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Mughal magic

From the Mediterranean Aeoli to Awadhi lasooni kheer, one can savour it all at Tandoor


A CYLINDRICAL clay jar, fire and raw food; the romance of tandoor knows no limit. Think about it, a method of cooking that dates back to the pre-Harappan days (the earliest archaeological proof says so) still continues to entrance us. Not much has changed on the design front either. Another interesting nugget is that the ancestor of the chicken, the old jungle fowl, was bred in the Indus Valley nearly 5,000 years ago. So, if we put two and two together and arrive at five, those guys too may have had tandoori chicken! Next time you bite into a tangdi kebab, pause for a moment and remember how far back the tradition goes.

Tandoor, the newly opened restaurant at the Hotel Aruna Annex, Sterling Road, is content with the Mughal period of the oven, the time when zaffrani, kewra and rose water fragrances started emanating from it. An expansive white interior, marble inlays, jhoola, Rajasthani and Mughlai paintings and ghazals ... all the clichés are in place here. Nevertheless, the formula still works.

This is no new face making a debut here. As the fame of the Bangalore Tandoor had wafted in this direction, the expectations were soaring as high as the prices marked.

Starting trouble was there and hence, the classic kakori and galouti kebabs, the benchmark to rate a restaurant, were not yet available. Then it had to be my favourite lasooni kebab. Ah! garlic, what can I say!


From the Mediterranean Aeoli to Awadhi Lasooni kheer, I love it. Even the plain roasted ones are enough to get me going. There I was waiting with quivering nostrils, quickened breath and drooling tongue — typical Pavlovian symptoms — for the garlic kebabs to arrive. Arrive they did, eight plump ones garnished with slivers of onion and capsicum. A squeeze of lime and in goes one. Mmm....not bad. But garlic? Alas, the yoghurt marinade drowned it. For Rs. 185, I want my kebabs to be more lasooni and moist. They were a bit overdone. The setback made me more resolute.

Next step was garlic naan (Rs.30). There ended my quest, I got my garlic fix. It was a delicate caress of garlic that teased and tantalised one. The other starter paneer pudhina tikka (Rs. 150) was rather flat.

The entrees made up for the starters. The dahi bhindi (Rs. 110) and machi methi (Rs. 265) came good, both in quality and quantity. What sent me into raptures was the creamy smooth badam kheer (Rs. 95).

The service solicitous to the right degree, not too much as to make you paranoid nor too little to feel like a poor relation, made the evening more enjoyable. Go ahead and make the call. The number is 28262626.

MARIEN MATHEW

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