Sneha May Francis is smitten by this delicious North Indian fare
Background scores of a film have a strange way of depicting the fate of the film, and in an almost peculiarly similar way, background music played at restaurants work as a prelude to the flavours served. And this is what worked in favour of Qureshis Kebab and Kurry. The host of nostalgic tracks played, all from yesteryear Hindi films, made our meal truly memorable. Though I would have preferred the hypnotic voices of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar over the instrumental version, but I am not entirely disappointed.
The striking reddish splendour at this tiny restaurant transforms you into a culinary world from North India. The elaborate menus explain how each dish is not overpoweringly spiced and cooked slowly to help retain each exquisite flavour. The glassed side walls are decorated in silhouettes of Indian village folk and the ceiling dressed with red crystal lanterns. A small stage, at one end, holds a tabla and other musical instruments underwraps, promising a ghazal extravaganza at dinner time. The lunch-goers, however, can enjoy the Hindi melodies on tape. The tables are neatly laid, in crisp white table linen. Each white crockery is bordered with tiny, red chillies, in a way warning us that some dishes can be fiery!
Our extremely courteous waiter, Monmohan, guided us through the menu, offering quick suggestions. As we waited for our order to be prepared, we savoured the crispy pappads served with an assortment of dips – minty yogurt, tangy spicy crushed chillies and mango pickle. The riot of flavours tickled our tastebuds and pacified our growling tummies before the main course arrived.
A few Hindi songs later, Monmohan arrived with the starters. Jhinga Dum Nisha, delicately tandoor cooked jumbo prawns in a thick marinade of cheese and hung yogurt. Each bite into the soft, fleshy prawns was a revelation. The Peshwari Murgh Kebab, boneless chicken chunks chargrilled in a spicy marinade, was simply scrumptious. After the first round of serving, the dishes were placed on tiny grills to keep them hot.
For the main course, we chose the chef’s special Dhaba Murgh and Khumb Harapyaz. The cubed chicken in a rich thick gravy tingled our tastebuds, while mushroom and spring onion dish, cooked in tomato gravy, turned out to be a tad too spicy. Our intuitive waiter sensed our inability to tackle spicy food and placed a bowl of plain yogurt even before he served the main dishes! For bread we chose he soft, yet slightly flaky butter naan, which came with a lavish spread of salty butter. Tasty!
It’s almost like tradition that we end every spicy meal with a sugary sweet dish. The famous Indian sweet dish, gulab jamoon, did the trick for us. The syrupy delicacy was the best we’ve ever tasted. The syrup was not overpoweringly sweet, the jamoon unbelievably soft, instantly melting and soothing our tastebuds.
We stayed on, for a few more minutes after the meal, to savour the riot of flavours lingering in our mouth and the melodious Hindi film songs playing in the background. We left completely content, not before promising ourselves another visit to a night of dreamy ghazals.
Bill for 2
Peshwari Murgh Kebab Dh46
Jhinga Dum Nish Dh75
Khumb Harapyaz Dh35
Dhaba Murgh Dh46
Shahad E Jaam Dh 22
Total Dh 248
Qureshi’s Kebab & Kurry
Country Club Hotel
04 398 8840
Published in e+, Gulf News, Dubai on February 5 issue