What’s a Mogambo roll ?

Fanoos of Bengaluru comes to Kochi with its trademark kebab rolls

Living in a city which swears by its shawarma, one approaches the chicken sheekh roll at Fanoos warily. Wrapped in butter paper, outwardly it resembles the Arabian roll. But with subtly spiced chicken sheekh and crunchy slivers of onion neatly encased in a rumali roti, it is a burst of flavour very different from a shawarma’s blandness. And thankfully, this isn’t blanketed in mayonnaise!

Hotel Fanoos, opened in 1975 by the late Ajaz Husain, began as a kebab kiosk in Bengaluru and a loyal following for its kebab rolls. Over the years it found a place in the hearts of Malayalis too, whether they lived in Bengaluru, or ate at one of the outlets when they travelled there.

So, right from when this 16-seater restaurant opened its first Kerala outpost on Kaloor-Kadvanthra road, it has been packed. Dominic Tharakan, who runs the franchise, says “I try to squeeze in a trip to Fanoos each time I am in Bengaluru,” explaining why he chose this chain for Kochi.

A planter (rubber), who went to college in Bengaluru, Dominic decided to get into the restaurant business as diversification. Fanoos, he says, was a good choice since the food is different from what is available in the city.

The restaurant’s no fuss interiors are done in brown and white, and the small space cleverly manipulated so that it does not feel congested. The cooks/kitchen staff were trained in making the rolls at Bengaluru for two weeks before the launch to ensure that they got the flavours right.

Seekh kebab is made of ground meat, flavoured with spices and then barbecued, and it goes into almost everything at Fanoos. One of Dominic’s concerns was the quality of meat. “Getting the right meat is everything, it has to be sourced carefully. Especially since the menu is meat-based,” he says. So he brought a butcher from Bengaluru to whet the meat and help choose a vendor, especially for beef rather. After a four-five day recce they found two places, in Kaloor and Thoppumpady.

The menu is the same as Bengaluru Fanoos’, even the spice mix (masala) is brought from there. Kebabs and rotis are made in house. The rolls, interestingly come in six ‘sizes’ — regular, Jumbo, Mumbo, Rambo, Sambo and Mogambo — depending on the number of kebabs packed inside. The names were also picked by Ajaz, except Mogambo, which his sons chose. The popular rolls here are beef sheekh, beef Irani and chilli chicken roll.

While regular has a single seekh kebab, Mogambo, the largest, has six. The most popular size is Jumbo, Dominic says. “With two kebabs, the meat-rumali roti ratio is just right. With these the carbohydrate-meat ratio tends to be work with the health conscious.” The rolls are priced between ₹ 70 and ₹345.

What’s a Mogambo roll ?

For those looking to eat a meal of rice for lunch, Dominic has added three rice-based combinations — tomato rice-chicken curry, ghee rice-Koduva chicken curry and mutton kheema biriyani. “All sourced from recipes of friends and family.” The Koduva chicken curry is his mother-in-law’s. With tangy tamarind and mango chutney, as the dish is served in Koduva households. The curry is simple, so is the combination. The mutton kheema biryani is a tangy affair, perhaps from the tomatoes. Unlike regular biriyani, the mutton used is mince not pieces, The mutton to rice ratio is 1:1, which makes it meaty.

Desserts are home made, by Dominic’s mother, and include chocolate cake and coconut burfi. The drinks on the menu are black tea (cardamom, ginger and lime), hibiscus juice and virgin Mojito, a must try.

The restaurant opens at 12.30 pm and closes at 12 am.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:13:00 AM |

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