Dubai: Kabab. The very mention of the word fills the mouth with water. Simply put, a kabab is any grilled meat dish, which is eaten either with rice or bread, or just on its own with a few dips. From Morocco to India, and from Turkey to Yemen, each region offers its own delicious versions and varieties of this delicacy. The kabab is a Middle Eastern invention, which travelled to South Asia with the Turkic invasions, and achieved perfection during the days of the Mughal Empire. For the purposes of this article, we shall restrict ourselves to the well-liked Indian version of the dish. These are some of my favourites:
1. Lucknawi kabab at Al Afadil
This dilapidated, badly-lit joint near Al Wahda is legendary for 3 things: It’s killer Lucknawi kabab; perhaps the world’s best lassi; and parathas. The thin, flat, pasty-at-bottom-crunchy-at-top kababs are served with onions and tamarind chutney (also made at the restaurant). And you have no option but to wash it all down with Mountain Dew, as this must perhaps be the only restaurant in the country that only stocks Mountain Dew, and no other carbonated drinks.
Phone: 06 533 5351
2. Sheekh kabab at Gazebo
This slightly up-market restaurant is seen as being one of the best for Mughalai food, and with good reason. Their butter chicken is great, and their dum biryani is good. But their sheekh kabab is epic. On the spicier side, the restaurant serves this dish with mint and coriander chutney, and onions and cucumber. It makes for a great starters, before you tuck into the heavyweight dishes.
Phone: 04 359 8555
3. Kali mirch ka kabab at Delhi Darbar
Do not miss their mix grill platter. It includes all their speciality kababs, the best among which are the kali mirch (pepper) kabab and the mutton bihari kabab. And oh, they make some wicked seafood kababs too, especially the prawn kabab.
Phone: 04 235 6161
4. Pathar Ka Gosht at Biryaniwalla & Co.
This is perhaps Dubai’s best Hyderabadi restaurant. (I’ve often wondered why there are not more good Hyderabadi joints in Dubai, as there are in other Gulf cities, like Riyadh). There are a ton of kababs to choose from, but the absolute best is the pathar ka ghost (pathar = stone; ghost = mutton; the dish is literally cooked on stone). It’s best eaten with mint chutney and cucumbers, with some soda to wash it down the gullet!
Phone: 600 547297
5. Shami Kabab at Bombay Tawa N Kebab Restaurant
The one thing you feel after eating at this joint is the food tastes like home. And it is delicious to boot. The restaurant is run by a couple, adding to the homely atmosphere. It is a small and unassuming place but the quality of the food is very high. By far the best kabab to sample here is the shami kabab.
Phone: 04 353 4333