So I recently turned a year older (and wiser, I’m hoping) and it’s nice that the birthday fell on a Friday. There’s just something about weekend birthdays that make it obviously more exciting… and I clearly love the idea of it. Interestingly I was also invited to check out the new menu that’s been launched at Kangan – the fine dine Indian (Awadhi, Mughlai and North West Frontier) restaurant at The Westin Garden City, Mumbai.
Having always loved the food here, I was more than happy to accept the gracious invitation, especially since it was also going to be my birthday dinner. They say one must do what they love the most on their birthday… I love good food and blogging about it so here I was… 🙂 I took mum along for this one cuz there’s really no better way to celebrate than with family and of course, with some fabulous food! The kitchen team at Kangan, led by Chef Rahul Dhavale made sure it turned out to be an evening to remember. With a surprise chocolate cake in store for me (which was delicious btw!) and a celebration that made me feel nothing less than special and more importantly grateful, I honestly couldn’t have asked for more! ❤ Thank you…
Moving on to the lovely food that was in store for us… The new menu is the brainchild of the very talented Chef Angad Rai, who now leads the culinary team as Chef de Cuisine. With his amazing expertise in Mughlai and Awadhi cuisine, he’s also worked with some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry. Now with a profile as impressive as his, we were indeed looking forward to an extraordinary meal that’s fit for a king (in this case, a queen and her princess :P) The enhanced menu has Chef Angad’s signature dishes that we were ready to get a taste of…
The evening began with an assorted platter of vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters.
The Palak Anardana Tikki was a subtly flavoured but hard to not love combination of cumin spiced spinach tikkis with pomegranate and yogurt. There’s no reason why a vegetarian wouldn’t want to give this a try.
The Nadroo Shikhampuri, which is basically lotus stem kebabs that instantly stole the show with innovation as well as flavour as the stuffing included green mango relish. So different!
We also got a taste of Zaika-e-Zaika, a unique rendition of the much loved paneer tikka but with a wholesome layer of tulsi (holy basil), pine nuts and pickled prunes. You see where this is heading? Chef Angad’s touch is all about innovation, but keeping it as earthy as possible.
One can’t really go wrong with potatoes, so when we bit into the soulfully stuffed Aloo Ke Nazakat, we knew it was love at first bite. Safe tandoori flavours that’s bound to become an instant favourite for most.
Last but not the least, the Dahi Ke Kebab is not totally new at Kangan, but I love how Chef Angad has reinvented it by incorporating spiced mango chunks. These semolina crusted hung curd medallions are little bites of vegetarian heaven!
Moving on to the non-vegetarian appetizers, I had my share of meats that were cooked in various styles and tasted even better…
It all began with the Murg Bardari Tikka that’s marinated and cooked in a tandoor with yellow chillies. The chicken was beautifully succulent and flavourful with layers of kasundi mustard and some cheese.
Up next, we checked out the Kakori Kebab, which may have been the softest lamb I’ve ever laid my eyes on… the way it crumbled on my plate was quite a sight in itself. They melted in my mouth even before I knew it and that’s a sign of well cooked meat.
Just when I realised I hadn’t tasted any seafood preparations yet, the Khatti Jhinga arrived at our table. The kaffir lime marinated prawns were cooked in a tandoor and weren’t as exceptional as I was hoping it to be. Nevertheless, the flavours were common but delicious.
So what happens when you use spiced buttermilk as an infusion? You get the oh-so-lovely Chaas Murgh Tikka. Cooked in a tandoor for just the right amount of time (the effortless way in which I could cut the chicken proved it), this starter is definitely worth some praise!
Even though we were super stuffed by the time the main course arrived, certain dishes stood out for all the right and delectable reasons. The Kashmiri Seb Ki Sabzi is one that may not be for everyone as it truly is an acquired taste. This slightly spicy but also sweet and sour apple curry is made with a dash of Kashmiri red chillies and is one-of-a-kind.
The Dum Aloo Benarasi is rich and goes extremely well with some piping hot tandoori rotis or zaffrani taftaan. Made in cream sauce and almond puree, these little baby potatoes make for a stunning main course.
Next, the Chilgoza Phalli caught my attention. Pencil beans and pine nuts stir-fried with red onions and tomatoes, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the amalgamation of flavours this one brought out.
Amongst the non-vegetarian main course options, I was introduced to the supremely aromatic Kacche Gosht Ki Biryani. Even though I love my biryani sans the accompaniments (raita or salan) this one comes with the some lovely mirchi ka salan that ideally compliments the preparation.
I also got a taste of the very ingenious Jhinga Anardana. Now to imagine the two coming together and it turning out to be a successful combination… Hard to believe, but it happened. The subtle sweetness to this rich and thick gravy was well received.
The Murgh Awadhi Korma was another preparation that gave out some major royalty-like impression. Super rich in texture and heavy on the appetite, it’s quite a meal in itself but not outstanding for any unusual reasons.
Last but not the least, take this as a special note from me to you. Make sure you never walk out of Kangan without having their stunning Dal Kangan. A signature dish, the slow-cooked black lentils and tomatoes is finished with some white butter and is best enjoyed with a portion of steamed rice. One can make a hearty meal out of it. I know I have in the past and absolutely loved it!
It was time to move on… to desserts, of course. 🙂
A tasting portion of the Gajar Halwa, Malpua Rabdi, Akhrot Ka Halwa, Gulkand Gulab Jamun and Ras Malai… Which ones do you think won us over? Well, the most unusual of them all – the Akhrot Ka Halwa (Kashmiri style walnut fudge) was a tad bit too sweet for me but I guess it will appeal to those who have a massive sweet tooth. The Gulkand Gulab Jamun was meant to taste slightly different but I didn’t really pick it up as such. As simple as they were, I thought the Ras Malai and Malpua Rabdi were quite lovely. No experiments were conducted on these and I guess that’s perfectly okay… after all, certain preparations are best enjoyed in their original preparation style.
In conclusion, the North West Frontier Province cuisine can go beyond the usual and cliched. Kangan’s Chef de Cuisine, Chef Angad and his talented team will make sure your dining experience is anything but ordinary. So go ahead, try out the newly launched unprecedented menu that’s been beautifully designed for its patrons.
PS. The blogger was invited to check out the new menu. Views are personal.