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Succulent kebabs... and more

The flavours of the Northwest come alive at the Great Indian Kebab festival on at Copper Chimney. Savour the authentic spread...

THINK BARBECUE and the image of a shirtless American father swigging beer and flipping burgers surrounded by a cute wife with a salad bowl and kids running haywire, pops up in your mind. It just shows how effectively Hollywood has rammed that picture of domestic bliss down our throat.

Now focus on this. The rugged North Western Frontier and men with craggy features and flowing robes sitting around a campfire and watching the meat on skewers roast while women bake breads on hot tawas in the background. This is the barbecue closer home and what we can't do with out.

Imagine a life without sikhandari raan or murg malai kebab! Sure, we Chennaiites have our fair share of kebabs with speciality restaurants mushrooming. In spite of this, the Great Indian Kebab Festival at the Copper Chimney, Cathedral Road, is greeted with relish.

The chef, Sanjay Warriar and his assistant, Thapan Mallick from Bombay Brassiere have skewered, roasted, basted and deep-fried quite a variety for Chennai. We started off with murg lasooni (Rs.170) and dahi ke soola (Rs.130).

The first was to be tender pieces of boneless chicken marinated in a subtly seasoned yoghurt and garlic mix, skewered and grilled. The early part of the promise, about the tender chicken held good. It was the lasooni bit that was lost. The yoghurt mix simply swamped the garlic. The second kebab showed ingenuity. The piquant yoghurt-herb-fruit filling changed the bread dumplings beyond recognition.

Ajwaini fish tikka (Rs.160) and Mutton Peshawari (Rs.170) were the next choices. We had them with a lovely Black dal and breads from the main menu. The fish was very good. But again, the ajwaini flavour was hard to find. The tikka was done to perfection, moist and flaky.

The mutton didn't disappoint at all.

For dessert, there were gulab jamun, kulfi and rasmalai in the usual menu. Not much of a selection. But the kulfi was an experience not to be missed. Resplendent with nuts, cardamom and saffron, it was a pleasure till the last spoonful. The festival is on till March 10.

MARIEN MATHEW

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