Kebab-E-Que is one of those places which does not go out of fashion. And when the very glorious Supreeta Singh grabbed my hand and ordered me to meet up with her, who was I to disagree? M, P and I soon joined her for lunch, where she showed us around Kebab-E-Que, explaining the changes The Astor Hotel has been going through for the last few years.
“We have been making quite a few changes, and renovations are happening as we speak. This is a heritage building, so it is difficult to change things quickly, but we are doing our best to change and update our menus and decor as time passes by,” Supreeta explained while sipping her diet coke.
The buffet at Kebab-E-Que is quite an elaborate affair. At 425/- plus taxes (which pushes the bill to somewhere around 500/- in the end), the lunch buffet boasts of a considerable number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian salads, kebabs, and dishes from different regions of India, not to mention desserts. We seated ourselves, while kebabs were served at the table by supremely polite servers. One thing that I have noticed is the fine manners and service of the servers here – they have an old world charm about them which I find positively wonderful.
|Vegetable Prune Kebab and Chicken Burra Kabab|
We started off with a quartet – the vegetable prune kebab had a finely minced texture of vegetables with the presence of sweet and sour prunes, which cut through the spicy heat of the dish with a tangy sweetness. It was a good start. The Chicken Burra Kabab came next – it was soft and spicy and a squeeze of lime made it excellent.
|Fish Lahsooni Kabab|
I was quite looking forward to the Fish Lahsooni Kabab, which I have always liked at Kebab-E-Que. True to its form, it came to the table soft and moist, with hints of garlic which complimented the flaky fish. The Mutton Seekh Kabab was slightly drier than what I like, but was tasty nonetheless.
|Top – Dahi Shorba. Clockwise on the plate – Ghee rice with Rajma, Sonamoog Dal, Paneer Butter Masala, Aloo Paratha.|
After we had had our share of kebabs, it was time to move on to the main course. At a buffet, the good news is that you get to pick and choose what you want. My first plate consisted of perennial favorites of mine – Aloo Paratha, Rajma, Ghee rice with Sonamoog Dal, and Paneer Butter Masala. The Rajma was soft and tasty, the Aloo Paratha was flaky and perfectly seasoned. But I was very intrigued by the Sonamoog Dal. Unlike the daal served at my home, this was dry, and I was slightly unsure whether I liked it or not. But, together with the Ghee Rice and the Rajma, it was pretty tasty.
|Chicken and Pineapple Salad|
In between courses, I wandered over to the salad selection, and the chicken and pineapple salad attracted my attention. It had chunks of sweet pineapple and salty chicken bits drizzled with a bit of oil and parsley. The result was tasty, refreshing, and I can never say no to pineapples.
Of course, there was a delectable mutton, a mustard-laden soft fish dish, and Chicken Tikka Butter Masala in the menu as well, but although they were pretty tasty, my roving eyes caught sight of dessert and everything else was instantly forgotten.
|Swiss Roll (Left) and Caramel Custard (Right).|
The Swiss Roll was soft and creamy. It makes me happy just to think about it in retrospect. Not to be outdone, the Caramel Custard was silky, not overly sweet, and a very well-executed dish. However, on my second trip to the buffet, I spied something that made me smile.
A purely evil one.
A couple of scoops of Chocolate Ice Cream, covered with chocolate sauce, chocolate sprinkles, and a wafer to add that beautiful crunch to it was all I needed to finish off my lunch. M and P were busy with their Swiss Rolls while I ate my ice cream in blissful silence, smiling genially at the comments, but completely and utterly lost in the haze of chocolate ice cream with molten chocolate sauce.
Of course, I returned to The Astor Hotel soon after. But that’s another story, and I am still not sure whether I will tell you about it.
The Astor Hotel
15, Shakespeare Sarani (Theater Road)
Phone: +91 8100817446
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Kebab-E-Que as a guest of The Astor Hotel.