Summary: A delightful joint serving Arabian, Persian and Bhatkali cuisine. Food, decor and service are quite good, and the prices are reasonable. The place was a bit deserted during our visit; hope that was an off night, since I would love to go there again and try the other dishes at this place.
My first Friday evening out in the city saw me and my friends auto it up to Frazer town to try out this Middle Eastern restaurant. The joint is located opposite the mosque on MM road, on the first floor. One sees a big sign for the restaurant from the street, but the entrance at street level is dark and dingy. We were lucky to be helped by a gentleman who seemed to recognize our confused demeanor and guaranteed us that the alley we were supposed to take didnt lead to an objectionable place.
The decor of the place is quite appropriate with the cuisine: most of the seating is along the walls with a divan on one side and a couple of cushioned stools on the other, the lighting is mellow, and if the Champions league twenty-twenty had been replaced by some Bedouin instrumentals it wouldve been quite perfect. We entered the place at 7:30pm, quite early given normal dinner times and unsurprisingly we were the only ones there. What was surprising (given the food that was to arrive) was we were the only ones when we left the place a couple of hours later.
As we got seated, the server offered us two wooden boxes. Unlocking them we found stitched to the inner edge around ten sheets of cloths containing the menu printed on it. The first page consisted of a history of the Navayath people; I wish I read that, but there were other more pressing alimentary concerns which needed to be addressed. We started off with the baba ghanoush with pita bread, and the shish khudar, skewered vegetables and paneer roasted over charcoal. The baba ghanoush was pretty decent with the nice musty smell of burnt brinjals still hovering over it, and the vegetables and paneer were pretty fresh as well. We then ordered the Al Faham Dajaj, which is barbecued chicken with Arabian spices, and Khudar Mushakkal, which was a gravy of mixed vegetables simmered with Arabian herbs. The chicken was a bit on the blander side, and it wouldve been nice if it were served with a tangy dip of some sort. The gravy was a much tastier dish, and it complemented the blandness of the chicken. Following these we got the vegetable biryani, and a chicken dish whose name escapes me -- a good description of it would be Arabian tandoori chicken. It comes in two sizes, half and full, and the whole bird is roasted after being coated with a middle eastern marinade. This was a much more livelier chicken dish and was served with an aioli for extra zing. I didnt try the biryani much, although others in the table really liked it. Personally, I found it too be closer to a pulao then a dum biryani.
Since we all were pretty satiated at the end of the above proceedings, we decided to end our repast with Moroccan pot tea instead of a dessert. This is highly recommended. The server brought out a pot with four cutting sized glasses and we helped ourselves with the honey colored tea that came out of it. It was super refreshing, and was probably green tea prepared with mint and honey (or maybe sugar). We all helped ourselves to around three glasses, before we called it a night. The final bill came to around R350, which I think is very reasonable for the exoticness of the cuisine and the quality of the food. It was a bit sad to see the restaurant so empty when we left; I just hope they were having an off day. Or maybe its just that Frazer town isnt too keen on Middle Eastern food.