FILL YOUR PLATTER WITH KEBABS
For the majority of us, we see images of Iranian or Turkish cuisines whenever the word kebab hits our ears, but I got to find out that there is a lot more variety than your causal kebabs made with touches from different cultures. This week we visit Quresh
Thoughts of smouldering red charcoal, succulent grilled kebabs and the aroma of exotic spices will surely make you visit the Qureshi Restaurant for a bite.
These meaty escapades may refer to any dish made of fish, meat, or vegetables, rolled in a skewer and barbecued to desired taste, offering a smoky taste to entertain your tastebuds. These fire-kissed dishes were famous in Iran and Turkey, but later on became a global feast borrowed by many other cultures and cuisines, including India’s, they have become a staple within Indian cuisine, and it certainly elevated the meaty, greasy taste to a more flavoursome, spiced up treat that transports you to grilled-food heaven.
I had the pleasure of meeting the famous Qureshi brother, Ashfaque and Irfan Qureshi, who came to town to kickstart the Tandoori Kebabs Festival. The family is a pioneer in the food and beverages industry, with more than 13 restaurants ranging from fast food, to casual joints, to fine dining. Here in Oman, they have opened Qureshi Bab Al Hind Restaurant, a fine dining Indian restaurant that serves exotic kebabs, alongside traditional dishes with exclusive touches from the house of Qureshi. From mouth-melting kebabs, to flavoursome biryanis, it’s nothing short of a trip to India.
Combining breezy, feel-good weather with warm, smoky kebabs is always a great idea, promising a stellar experience on the outdoors of Grand Hormuz Hotel.
As I arrived, I was offered a warm greeting by the waiters who escorted me to my place. The decorations and overall vibe gave me a reminiscence of the Holy Month. The place has a warm tone with black and gold colour palette, accented with a bunch of lanterns. The serene atmosphere was to die for. I was offered a seat with views of the hotel’s swimming pool and on my right there was the barbecue station, where the magic happens.
The menu for the festival is simple and to-the-point. You have your vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and main dishes. The smell of barbecued meat was filling my nostrils, I couldn’t resist but to order everything on that menu.
After tickling my appetite with crispy treats, chutneys, and fresh orange-pineapple juice I dived into the first platter, which had an assortment of grilled fruits and vegetables, vegetarian kebab, and a massive chunk of paneer tikka. Not a hardcore fan of no-meat treats but folks who are vegetarians will absolutely love it as the vegetable kebab was delicious and flavourful.
Soon my table got filled with a platter full of meat. I switched my carnivore mode on and took a dive into the proteins. The plate had a variety of meats; it was literally an escapade that’s graced with bursts of flavours. What was on the menu you ask? Grilled chicken, marinated in an in-house special sauce, and blended with crushed black peppers was simply a delight. The dish was as juicy as chickens get, giving me smoky, tender taste for days. Chicken breasts grilled and stuffed with a bunch of herbs and cheese was another absolutely delicious treat. Cheese makes anything taste yummy, and this did not disappoint; the chicken was mildly spicy, and the molten cheese added a creamy flavour to the already smoky dish.
For seafood lovers, there is butter-fried crispy fish, oceanscented grilled prawns along with tender quail bird meat. But the rockstar at the festival is the Qureshi’s signature dish Kakori kebab, a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth dish made out of minced lamb. This is the softest kebab I have ever tasted. It was an interesting experience that contested the typical, chunky, must-bite kebabs and tikkas. As I was seated with Ashfaque, he narrated a quick story on the signature kebabs. As the story goes, the Muslim rulers in India were huge fans of kebabs, but when they became old they still longed for that smoky flavour of chargrilled dishes but struggle to do the chewing. Thus this softer version of kebabs were made to serve the royals.
While I stayed engrossed in the historical tales I continued eating kebabs with fresh out of the oven naan, and something extra special: Dal Qureshi, a creamy, earthy, and smoky dal makhani that lends an earthy and smoky taste to the lentils, which are cooked for 18 hours (the longest cooked dal), and served hot. I’m a sucker for dal makhani, and this one was the creme de la creme of all lentil-based dishes, period.
By this time, my stomach has become bloated. Still, I wasn’t going to leave without tasting their biryani, I’m Omani after all, my rice fix cannot be compromised. The clay-pot served dish was fragrant, and tossed with chunks of tender, boneless meat. I took a couple of spoonfuls. The taste was as expected from a fine dining restaurant, impeccable.
After having a busy week at work, I needed to go to a quiet place to just chill for a while, reflect, and just enjoy the weather. Qureshi offered me all that and more. It was a great experience full of char-grilled kebabs from the amazing Qureshi brothers. Don’t miss this festival.