on the menu). Their crunchy texture would have gone well with the paneer. Still, I’d recommend it for the unique flavour combination.
The Nawabi Kumbh and Broccoli Makhmali were nothing to rave about. I thought both concepts were excellent but lacking. The kumbh/mushroom promised a stuffing of dry fruits and mawa. But, I couldn’t find the dry fruits. I was expecting raisins, cashews, almonds and the likes. But, all I could taste was mawa. The mushroom had a perfect bite though, fresh and just right in texture. The broccoli I thought was a little less intense. It could have been so much more flavourful, since broccoli is a great carrier of flavour. This was marinated in almond paste and sour yoghurt. Something more intense could have made it stand out!
Captain Nitin was a joy to interact with. He gave us the right recommendations and insisted that we have drinks. So, we ordered the Fruit Punch, a refreshing cocktail of fruits and icecream, and the Peach Iced Tea that lifted our spirits.
But, toward the end of the meal, he suggested the ideal drink, Masala Chaas and Lassi. I love Masala Chaas with Indian food. It cleanses the entire system, and the masala (usually rock salt, jeera and coriander) is a great digestive! I wasn’t about to give this up. The chaas here was perfectly balanced in flavour. The Lassi was a little too thick and grainy. I’m not great on Lassis, but the husband is and he wouldn’t recommend this one for its texture. The taste was perfect though!
Thank you for a lovely meal!
All images courtesy Ishaaq Petiwala (www.facebook.com/ishaaqpetiwala)