INDIA: The best meal of my life

Let me just first say that Bombay is not exactly conducive to food blogging for three main reasons:

1. The lighting kind of sucks in every eating establishment thus making the food photos look about one millionth as appetizing as it ACTUALLY is

2. Servers insist on serving the food on your plate when they bring it over, thus you never really get a shot of the plate in it’s wholeness (this could also be because we’ve only been dining at palatial five star hotel restaurants)

3. The nine million hovering waitstaff and fellow diners are absolutely and utterly frazzled why one would be taking photos of their paneer and of the chutney centrepiece

In any case- last night, Gitu, Naz, and I got nice and dressed up in classy little dresses and doused ourselves in the various fragrances of Chanel and headed across town to the palatial ITC Grand Central Luxury Collection Sheraton Mumbai hotel for dinner at the famous Kebabs and Kurries restaurant. In terms of Mughlai food (the most well-known of Indian cuisine featuring Tandoori dishes, Biryani, etc), the Sheraton ITC Maurya’s Bukhara restaurant in Delhi and Kebabs and Kurries in Bombay are regarded as the best restaurants for Mughlai food in the country (and probably the entire world).

Mughlai food being my absolute FAVOURITE type of cuisine (tied with Arabic of course) got me considerably excited for this epic experience.

Kebabs and Kurries features an open kitchen where you can see the glorious spits of lamb, chicken, and other succulent meats grilling from your very table. Luckily, Gitu, having worked at the Sheraton back in the day and having immense experience in eating here knew exactly what to order for our epic feast for three

Centrepiece of chutneys

Obligatory papad with a plate of raw onions and green chili (Personally I ADORE raw onions…)

As for ordering the main courses, the waiters were very very skeptical of the amount of food we ordered as three slim females, Gitu assured them that we did have healthy appetites indeed. Alors, the procession of culinary glory:

Chicken breast marinated in cream cheese and Indian spices and cooked in the tandoor (coal clay oven). Absolutely and succulently OUT OF THIS UNIVERSE

Paneer (which I am usually not a huge fan of) cooked in the tandoor with an amazing green chili marinade- it was perfect

Lamb kabobs cooked in the tandoor. This was by far the BEST LAMB I’ve ever had! Normally I don’t like lamb for it’s gamey taste and somewhat fatty composition, but not only did this have the signature delightfulness of the tandoori char, but the flavour from the spices was so immense and glorious that there was not even a hint of gamey taste but just a coriander-cumin essence of magnificent tender meat.

Tandoori chicken drumsticks- also scrumptious

Assortment of Naans: Naan with dried mint/herbs (reminds me of Arabic zaatar), buttered garlic naan, and on the very bottom thin roomali roti. It was SPLENDID- normally I’m not a huge fan of naan due to how dense it is, but this was thin, hot, crispy and perfect

The waiters kind of forced us to order Dahl once they saw how much we could actually eat. It was delicious Dahl Makhni but I had about three bites since I would NEVER waste my appetite on creamy lentils when there are platters of succulent meats demanding my attention

The best dish of all: JUMBO prawns (we’re talking almost the size of lobsters) stuffed with a mixture of potato, lentils, and pomegranate seeds and an array of pungent spices (boy can you taste the cumin and the coriander.) This was SO scrumptious, succulent, and spicy I almost melted and had an early demise. Whatever they stuffed this with must most certainly be available in Heaven.

All in all, the three of us did a pretty good job- and managed to leave without feeling over-full (and with only around 1/8 of the food left over.) Of course, the waitstaff promptly brought us the dessert menu which we shunned and instead remained enjoying one another’s company cracking all our quirky jokes and stories.

Then, on our way out, Naz forced Gitu and I to eat a betelnut leaf full of Paan (a traditional breath freshener of a leaf stuffed with various spices and such)…it literally tastes like you’re eating a bundle of potpourri. Gitu warned me saying she doesn’t like it, Naz does, so I shoved the whole thing in my mouth at their insistence to which Naz joked with me that “You CAN’T SWALLOW IT! You have to spit it out!” And half way through trying to grab a tissue to spit it out, I spilled ALL the tissues on the ground of course in front of the open kitchen where semi-attractive tandoori-grillin’ chefs just watched and once I realized it was a joke I swallowed the whole of the leafy bundle of fragrance.

Conclusion: I love paan. It’s delicious. And today Naz will take me paan-hopping.

What a glorious day in culinary terms yesterday was. So glorious was our feast at Kebabs and Kurries that I nearly forgot to mention the afternoon jaunt that Naz, Nirali, and I had to the famous Leopold Cafe (this was one of the Cafes which got attacked on the infamous 26/11 terror attacks at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace hotels). It also serves as a historical landmark and is partially famous from the incredible book, Shantaram (which I am nearly done with reading). Anyhow, we stopped there for a snacky amidst our sticky little shop-hop on the Colaba Causeway.

While Naz ordered fresh watermelon juice and her absolute favourite snack of chili cheese toast with runny orangey ketchup, I got my number one thirst-quencher for a steaming hot Indian day:

Mango lassi. It was delicious and downed in less than two minutes and a perfect compliment to the full-of-character and air condition lacking Cafe.

What’s the best meal you have ever had?


3 thoughts on “INDIA: The best meal of my life

  1. i’ve never had indian food before! but i’ve been dyyyyyyyingggggggg to try it! i need to go with someone who knows indian food though because then i feel like i would know what to order

    i would say one of the best meals i’ve ever had was when we went to portuguese bbq for my mom’s birthday. the food was AMAZING!

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