Mughlai feast, from the east

Arsalan, the popular Mughlai restaurant chain from Kolkata, has set shop in the city. Their delicious Biryanis, rolls and sweets are sure to transport you gastronomically to the bylanes of Kolkata

While Bengali cuisine is typically characterised by its mithai and fish preparations, there is more to it than what meets the eye. A visit to Kolkata is considered incomplete if you don't tuck into its lip-smacking famous rolls, chops and samosas (called singaras), all three of which are gifts from various communities.

Mutton Biryani at Arsalan

While chops, cutlets and tea-drinking are courtesy the British presence in the city, Mughlai Parathas and Korma became integral to the cuisine thanks to the Mughals while the Kachori and the Samosa were introduced to the palate by the resident Marwari population.

To acquaint Mumbaikars with the flavours of meat-based spicy Mughlai cuisine, Kolkata-based restaurant chain Arsalan has opened an outlet at Khar.

We dropped by on a Tuesday evening, barely a few days after it opened its shutters. Already, groups of boisterous folks had made themselves comfortable. It had to be a good omen. Arsalan (which means lion in Arabic and warrior in Pashto), is spacious with an outdoor section.

The extensive menu resembled a royal tome and every table was dotted with tablemats sporting impressive calligraphy that glorified Mughal cuisine in Bengal.

The informative paper mats took us back in time to the emergence of Mughlai cuisine in this part, courtesy the courts of Mughal governors who ruled Bengal since the 12th century.

We began our feast with the Lachcha Paratha (Rs 20) and Subzi Arsalan (Rs 95). The warm, flaky paratha was the best we have eaten in ages. It complemented the Subzi Arsalan, which tasted a tad sweet thanks to the addition of melons.
The Fruit Punch (Rs 110) could have done with less sugar but was refreshing. After an auspicious start, we plumbed for their famed Biryani. The Khushka Pulao (Rs 95) included chunks of paneer but was a disappointment.

It was bland and dry. The Mutton Dum Biryani (Rs 160), on the other hand, was finger-licking good. It could have done with gravy but the pieces of succulent mutton won our hearts and took us back to good old Kolkata. Their Chicken Roll (Rs 50) was stuffed with capsicum, onions and barbecued spicy chicken. It won our vote.

The Shahi Firni (Rs 45) tasted divine as we ended the meal on an exquisitely sweet note. The service was prompt and warm, initially but it lost direction as the evening progressed. The disastrous finale saw our cheque arrive half an hour late.

To add to the confusion, we were mistakenly served the Arsalan Kebab as takeaway instead of the Fish Tikka Kebab that we had ordered. Unforgivable. Hopefully, these are opening week jitters and they will get their act
together, soon.

At Arsalan, Sapphire Building, SV Road, Khar (West).
call 9768555556
Arsalan didn't know we were there.
The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.

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