Indigenous masks, photographs of gorillas and a menu that includes both starters and mains from across the continent the African food fest at Barbeque Nation is a must-visit, says Dhiman Chattopadhyay
A cave-like entrance covered with fake leaves welcomes people to Barbeque Nation’s Pali Hill branch these days. Inside waiters dressed as tribal chiefs serve you with a smile even as a tattoo artist gets busy painting snakes and zebras on children’s faces. After all there is an African food festival on here. And by the looks of it, the Hakuna Matata fest, is a sellout success.
A waiter dressed as a tribal chief serves you with a smile. Pic/Dhiman Chattopadhyay
We went on a Monday night, but the place was full by 9 pm. Luckily we found a table not far from the buffet spread. The non-veg buffet (Rs 850 per adult, Rs 400 per child) began in style with a kebab platter served on top of a burning barbeque on the table.
The Chicken Machoos an African style biryani, is a must try
The ones worth mentioning were the mango mustard fish kebab (flaky white fish coated with a tangy mustard paste) that was refreshing and the zucchini cottage cheese, which was also flavourful. Mention must be made also of the chicken peri peri kebab and Dahi ke shole, the former was surprisingly not too spicy.
The Truffle Gateau offers a perfect ending to the meal
It is usually difficult to run through the full course at Barbeque Nation for most of us, but you must start with the African peanut chicken soup. It had a unique flavour, which opened the taste buds for the spicy onslaught that came later.
The kebab platter is served on top of a burning barbeque
The main course had a number of African specialty dishes, and these did live up to the promise of a different taste. The Veg Bobotie was the pick of the lot a baked dish on a potato base with crunchy veggies and herbs combined to yield a burst of texture. The African rice had a generous mix of raisins and nuts thrown in that added to the taste.
The Chicken Machoos — biryani cooked in African style was another happy surprise a tad spicy but worth a try. The Wheat Lamb and Kuku Paka (a red-curried mutton dish) tasted good with butter rotis and naan to mop up the gravy. The meat was tender and well-blended with the spices. The vegetarian African stew and the Moroccan soup were both a medley of flavours not very unlike the way we prepare our soups and stews.
In an obvious bid to cater to all tastes, the buffet spread also had a number of staples such as the kaali dal, methi muttar malai, steamed rice and dum ke corn mushroom. The desserts were a medley of Indian specialties; we didn’t spot any unique African items here. The caramelised-fruits-in-chocolate-sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream, was a blessing after the spicy feast, as was the kesari phirni.
The Truffle Gateau, coconut flan and Kiwi perfect cake were the perfect ending to the meal. You would definitely need a short exercise after the meal because to stop at just the starters is not possible when there is so much more on offer at the buffet counter. Here’s one food festival that it will be easy to say Hakuna Matata to, never mind the calories added to your waistline.
Ambience: Bright and colourful USP: Value for money
At: Barbeque Nation, 403 Ambedkar Road, Pali Hill, Khar meal for two: Rs 2,000