Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unlimited Kababs To Heaven

The heady flavors of spices seduces you even as your teeth begins to sink into the well-marinated meat. You savour the sensation of expertly cooked meat -- fresh from the tandoor. The crunchiness of onions, and the icy freshness of mint chutney mingling with the juicy meat in your palate. You are now certain -- heaven can't be more pleasurable than this!

Gilawati Kabab at The Great Kabab FactoryThis evening almost didn't happen. I and a colleague had earlier planned a drive to Fisherman’s Cove, a seaside resort in Chennai with an excellent open-air restaurant. We changed our plans at the last moment and decided to have dinner at a place closer to our hotel instead. What better place to choose than The Great Kabab Factory (TGKF) at Radisson.

The Concept: TGKF only opens for dinner and has a fixed menu. You are served six varieties of kababs with a variety of Indian breads. Multiple servers in factory uniform serve kababs directly onto your plates. Kababs are followed by two kinds of dal, biryani and five different types of desserts. You can order unlimited helpings of anything on the menu! The menu changes every day – the restaurant claims to have expertise in over 140 different kinds of kababs.

Taftan at The Great Kabab FactoryOur reservations were for 9:30PM. The hostess managed to get us a table quickly. The ambiance is the same as their Delhi and Noida restaurants: low lighting, dark colors, walls adorned with cooking utensils, an open kitchen at the far end, checkered table-cloth, and flatware made of twisted steel.

Dinner began with the best kabab of the night, the Gilawati kabab. The kabab was accompanied with an Ulte Tawe Ka Paratha, a thin, pan-fried bread. The server helpfully informed us that the Gilawati was made with 123 spices and ingredients. You place the kabab in the paratha, add onion rings, mint chutney and roll it up to eat. The Gilawati was deliciously aromatic and melted in my mouth. What a great way to begin today’s kabab journey.

Raan-E-MurgThe next kabab was the Raan-E-Murg, a chicken drumstick marinated in spices. This was well made too - crisp outside and succulent inside, with a distinct flavor of cumin. As recommended, we paired this kabab with yogurt chutney.

We were now served with the Bakharkhani and the Taftan, two speciality Indian breads. I chose the former, and it was excellent. (See my post on Indian Breads).

The Chaat Methi Mahi Tikka came next. This was very good. A large chunk of fresh king-fish marinated in fenugreek and chaat spices. The flavors mingled very well with the mint chutney.

Chaat Methi Mahi TikkaThe Kaali-Mirch Ki Pasanda was marinated lamb that was beaten into thin strips and heavily seasoned. The predominant flavors were from the black pepper. The taste was complimented by the tomato chutney that accompanied this dish.

Now came the Zafrani Murg Tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in saffron, yogurt, and other spices.

And the last type of kabab was the ever-popular Sheek Kabab. Skewers of minced lamb mixed with many spices. The one served to us that night was soft but coarsely ground. The flavor of the spices came out nicely and the kabab was hot and spicy the way I enjoy it.

We couldn’t resist ordering another round of the excellent Gilawati kabab before we moved to the Biryanis.

Today’s biryani was a Murgh Biryani, which was good, but I prefer the Gosht Biryani (which is made with mutton/lamb instead of chicken). I also tried their Dal Makhni, which was good, not unusually so.

We were very full by now. But how could I say no to desserts? The server got us all five of them to taste.

Mithai at The Great Kabab FactoryThe kheer-malai was very good as was the kalajaam. The gajar ka halwa tasted just like home-made ones (which was good!), and the malai kulfi was excellent too. But the one that I will remember most among the desserts was the Khubani Ka Meetha. Those who don't travel to Hyderabad may not ever know this one. This exotic sweet-dish was popular with the Nizams and I can see why! Made with apricots and cream, this is quite an interesting dish that lingers on in your mouth and memory for a while.
Kabab lovers, I recommend you try this restaurant on a week-day when it is less crowded.

The Great Kabab Factory first opened in Delhi at the Radisson Hotel (near the International Airport). I remember being blown away by the concept and quality of kababs during my first visit. Since then, the concept (and brand) has become so successful, Radission has opened Kabab Factory restaurants in other cities, including Chennai, Jalandhar, Varanasi and recently Bahrain.

If you enjoyed reading this, here are some other posts you may enjoy:


Lakshmi said...

I always feel good when someone gives a nice review about Madras ..It makes me beam with pride..I like this restaurant too, though I am a simple veggie and not too many options for us

Mansi said...

Hi shantanu! my first time here, and you have a great blog I must say, esp as I love and write about food and travel too!:)

I'm still browsing your blog, but till now it looks great!

Anonymous said...

@backpakker: I have only recently begun visiting Chennai after childhood days. The city has a lot more dining options now. Re: veggies, if there is any place you will get veg options, it ought to be Chennai. :-)

@mansi: Welcome Mansi! Thanks.

Shella said...

Lovely blog. I have been to the Great Kebab Factory in Noida, n was truly impressed by the spread n their style. I am a regular visitor there now!!

Sagari said...

nice post kabab lookkkkk deleciousss

Anonymous said...

@shella: Thank you! Yes, I have visited TGKF at Noida too. Strangely, this outlet is not located within the Radission Hotel ut in a shopping strip nearby.

@sagari: Thank you! :-)

Robyn McMaster, PhD said...

Shantanu, since you commented on my blog, I wanted to come and see what the theme of your blog is.

I'm very intrigued by your descriptions of Indian food. Now I'm inspired to visit an Indian Restaurant here in the U.S. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sheek Kebab is the most popular kind in France (where it's the student dish! It was about 20 Frs when I left...) and even here in Canada. I love kebab too... the mix of spices, sauces, the meat... yummy!

Anonymous said...

@robyn: Welcome to my blog! If you do visit an Indian restaurant, would love to know how you found it.

@zhu: A student dish... Really? That's interesting. :-)

Sig said...

WOW! Noted for next India trip.. My in-laws live in Chennai... So I am going there for sure.. I don't know if I could eat so many different types of kababs in one sitting, but I am definitely giving it a try... Great review.

BTW, blogger won't let me use a non-wordpress hosted blog for the openId log-in, so I am still stuck with my blogger account.

Anonymous said...

@sig: To do that, you have to add a couple of lines to the Head section of your blog. There are some blogs with step-by-step instructions.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Went to madras about 6 yrs ago. stayed in Egmore i think , but never tried the north indian stuff, ater all its the south yaar ! got an over dose of all the southie stuff, was a wonderful experience.

Anonymous said...

@kate/kajal: That's what I usually do when visiting a city in one of the Southern States. However, since this was my second visit to Chennai this year, and I didn't want to stray too far from hotel, I thought I should try some kababs instead. :-)

indicaspecies said...

If they serve unlimited draught beer with all those varieties of delicious kebabs, then it's heavenly!

Taj in Bangalore does that (on Wednesday evenings if I recall well) and I have gorged myself on a few such occasions.

Thanks to you, now I can't wait to try out TGKF. I guess I shouldn't read your blog during office hours since the thought of good food makes me hungry all the more. *drool* *sigh*

Anonymous said...

@indicaspecies: Really? Wow! Nope, TGKF charges extra for alcohol. :-)

indicaspecies said...

Yes Shantanu, I am serious. The last unlimited kebabs and draught beer experience I had was in April 2007 at the Taj (whatever the full name is) located on Residency Road, Bangalore. If I can recall correctly, charges were Rs.800 per head. Don't know if they still have that offer now.

If you are in Bangalore, and wouldn't care really for a romantic ambience, then perhaps you should try out 'Barbeque Nation' in Indiranagar. There's provision for skewers at centre of table. Unlimited kebabs and quite a good variety including prawns and veg. Don't expect much at the buffet though. Reasonably priced in the range of Rs.400 - 500. Beer charges extra.

Ah, talk of food..and I get carried away!

Anonymous said...

Hi. good to get a passionate kabab lover on the net!

I have shifted to Pune recently from Delhi, and am really missing the Kabab joints of my erstwhile city. Could you guide me to the best kabab joints on the lines of TGKF in Pune?

Anonymous said...

@sumit: Welcome to Pune! Best may be a little subjective, but I like Taareef, Sigri and Bombay Brasserie restaurants for their kababs. Check the Pune Posts side-bar for more details on these restaurants (or do a Search from the right side-bar)