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Sheesha `n' kebabs

GOURMET The North West Frontier comes to town with succulent grills and hookahs


What: Koyla... northwest frontier eatery

Where: 6th Floor, Sufi Chambers, above Food World, Road No.1, Banjara Hills, Tel: 55524455

When: 12 noon-3.30 p.m.; 7.30 p.m.-midnight (reservations preferable on weekends)

Table for two: Rs. 600 (mock tails, starters and main course included)

This one is an ode to good earth. Water bodies with lotus and grass alternating rustic tables in sleeper woods, with palms and bamboos adding to ambient Buddha Bar music wafting around the al fresco area. Decks with lounge chairs, and a sheesha bar that serves hookahs flavoured with green apple, strawberry, rose, grape and more flavours. And a central diner walled by bay windows that seems a rugged chic version of northwest frontier living.

Koyla is the new buzzword in the gourmet circle in the twin cities. Incidentally the parent eatery in Mumbai is listed in National Geographic as the tourist destination--19,000 sq feet overlooking Arabian sea, lit up occasionally by passing choppers and coast guard beams. Restaurateur Abu Farhan Azmi, along with partners Sumanth Rao and Teja Raju, replicate the same ambience here, this time on the Road No.1.

About the name, "the whole basis of the place is koyla (charcoal). The food is cooked in charcoal, the sheesha is lit with coal. And it sounds very Indian. In Dubai every corner has a sheesha joint. It's a time pass there. Koyla started as a small sheesha and kebab joint and the first ever roof top concept in Mumbai four years ago," explains Farhan. "Today we have Karan Johar, Dino Morea and Jackie Shroff who dine regularly with us. Jackie likes the non vegetarian platter," he adds. The eatery brings to town the Mumbai menu including the famous Murgh makhni— butter chicken.

The northwest frontier cuisine has familiar picks from Kashmiri, Punjabi, Afghani and Hyderabadi (Nizami chicken) platter. As also mushrooms and baby corns flavoured with a tangy ajwain for starters. Plus there is some good brew, very American Costa Rica blend coffee, masala tea, infusions such as Earl grey, mocha, latte and espresso, and good mock tails.

On the cards is a patisserie for chocolate and fruit desserts Chocolate mud pie— a dirty-looking sinfully delicious chocolate dessert and Cheesecakes from Basilico, Farhan's popular European eatery in Mumbai. Incidentally he plans to bring Basilico to the twin cities plus a boutique hotel.

As for Koyla, the place is sold out on weekends and is turning out as a preferred eatery with the Telugu film industry.

SYEDA FARIDA

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