A full course home-cooked meal with kebabs to go is what Kebab Khazana offers
Peacock, the Indian restaurant in Le Meridian glows iridescently with its shiny copper cutlery, peacock-blue curtains and candles. The Kebab Khazana fest is in full swing. Says Velu Thirumalai, Executive Chef, Le Meridien, “Our restaurant aims to promote the different flavours of India. We want to introduce Coimbatoreans to one flavour every month. Kebab Khazana is just the first of many.” Thirumalai points out that many people are unaware that kebabs originated from Afghanistan. “As recipes passed from one place to another, the authentic flavours began to get diluted. Now, we mostly get to see only Indian versions of the kebabs.” The festival is an attempt at resurrecting the genuine Afghani taste. “People tend to believe that kebabs are usually meant only for non-vegetarians,” says Thirumalai. He adds, “To prove them wrong, we have more vegetarian kebabs than non-vegetarian ones.”
A complete meal
Ismail Khan, Indian chef, Peacock, tells us what they have in store for us for the day. “Like any full-course meal, we offer a welcome drink, a shorba, kebabs, rotis with dal and a sweet dish in Kebab Khazana too.” On this note, a waiter clad in peach-coloured kurta brings in shot glasses of jigarthanda and mango pulp (flavoured with saffron). With every sip of the jigarthanda, one gets a mouthful of sabza seeds. Cool and refreshing, this is a promising start.
Deep-brown sabudana vadas arrive next. They are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside which went well with the hot tomato shorba served in a saucepan-like bowl.
After teasing our palate with the appetizers and the soup, the chef brings forth the much awaited kebabs. There is methi paneer seikh (so soft that it crumbles, at the touch of the fork), balls of tandoori badami aloo, nawabi khumb and tandoori babycorn. Sukha adraki (chicken) follows suit. The kebabs are tender and cooked to perfection. It wouldn't be fair to not make a mention of the chutneys served in tiny, shiny, copper bowls. Onion-tomato thokku, mint chutney and our favourite – ginger-tomato chutney prove to be the perfect sidekicks to the kebabs.
It's time for the main course. Steaming hot dals, with dollops of butter floating on the surface, are served along with rotis, naans and kulchas. The chef mentions something about the food reminding one of home. The dal-rotis reminded us of ours.
The chef informs us that the menu for the festival will change once in three days in order to avoid repetition. You can expect an assortment of vegetarian kebabs like phaldari, paneer dhaniya, tandoori kashmiri seikh, trio pepper seikh, chole aur pyaazke and non-vegetarian ones like murgh sharmili, sofiyani murgh, machli pudina tikka and tandoori anari lambchop.
Our evening ends with yellow fruit halwa served with pomegranate seeds and scooped out pieces of musk melon, papaya and water melon. This milky dessert, served in bowls shaped like Aladdin's lamps, is a fitting finale to the meal. We understand why the chef keeps the recipe a secret.
The vegetarian platter is priced at Rs. 850, while the non-vegetarian one is priced at Rs. 1000. Kebab Khazana is on at Peacock, Le Meridien Coimbatore, Avanashi Road, from 7 p.m.-10.30 p.m., till July 17. For reservation, call: 0422-2364343.