Jump Aboard The Indian Barbeque Express At Barbeque Nation Outlets Across Mumbai
A recent trend in the food industry has been an increased focus on regional fare. Home chefs and entrepreneurs have been starting pop ups, takeaway and delivery services which serve authentic dishes from previously unexplored regions in India while restaurants have been holding food festivals and special meals to help their customers taste and appreciate the intrcacies of cuisines from the Konkan Coast, Andhra Pradesh and North East India amongst others.
On its part, Barbeque Nation has been holding an ‘Indian Barbeque Express’ in Mumbai. Of course, urban dwellers are already familiar with Barbeque Nation which has outlets across the country and is famous for its live-on-the-table-grill concept. In Mumbai until March 5th the chain will be offering its customers an even more immersive dining experience by allowing them to take a trip across India through sampling local and regional favourites from across the country. The Indian Barbeque Express has taken inspiration from train journeys which involve pit stops and the chance to enjoy local food.
Tasting The Talk
We stopped by at Barbeque Nation’s Worli outlet this week to jump aboard the Indian Barbeque Express and chow down all it had to offer. After meeting with the restaurant’s executive chef, Chef Khuldeep, who makes it a point to personally stop at all the tables in the restaurant and talk with the diners, the live grill was placed in the hollow in our table.
For the uninitiated, Barbeque Nation places a miniature live grill on every table along with a selection of sauces and marinades. They then bring out skewers of vegetables, proteins and fruits to place on the grill and encourage diners to experiment with marinades, sauces and turn the skewers on the grill themselves which makes for a wonderfully personalised, immersive dining experience.
Appetisers included in the Indian Barbeque Express were the Lal Mirch Ke Peru and Pineapple, Crispy Corn, Anari Aloo and Ajwaini Amritsari Fish. We particularly enjoyed the Pineapple skewers; juicy pineapple chunks were mildly seasoned with chilli powder and a lemongrass glaze we had spread over it to make for a refreshing bite and the perfect way to begin our meal. Vegetarians can also try the Mushroom skewers, with plump lightly seasoned mushrooms.
From the non-vegetarian starter selection, our favourite grill was the Kasundi Chingri; succulent fresh prawns with a subtle mustard flavour which gave them an added softness. We also enjoyed the Murgh Mala Tikka, within which the chicken was equally soft and succulent.
Aside from the grills, the appetiser selection of the festival also invites patrons to a live cooking station, where chefs are whipping up fresh kebabs. The Shammi Kebabs were soft and earthy, with just the right amount of spices. One should also look out for the Paneer Gulati which is equally soft and yielding and served with a tangy chutney that enhances its flavour.
While the appetisers are beyond delicious, a tip while eating at Barbeque Nation is to be sure you leave enough room for their equally delicious and lovingly prepared main dishes and desserts. So, after calling for seconds of all the appetisers (we have cavernous stomachs), we proceeded to the buffet which boasted dishes from across India including Banjra Murgjh, Mutton Yakhni Pulav, Shalgam Ka Bharta and Nihari Ghost.
The Mutton Yakhni Pulav was an immediate star; long grained rice and tender mutton came together in an aromatic, flavourful dish. We also loved the Lucknowi Nihari Ghost which was similarly aromatic and tender. The A crab curry was another star; nestled in a rich, thick curry, the crab itself was mildly spiced.
Finally, we made a beeline to the restaurant’s extensive dessert counter, where kulfi, halwa, chocolate cake, phirni and ice creams clamoured for our attention. After much deliberation, we piled our plate with matkas of phirni, beetroot halwa and kulfi – we wanted to continue appreciating and applauding Indian flavours. The Beetroot Halwa was a moderately sweet and creamy, but our favourite from the lot was delicate, velvety phirni which was topped with a pearly pomegranate.
As we spooned the last of the phirni into our mouths, we sat back and took stock. In one sitting, we had managed to take a culinary journey from Punjab to Bengal; from Lucknow to Hyderabad. Suffice to say, we were very satisfied and we bet you will be too if pay Barbeque Nation’s Indian Barbeque Express a visit. The festival is on across all 13 of the restaurant’s outlets in Mumbai until March 5th.