Kabab & Tandoor report
Seven of us descended on Kabab & Tandoor in Waltham for lunch on Saturday to sample some of the Hyderabadi specialties. The bill of fare included two apps:
Dahi wada (deep-fried lentil balls swimming in a thin spiced yogurt sauce).
Mirchi pakora (deep-fried hot peppers stuffed w tamarind chutney and covered in chickpea batter)
Bagaray baigan (curried whole eggplants in peanut-sesame sauce)
Mirchi ka salan (hot peppers in peanut-sesame sauce)
Sheek kabab (ground chicken roasted on skewers)
Haleem (whole wheat porridge with minced goat)
(The above served with white rice, chappati, and onion paratha.)
And two desserts:
Dabal ka metha (bread pudding coated in nuts; a sort of Hyderabadi version of French toast)
Khubani ka metha (apricot chunks dyed red and topped with custard)
This was my first visit to the restaurant, which has received mixed reviews on this board, and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, which offered some unusual twists in its range of flavors. I thought the biryani was the weakest offering; the bony hunks of meat were difficult to divide and apportion, and the rice itself was underseasoned. Not much about the haleem was goatlike (which for some people would be a good thing), though the dish was tasty enough. The winners for me were the two apps and the spicy eggplant dish, as well as the apricot dessert.
The tab, including tip, came to $14 a person—or a bit less than the cost of the weekend buffet.
More pix are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/84539512...
I was puzzled by the delicious khubani ka metha, presented as a custard with soft lumps in a thick red outer layer, "which was the apricot and which was the sauce?" Many links later I think I've deconstructed it. The dessert is basically a sweetened and much reduced apricot compote, served with cream, custard (British influence?) or ice cream. Unsulphured fruit will turn an unappetizing brown color, so perhaps that is why the artificial red coloring is used, and the lumps in the custard were probably cooked almond or pistachio halves, which can also be sprinkled on top. Here is one of many (some Hyderabadi and some Pakistani) recipes: niyasworld.blogspot.com/2008/08/khubani-ka-meetha-hyderabadi-sweet.html
loved the khubani ka metha. it was like a warm apricot compote topped with cold custard. a great mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures. could have eaten the whole thing myself and even contemplated ordering one to take home
About the biryani issue: it seems that they sometimes don't have whatever biryani one orders, but instead of disclosing this fact, they simply mix some pulau rice with meat and think that people won't mind. From the picture, that's what it looks like... I've had some good mutton biryani on the weekend buffet where the rice had a proper dark color from all the seasoning.