After a 3-year hiatus, InterContinental’s heritage restaurant Kebab Korner welcomes visitors back with recipes that stood the trials of time, indulging taste buds royalty style!
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: December 19, 2022
LF Says: ★★★★
Dining like royals is an experience. Delectable recipes that have travelled down generations with their signature aromatics and flavours diligently prepared by trained ustaads define a scrumptious culinary affair that everyone must try at least once. Serving such mouthwatering delicacies since 1960 is Kebab Korner, the heritage restaurant at The InterContinental, Marine Drive, a 59-bedroom luxury boutique hotel located strategically in the heart of Mumbai’s Art Deco district, on the city’s most spectacular sea-front promenade called the Queen’s necklace.
After a three-year-long gap, the restaurant is here to welcome its patrons to exemplary dishes, some with a twist while others are holding to their blueprints. "In its latest avatar, my team and I have worked with the chefs to present an all-new selection of food and a list of signature cocktails we have designed specially to complement the spice and flavour profiles of the new dishes. It's a privilege for us here to be able to reopen Kebab Korner and proudly be torchbearers of this Legacy,” said Kushkant Tripathi, Director of Food and Beverage at the hotel.
The restaurant's interiors are entirely refurbished, with classic cream walls decorated with mirrors. The centre ceiling piece is a collection of upturned brass pots and utensils, giving a rustic touch. The full-length windows with arches with white curtains add ideally to the aesthetic. With a live ghazal singer and musicians, it is difficult not to feel like sitting in a royal dining room. I was comfortable at a table near the windows overlooking the beautiful Marine Drive promenade.
At Kebab Korner, history meets gastronomy, with no written recipes or measure of ingredients. The restaurant has been home to recipes that have travelled from the old chefs of Old Delhi, who passed down these recipes, techniques and secrets from father to son - like a prized family heirloom. The restaurant aims to carry on that tradition by using dishes and recipes and staying true to cooking techniques. Renowned for marinating the meat for at least 12 hours, I had high expectations, and indeed they delivered!
"The new menu is a mix of time-honoured stand-out dishes like our Lamb Seekh Kebab and our Signature Dal Makhani, which KK has always been known for, and a selection of what I'd like to call the contemporary classics, including new versions of the Lamb Burrah, a rich Tandoori Broccoli Mussalam and even a stunning Lehsooni Burrata Palak. This menu has adequate variety for our vegetarian and non-vegetarian patrons. The team and I are looking forward to feeding the discerning Mumbaikars again,” explains Chef Shhrey Puri, Executive Sous Chef.
I started my culinary journey with the Chatpata Tamatar ka shorba and Yakhani shorba. These soups had that perfect consistency and spice level to prepare the taste buds for what was to come next. The Yakhani shorba, mainly, was a beauty in a bowl with the essence of the lamb marrow deeply seeped. I was also served with a Masala Papad Platter with three different chutneys or dips – the Dahi ki chutney, beetroot dip, and mint and coriander dip. The yoghurt dip is another secret gem from Kebab Korner that uses 36 different spices and has remained unchanged for the last six decades - tastes heavenly! While all I wanted to do was devour and relish the chutney, I had to move on to other dishes.
Yakhni Shorba at Kebab Korner.
What came in next was something I was extremely excited about, aptly included in its name - the delirious kebabs. As they were coming in like luggage on a conveyor belt, I learnt the history of the restaurant and its culinary ethos of using only fresh produce and its no-freeze policy. The Chef sources the freshest seafood and meats for all the kebabs and grills served. At Kebab Korner, only one rule is followed - every dish is prepared like it's the only one!
“As Kebab Korner is a legendary restaurant that prides itself on using age-old recipes and staying true to cooking techniques, as has been the tradition passed down through generations, we continue to carry on that tradition by using dishes and recipes created since the restaurant's inception in 1960,” explained Mr. Tripathi. I started with the classic Murg Afghani Tikka where the chicken was perfectly cooked with the spices peeking through each bite. Next was the Firangi Murgh Tikka, and if you like spicy food, you are in for a treat. However, the restaurant's speciality, the Gilawati Kebabs, is worthy of transporting you to Lucknow's lanes; the meat melts in your mouth, and a festival of flavours follows. Multani Paneer Tikka and Rajma ki Gilawat will certainly appeal to the plant-eater.
The Non-Veg Kebab Platter at Kebab Korner.
The Indian culture is deeply rooted in the Gharana system. Biryani as a dish is so versatile and adaptable. With different regions, preparations, and cooking styles, Biryani can transform in many ways. From the Hyderabadi biryanis to the Yakni pulav of Bhopal to the Lucknowi Biryanis, every biryani holds a special place in our hearts. Kebab Korner, too, has a legacy of signature biryanis created by “ustaads", culinary geniuses of the royal kitchens.
We tried the signature Dum wali Raan Biryani, which has a peculiar plating style. All biryanis come served with the traditional ‘purdah', which seals the flavours and aromas in. The server topples the bowl upside down, taps at the base, and then delicately yet swiftly removes the bowl to serve the perfect hill of Biryani. The biryani was flavourful and rich in texture, and I can see myself returning to enjoy it again.
Dum wali Rann Biryani at Kebab Korner.
The sweetest epilogue of this culinary ride was a plate of modern desserts with a traditional twist. The platter consisted of Motichoor Rabdi Parfait, Coconut Falooda Panacotta, Phirni Brûlée and Kesari Shrikhand. I absolutely loved the Motichoor Rabdi Parfait, the Phirni Brûlée coming a close second.
So, what can you expect? A feast - of taste and texture, of aroma and the magical blend of the most potent spices in the most delicate manner to create one enchanting celebration!
Motichoor Rabdi Parfait at Kebab Korner.
LF Says: ★★★★Coordinates: 135 Marine Drive, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India