The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dining at Barbeque Nation

It was a ‘delicious’ conclusion of 2011, thanks to the office lunch at Barbeque Nation, the tandoori speciality restaurant of the well-known national chain at Sector V, Salt Lake on the new year eve. Their offering at the lunch comprises of unlimited kebabs as starters served at individual tables, followed by the main course spread out at the buffet table. The arrangement is the same as Flame n Grill, the tandoori speciality restaurant from the famous Specialty group of Restaurants with chains like Mainland China, Oh Calcutta!, Sigree and others.

Each table has a grill at the centre, which is switched on when guests arrive, whereupon the waiters place the kebab sticks with steaming hot kebabs. One picks them as and when he / she feels like, or turn the stick to avoid burning of the kebabs. There is a flag at each table. The rule is that until a guest puts it down, the waiters will keep refilling the grill.

The non-veg kebabs were Parash Chicken, Sociaty Fish, Pesto Prawns, Lebanese Seek Kebab (Mutton) and Murgh Jeera Tangri (Chicken legs). There’s a complimentary (non-alchoholic) drink too, unlike Flame n Grill (hereafter mentioned as F&G). We chose fresh lime soda. Just like our two office dinner outings at F&G at Park Street, almost all of us in the group kept on gorging the kebabs to the heart’s content, without much of a thought for the main course. In fact many had already decided beforehand to skip it and head straight for the desserts table when they would have had their fill of kebabs.

The kebabs were all yummy and perfectly done. The soft and succulent Sociaty Fish easily topped the charts, closely followed by the juicy Parash Chicken. Taste-wise the kebabs match F&G, only the mutton kebab (Lebanese Seek Kebab) is much better and the fish kebab has a slight edge too. This considering F&G does a really good job with fish kebab. There are six types of not-so-common sauces to go with the kebabs kept on the tables.

The main course was widely laid out with plenty of choices in veg and non-veg, including a variety of salads. After the two F&G experiences where I flew with the tide, I had decided not to go overboard with the kebabs. Now, with limited space in the stomach (How much control can you exercise anyway seeing the kebabs placed before you over and over again?) I first tried the Non-veg Dum Biriyani and the ghosht (a mutton gravy dish), planning to come back later to the Mahi Rezala. The biriyani was good, though not a match to the best in the city (Read Arsalan, Aliah et al). The ghosht was good too. But the rezala put me off royally. Not only that the soup was a mess, they cooked the dish with……..FISH!! And the fish tasted like it was fried not long before being put in the rezala.

At the dessert table a big hit was the hot baby gulab jamuns (slightly larger than kofta balls). Looked like the guys in the group were picking not less than 15 pieces at a time, many topping their ice cream with it. I don’t really have a thing for hot gulab jamun, so it was the firni (in small matkas), a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a slice of date walnut cake for me. Wasn’t disappointed. The boss liked the coconut jam cake.

All this at Rs 575 (including taxes)! Value for money indeed for any kebab lover with an average appetite that can take up a reasonable gastronomic challenge.

On service front, F&G has an edge though. The replenishment of the kebabs was a bit slow. The Parash Chicken arrived much later. But you would tend to consider this a minor blemish given the taste of the food, especially the core offering – the kebabs. Barbeque Nation is a definite recommendation.