There are many ways of generating heat in the culinary world and ITC Hotels has tried them all with their celebrated brands Bukhara and Peshawri.. Dum Pukht and Dakshin.. and of late K&K [a play on kebabs and curries] is making its presence felt. During my stay in ITC Grand Central, I met some friends over cocktails at Dublin and then proceed to our table in K&K for what promised to be a sumptuous dinner!
Walking into the restaurant through an engraved wooden entrance, I was transported into a rustic wonderland with the stone flooring and carved wooden pillars. As we took our table, the fragrance and the sight of kebabs, curries, and biryani being prepared at the show kitchens seduced our senses. As we flipped through the extensive menu, it was interesting how it divided into sections by the main ingredients i.e. Shakahari | Samundari | Murgh | Gosht | Meetha. Chef Patrick Braggs came over at that point and suggested we begin with assorted platters of kebab prepared in clay ovens, iron tandoors, charcoal, stone grills, angethis and tawas. He also shared a nugget that each dish cooked in the kitchens captures the essence of the original recipe of the royal courts including long forgotten herbs and exotic flowers…
I'm a seafood devotee and dived into the 'Tandoori Jhinga' marinated in ajwain-flavoured mix of yoghurt, red chills and flavours, and roasted over coals. It was masterful.. I don't know how the chef did it but it registered as a totally new experience that demonstrated great marinating and rubs can do amazing things. We relished the textural quality of the fresh jumbo prawns and I'm already looking forward to ordering it on the next visit.. this coming from a hardcore seafood devotee! 'Sikandari Raan' was next. There was nothing thin about this shoulder of spring lamb! This was the kind of meat that makes diners proud that they're able to hold it up with both hands.. revelling in anticipation: the raan is marinated in malt vinegar, cumin and cinnamon, cooked on dum, skewered and finished in a tandoor, so it's got to be delicious. 'Galouti Kebab' had a melt-in-your-mouth texture while the final appetiser 'Murgh Angaar' was so delicious I was afraid I'd eat my knife and fork as rapidly as I consumed the aromatic chicken kebab flavored with ginger, garlic, onions, bay-leaf, dry fenugreek leaves and red chilli, grilled and served with a sprinkling of herbs and lemon juice. Satiated with the first course, we requested the chef to keep portions of the entrées minuscule as we took in the beauty of the rustic ambience. As expected the iconic Dal Bhukara, simmered over coals overnight, and served with butter naan, was fabulous comfort food. The meal ended on a sweet note with Yaquti — rice and moong lentils simmered in milk, enriched with khoya and dry fruit slivers, and served chilled. It was heaven in a bowl!
Each dish was so distinctive and seasoned just right, I had to ask the chefs the secret of their spiralling success. "We have specialty chefs from across the country who are responsible only for a particular dish. There's no multi-skilling. Bawarchis pass on the trade to their sons and you have to go to the gallis to find these specialty chefs" he explained. All said, visit K&K at ITC Grand Central Mumbai for a leisurely sensual dinner where you can order the best of their other signature brands Bukhara and Peshawri too! It has carved a niche, satisfying cravings for fresh flavourful meat, seafood and vegetables, from the royal kitchens, prepped and seasoned by some of the best chefs in the nation. Bon Appetite!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
ITC Grand Central, Lower Parel, Mumbai