Allen Thomas tackles a traditional British dish at an eatery that goes in for global gastronomy.
Arather arduous day left me with a dilemma on where to go for dinner. Mostly, I just go where my appetite tells me. But work this week was quite grilling so it seemed fitting to go for some grills.
Located in Al Ghubrah, I’ve had my eyes on the all-new Barbeque Nation Restaurant for quite some time now. So my brother, Alvin, and I decided to give it a go.
As we headed down to the restaurant, we took a minute to figure out the aesthetics of it all. Funnily enough, we were offered a seat in the party hall. And I mention funnily, because they also have private booths that seem a lot more hospitable and welcoming than the usual seating area.
However, on this occasion, the party hall consisted of around 10 to 15 tables that were completely empty, which gave us a negative vibe off the bat.
Although the waiters were welcoming, a language blockade existed. It wasn’t much of an issue for us as we shared a common culture but it got me worried as to how many other customers manage to get their message across. This did put me off a bit because I wondered how many details were missing or being missed out on.
However, on perusing the menu we found it offered 447 dishes in total; from Turkish, Indian, Chinese and European. But then, the restaurant does have the moniker “Barbeque Nation”.
So after a lot of skimming through and shortlisting, we chose the restaurant’s Barbeque Special Mixed Platter, Chicken Crispy, fish and chips and two watermelon juices for us both. We also asked to get the drinks in early.
As we waited, we mused on the restaurant’s suitability for satiating us after a hard day’s work. Sure, the ambience is pleasant, the décor tasteful and the waiters affable enough but everything just seemed a bit full-on. It was all slightly discomfiting, initially.
It had been 10 minutes since we ordered and we still hadn’t seen anything. Well, at least the food would be fresh, was my brother’s opinion. Always the optimist is my brother.
While he continued to bend my ear (as is his wont), our food arrived. And boy was it a sight to behold! First up was our Special Platter, which lived up to its name. Alongside it were our luscious drinks. I dived in while my brother took a moment to snap away.
How wrong can you be? That platter consisted of food sent down with some degree of divine magic as if some mystic hand had conjured it up. The barbeque was exceptional. I have never seen anything like it; the platter comprised succulent kebabs of chicken, fish, mutton and paneer (cottage cheese).
Cooked to perfection with nothing to complain about, we were then left with the fish and chips, and the crispy chicken. My brother is an aficionado of fish and chips. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen him take me as seriously as he takes this traditional British dish. And bro’s jaws dropped as his molars made contact with the batter: “It’s so tender! How? How? How on earth?” he asked. As for the crispy chicken, I have no words (in a good way). Unlike traditional crispy chicken, this came with a tang and left a legacy for the taste buds that I won’t forget for some time.
When we couldn’t go any further, to our surprise we noticed that the restaurant sold camel. But with such replete tummies and our belts popping out, we were left with no choice but to call it a night.
And just as we were about to summon the bill, the waiter asked us if we fancied any dessert. Without thinking, we went forward and had the special Mutka Kulfi, and boy did we make the right call. With well-balanced sweetness the delectable dish would have been well-suited for the most discerning Delhi denizens.
As we headed out, we learned that all the dishes, including the kulfi, were handmade by the chefs on the premises, whereas other restaurants simply bring them in. Made in traditional Indian earthen pots, the kulfi simply shouts freshness and exhorts you to have more, even though you’ve had (more than) enough.
Overall, exceptional food but there’s a little work needed on the ambience.
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Great food and good service.