From China Gate Restaurants – the folks who gave us Red Box, Hometown Café and Bora Bora – comes a restaurant that serves North Indian cuisine in a place named after a Russian city. We’ve come to expect this kind of mashup (Bora Bora is named after a Polynesian island and serves wontons) along with a high-decibel ambience from this restaurateur. On the Tuesday night we went there, the place was abuzz with joint families and groups of friends whose chatter made it difficult to hear the tinkly piano renditions of Bollywood oldies “Aane Wala Pal Jaane Wala Hai” and “Bhawre Ki Gunjan Hai Mera Man”.
The loudness extends to the decor too. Placed right next to Hometown Café and Bora Bora’s darker theme, Kazan’s gold and copper hues seem brighter than they really are. With its small red chandeliers, ornate orchid arrangements and gilty details, it’s almost like walking into the Tanishq showroom nearby.
The menu is a mix of Hyderabadi (biryani, shahi tukda), Lucknowi (galouti kebabs) and general north Indian fare like murgh malai. With our melt-in-the-mouth galouti kebabs – which were very generously spiced and delightfully pink under the crisp crust – we ordered Kazan’s version of a Bloody Mary: a Bloody Sultana made with fresh basil leaves. We thought it might taste like a bloody salsa but perhaps the basil was not muddled enough. It was nothing unusual. The Kazan E Rataloo – spiced sweet potato – balanced the spiciness of the cocktail nicely. The potato was coated in what tasted like good old chicken tikka marinade, except it also had kalonji (onion seeds) as an extra touch.
There were hot spices in the khada masala gosht as well – khada because of whole spices like cardamom and star anise– and thanks to the mustard oil it was made in, the heat of the gosht lingered long afterwards. The dal kazan – black lentils cooked with onion-tomato-garlic puree – was milder and tastier, thanks to a heavy dose of cream.
The highlight of our meal was the biryani, with its unusual use of kasoori methi and the sweet flavour of dry fruits. Dry fruits could not save the lumpy phirni, however, which left us wishing for a sweet White Russian cocktail instead.
|Bloody Sultana (cocktail)||R285.00|
|Kazan e rataloo||R215.00|
|Khada masala ka gosht||R350.00|
|Kazan special lamb biryani||R325.00|
By Aditya Kundalkar on April 27 2012 4.30am
Photos by Parikshit Rao