Some of the cuisines I thoroughly enjoyed when I was in Abu Dhabi were Pakistani and Arab. Arab cuisine refers to the various cuisines that spans across the Arab world. Some of the popular dishes which I tasted while in the U.A.E- the famous Levantine salad called Fattoush, the legendary Shawarma and Falafel which are served in wraps or sandwiches, the condiment Za’atar which tastes heavenly when simply sprinkled on Khubz (or Pita bread) and baked with a few drops of Olive oil. These are just a few of them but imagine the kind of food I was treated to at such a young age- forever love. If mom prepared a simple mutton curry there was no second thought about what would go hand-in-hand with that- Pakistani bread (or Roti) cooked in a tandoor.
It was after reaching Hyderabad, I was exposed to even more popular dishes from the vast Mediterranean cuisine- Mandi, Kabsa and Majboos. These are cuisines I can proudly say I have a very good understanding of, not to mention, an insatiable affinity to. Just the day before, Chef BB invited me for a culinary feast at Karama Restaurant- located at Fraser Town- a locality which was (until this year) famous for its street food culture during the holy month of Ramadan. The event was hosted by the prompt and courteous staff of the restaurant, supervised by Ruhhi Singh– CMO of Loyalty Hospitality (Hotel Empire).
Karama Restaurant is housed in a G+1 building with the ambiance of the lower floor being pretty casual but nothing can prepare your eyes for the captivating interior decor on the upper floor. The work on the walls are brilliant, the contemporary hanging lamps are so visually arresting and to rest your tush- choose between the comfy wooden chairs or the vast majlis sofa.
We were welcomed with Pineapple mint lime and a mixed fruit mocktail which sharpened our taste buds for a culinary delight. Along came an array of wonderful lip-smacking starters with a couple of soups. The Yakhni Shorbha (Kashmiri) and the Mutton Paya (Central Asian) was rich, hearty and warm- not to mention delicious. Among the salads, Fattoush was my favorite; a special call out for the quality of parsley used- crunchy and fresh. A decent array of starters were served- featuring the likes of Peshawari Kebab, Pepper Laham Roast and Murgh Pakiza Tikka (my favorties). Not a big fan of veg-section but thoroughly enjoyed the Cheese Hara Bhara Kebab- soft that it melts in your mouth. There was a lot food being served and I was finding it difficult to keep track of what I had.
I know for sure that among the gravy dishes served- the Paneer Malai Kofta and the Dal makhani were amazing among the vegetarian options. As for the non-vegetarian section, all the gravy dishes were cooked beautifully and tasted even better. The Tawa Bheja, Dabba Gosht, Tawa Murgh and the Murgh Methi were some of the dishes served. Dabba Gosht is undoubtedly one of the most unmatched and inimitable dishes in the Indian cuisine. The Tawa Bheja is more or less like the Bheja Fry but slightly more spicy and crispy since it is fried on the Tawa. Although the Murgh Methi was delicious, I found the gravy to be slightly bitter which is natural when you deal with Methi leaves.
Just so you know that the gravy dishes went well with the Garlic and Karachi Naan. The gravy dishes were followed by a wide range of rice dishes- Mandi Biriyani, Karachi Biriyani, Kabsa, Majboos, Karama Biriyani and Punjabi Chicken Biriyani. I liked the Karachi Biriyani as it resembled the Kerala Chicken Biriyani in taste wherein the caramelized onions form the base of the masala. The Kabsa, Majboos and the Mandi Biriyani not only resembled but also tasted similar to the their original preparation. For dessert, we were treated to some hot Jelebi and Doddi ka Halwa- the latter looked like Carrot Halwa but green and is made from Lauki.
That pretty much summed up our elaborate culinary feast that featured prominent dishes from Pakistani, Arabic, Punjabi and Kashmiri cuisines. Although the actual menu at Karama is vast and leaves you spoilt for choices, this was a menu specially curated for this event. Nonetheless, the dishes you see here in this blog post is available on the regular menu and I urge you to try them. The overall experience at Karama was a product of impeccable service, rich and delicious food. I would definitely come back here to try more of their vast menu.