Saturday, August 22, 2015

Canara Restaurant, Dubai, UAE- for Awesome Mangalorean Food

A lot was told to me about this Manglorean rather Canara restaurant and highly recommended too. During my trip to Dubai and on the last day out, a dozen of us made it for lunch. Some of our friends were already seated prior to our arrival but let me assure you that you will have to wait some time as the place was full and noisy with Manglorean and Goan diners. Lot of clattering of dishes going on with people jabbering away to glory. This is simple place with no d├ęcor to boast off but the food makes up for everything you don’t need.
Food was already ordered and for starters there were the Crispy Rawa fried Kaane / Mudoshiyo or Lady Fish, some rawa fried prawns, Kubey Mutli which is a Manglorean speciality. The sorpotel came in earlier than expected and was generously dumped by me with the starters…. I didn’t care cos I just loved the sorpotel. We had some paanpoleys / neer dosas again a Manglaorean speciality to go with the above. Stop drooling.

Everything we ate was good. Although the fish was coated with a thick layer of rawa, it was fresh, huge, soft and fleshy. The prawns were pretty good sized and delicious. The Kubey Mutli looked good and had all the goodness I have had before but it is not my favourite, but everyone was raving about it so I guess it was pretty good. I don’t fancy most Manglorean dishes but I can tell you that they are equally good as we are mixed breed family of Goans & Mangloreans. My favourite was the sorpotel which was expected but it was a Manglorean style sorpotel which simply means that it did not have the sourness which identifies Goan sorpotel and which I adore. However this was for me again the star dish and I dunked it in with some neer dosas.

For our main course we had the Prawn  and bhenda curry  and some hot plain rice to go with it. We also ordered fried Lepos/Sole fish and some Kingfish Masala.  The prawns curry was a bit too creamy but excellent however the bhendas were a bit oldish and had a thready texture, however the curry went well with the rice. The fried lepos were excellent too. The Kingfish masala was ok. Not too exciting or probably had lost its zing from the fact that we had eaten such wonderful food earlier.

During my wife’s previous visit, she had the opportunity to try the Sannas, Pothrade, Channa Sukka , Anchovy Chutney, Bombil fry and Bangda Puli Munchi which were all super. It was a takeout service so some pictures were available of those dishes.

A great place to dine and for all those special Mangalorean delicacies.

Ballimaran Dilli, Dubai UAE

Away from Dubai’s fancy and high end restaurants, you will find a few restaurants dishing out hardcore Indian and Pakistani foods like a Mutton Nihari, Bheja Masala, Payas amongst other spicy flavourful dishes.
We were recommended to try out Ballimaran Dilli specializing in Indian Lucknowi cuisine, in Dubai’s Karama area and which was pretty difficult to find at first. Its located on 6A street but better to call and take directions, is 04-3972224.

We were eager to try out the Sheermal and the Lucknowi Galouti Kebabs and that was the main reason for our trip. The waiter who attended on us was an old chap with pretty good experience of the stuff available and recommended we go for the Mutton Nihari and with it some Kulchas plus our choice, which was Sheermal topped with Galouti Kebabs and a Lucknowi Dumwala Mutton Biryani.

We were absolutely disappointed with the Sheermal Bread topped with the Galouti kebabs as the Sheermal was a very flat tasteless bread with a kind off rubbery texture without any flavour. The kebab was soft, smooth and mildly spiced but the texture was too soft and pasty for our liking.
However the star of the show was the Kulchas which was one of the best breads I have ever eaten. It had a golden brown crispy crusty top with buttery soft layers of goodness. The Nihari was excellent and nicely spiced and the kulchas were absolutely divine when dipped in the Nihari. 

This was the saving grace of our lunch outing as the Lucknowi Dum Biryani was disappointing as it lacked any flavour and as is the case, biryanis made in restaurants rarely qualify to make the list of recommendations.

We didn’t have space for anything more to experiment but I would definitely recommend the Kulchas and Nihari.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Freej Soweileh – Lamb/Mutton Machbous - Kuwaiti Comfort food

I've always been wanting to write about this dish for a long time but probably haven't had the best words to describe it. This is one of our favourite dishes from many years in Kuwait and here's my take on it.

I’m sure most of you in Kuwait have visited this restaurant, but if you haven’t, then this is a must do. Freej Soweileh is an authentic Kuwaiti restaurant serving Kuwaiti food in addition to other Arabic dishes. However the star dish of this restaurant is the Lahamb Machbous or Lamb/mutton Machbous. Kuwait's own amalgamation of rice and meat flavours combined.
Now this is what you would call comfort food. We prefer to get a mega serving of this dish in the comfort of our home, sit in our comfy clothes and gorge on this dish.
I haven’t had anything like this anywhere. The quality of meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. The long grains of rice slowly passing down your throat, giving you that satisfaction, that magic feeling, making you content. This dish has been cooked by someone who is an expert and has been conjured with some magical ingredients with a method that I have found that no one can replicate. Ofcourse if you have eaten this at Kuwaiti homes, only then you will find superior flavours. However, with no such options any more, Freej Soweileh is our only such source and a great one indeed. I had the priviliege of tasting this dish in my early years when I was employed with a Kuwaiti army man and who would have food coming everyday from his home. Partly one of the reasons for me being so chubby. I have tried many restaurants who tried to replicate this dish, but till date have not found any who could match the same taste. The flavour is so distinct that those who have tasted it will know how I feel. Every time we eat this dish, it has the same taste and consistency.

Other than the Lamb Machbous, they also serve Chicken machbous which for some reason can never match the taste of the Lamb flavours. The fish (Pomfret) Machbous is also pretty good but somehow the quality of the fish is not upto the mark simply because the fish used is frozen. Fresh Pomfrets cost a bomb and I doubt it will be feasible at the price they charge. However it is a very good dish. The machbous is served along with a dish of Dakous which is a tomato based gravy. This may be added to your rice which gives you that free flow down your throat..... Ummm yummmm.. I’m drooling. Also served are condiments like a roughly ground fresh green chilly in oil, a red chilli mix and a garlic and carrot pickle which is sour and delicious.

The other noteworthy dishes are the lamb Kebabs and the Kibbeh which are both stunning. However, we keep off the appetizers as we go only to enjoy the machbous. You can have some soup which is served in a bread bowl and some baba ghanouj which is served in a deep fried crisp dough dish.

I guess this dish may happen again on the weekend. You guys who haven’t tried must if you are in Kuwait.

A sweet desset called Luqaimat is also served along with arabic coffee

A short quick glimpse of the Kitchen

Thursday, July 23, 2015

German Doner Kebab, Salmiya, Kuwait

For those who want to try a different type of Shawerma in Kuwait should make a trip to German Doner kebab which is on Food street (Mataam Street) in Salmiya. No idea why it is called so but the street is lined with quite a few restaurants, mostly takeaways. This restaurant is also in Dubai and which has a seating area unlike the joint in Kuwait is only a takeaway.

Shawermas and Felafel sandwiches are a staple in Kuwait and a quick snack on the go whenever you are hungry. It can be had for breakfast lunch or dinner.

However the Doner Kebab is something different and full meal by itself and is priced equally high if you compare it to the simple Shawerma. Having said that, it is something you need to try out atleast once as the quality of the meat and the sandwich by itself is way superior than your normal Shawerma. It comes loaded with meat/chicken. However we prefer the veal/beef sandwich and always go in for a topping of extra meat.
The meat is grilled on the stick as in a normal Shawerma, however it’s a bloody huge stick. The meat once grilled is shaved with a shaver and not a knife as is usually the case in your regular Shawerma shops. This gives you the thinnest of tender meat slices, which is loaded onto the sandwich. The quality of meat is so good that although it is well grilled, the meat still melts in the mouth. The staff are very friendly and one of them even posed for pictures. This time we managed a video for those who would like to see how it’s done.

The sandwich is huge and is more than sufficient for a good eater for either lunch or dinner. We always share it as it gives the opportunity to try out a few more things. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Spice Goa, Thivim, Goa (just off NH17) - A very special Goan lunch

This place was recommended in 2014 by my cousin Louis and specifically to try out the Prawns Biryani at Spice Goa. However, when on a short holiday, it gets difficult to plan anything in advance and then you never make it. During  my last trip to Goa, in April 2015, and the rush to have a biryani, I headed out with another of my cousin, Sandy who is also a foodie and a couple of friends, on our Quest to find Spice Goa.

It was relatively easy to find the place which is on the right side of National Highway 17, if you are heading north and about 200 meters after the Thivim junction on NH17. You need to turn right and get on to a small lane leading to the restaurant. The restaurant can be seen easily if you are on NH11 so you can miss it if you keep looking towards your right. 

We were quickly seated on the upper air-conditioned floor and started of with a few Kingfishers which were chilled perfectly. Infact we had to look at one another to admire the chill of the beer at the first sip and had a good acknowledging smile about it.

Ok now to the main focus which is the food. We first asked if the biryani was available which was nodded pleasantly by the waiter who was going to serve us that afternoon. Very cheerful chap, prompt and well versed with the dishes. A pity we didn’t get his name. We told him to ensure that we get our fix of Prawns biryani after we done with our appetizers and beers and asked him to recommend his best dishes. We were told to try the Prawns Grilled in Banana Leaves and the Erliyo (silver fish) Koshimbir. We also asked him if he had Kalwaan curry (Xacuti) to which he said they don’t have the curry but they had it Rawa fried. We decided to go for it and also decided to try out their reichad masala so ordered some bangda reichard to see if they pass the test. 

We were first served the Prawns Grilled in Banana Leaves and the Erliyo (silver fish) Koshimbir. Both these dishes were fantastic and in my opinion the best two dishes we had there. The prawns were neatly wrapped in Banana leaf and the green masala stuffing was just perfect..not too spicy and just balanced the sweetness of the prawns. 

The Erliyo (silver fish) Koshimbir was something unique and although I have had Koshimbir before, this was different. The fish was fresh, of good size and fried just enough not to overdo the soft tasty flesh. The fish was tossed in a mixture of fried onions, garlic chillies and the works. I would definitely go back for this,

The deep fried mussels too were very good, juicy and crunchy at the same time and had a good buttery taste in it. There are few restaurants that can really do it well and Spice Goa was one of them.

The mackerels were nice and plump and the reichard was ok. Have had better. 

One of  our friends tried out the thali and loved it. The King fish too was fried well but we were too stuffed and our main event, the prawns biryani was on its way

Finally it was time for the Prawns Biryani and which didn’t disappoint. The prawns were quite large and cooked just right. The Biryani was awesome, not too spicy and with enough flavours to give you that twang in your tongue. This was an extremely good biryani and even after eating so much, the taste of the biryani stood out. The next time will focus on a fewer items so that the biryani can be given its due respect.

This restaurant was the highlight of our trip and will definitely make it once I'm back. I highly recommend that you try it out during your trip to Goa.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Amir Al Khaleej Aiysh Bukhary Restaurant, Kuwait

At the recommendation of a friend and a very enticing picture on facebook, I decided to check out this restaurant located at Khaitan, for Afghan food. The above picture was taken at the time of Dine-in/ 

As we had a very tiring day, the idea was to get the food home and relax and enjoy the meal. Got a bit confused finding the location as the name of the restaurant was in Arabic and we missed the spot. However to make it easy and for those who know Khaitan, its just the free right of the 50 before the stadium and about a 100 meters thereafter and before Abou Tareq Koshairy restaurant. Had a long chat with one of the waiters there and he explained that the Aiysh or the Rice is cooked in the stock of chicken or lamb in one pot and called Bukhary by the Afghans.

We ordered our takeaway which was a dish of Rice with Grilled Chicken and some kebabs to go with it. We ordered three portions, but the quantity was easily sufficient for 5. It was a massive dish. The rice was served half and half in two different flavours. One was a orange coloured rice and the other was white and both had its own distinctive flavours. The char grilled chicken gave an additional flavor to the rice and made it all the more delicious. It was served with a sauce mixture of raw garlic, chillies and tomatoes which the ladies of the house enjoyed. I however felt that an added gravy item would make it really fantastic. When I mentioned it to my friend who had recommended the restaurant, he recommended to try the Channa masala gravy which is a killer. So next time perhaps.

The Lamb Kebas in my opinion was OK but the ladies loved it. I will definitely recommend it as it is very cheap and tasty. However, for those of my friends who are looking for an alternative to the Machbous from Freej Soweileh, please don’t confuse yourself. There is no better place for Machbous than Freej Soweileh and you cant compare the two. It’s a different flavor altogether. So for those who would like to try Afghan food, then this probably is one of the few places where you can get good Afghan food. So if you make it, do let me know. Cheers