Kebab under the stars!
Kebab Court, on ECR, offers a whole new experience
PHOTO: N. SRIDHARAN
GRILLED DELIGHTS At the Kebab Court on the ECR
Suddenly, everyone's heading down the East Coast Road for dinner.
You'd think there's a famine in Chennai: a frightening shortage of papads and kebabs, baked fish and calamari, French fries and tomato sauce. Or maybe it's just the weather. Being smacked on your face with air that feels like a damp towel (and not a very well laundered one at that) every time you step out doesn't really do much for your appetite.
On the East Coast Road, however, you can actually breathe again. The weekends see a mass exodus from the city, as people grab their spouses, children and poodles to take them for a `drive and dinner' one of the city's most popular forms of entertainment.
Which probably explains why Kebab Court's proprietors decided to set up their restaurant on the ECR. The restaurant, cleverly situated opposite the Prarthana Drive In Theatre ("We get the movie crowd... they finish watching the show and then need to eat somewhere), makes the most of its sea breeze-accessible location. There are three levels: a courtyard and a terrace for all the let's-enjoy-the-breeze types and an air-conditioned indoor restaurant for the party poopers.
We chose the courtyard. And not a minute too soon. Because even as we're being seated, the crowds begin to pour in: loud, rambunctious families, a group of students, couples (probably lured by the starry sky and prospect of romantically sharing a kebab), gangs of giggly friends.
And this was on a weeknight.
Dinner began with kebabs of course. Watch out for that sea breeze by the way: it gives you quite an appetite. We ploughed through firm squares of paneer chandini tikka and luscious mushroom tikkas topped with sharp, squishy blobs of cheese and crunchy capsicum. They were followed by an almost-impossibly smooth mutton galavati kebab, flavoured with an array of spices, and a more traditional chicken shammi kebab.
And those were just the starters.
The main course included a paneer paratha, which, unfortunately looked like it had just finished a long, desperate swim in an oil slick, and a fragrant and beautifully cooked gosht nawabi biriyani. They came with a dark mutton curry, thick and spicy.
The bottom line? The food's good - but if you're setting out on a kebab pilgrimage, you're in for a long and grumpy drive home. This is a place to head to for the whole experience: a long, leisurely dinner under the stars, company and conversation. So don't just take the poodle.
The Kebab Court is open for lunch and dinner. A meal for two costs about Rs. 400. Call 55243399 for reservations.
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