Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Jeremy
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Is there anything better than home-cooked family recipes from around the world? We can think of no greater joy than finding an international restaurant in the city with homemade dishes using traditional recipes.
As far as Pakistani and northern Indian cuisine is concerned, you'll get just that at Kabab & Curry on Banksville Road. And apart from feasting on their massive menu, you'll do well to talk to the owners here to get to know a bit of their family history as well!
But before diving into the food, we have one word of warning here- the menu is massive. You're going to need several visits to this one to try it all.
Note: I visited Kabab & Curry as a guest of the restaurant with a few fellow food bloggers/Instagrammers in the city. As part of this, we were able to taste our way around a good cross-section of the menu with far more dishes sampled than in our normal restaurant outings. As such, this one is oriented a little differently than our traditional reviews as we have about three or four meals' worth of food to discuss here.
Northern Indian and Pakistani Cuisine Abound
One of the first things you'll notice about the menu at Kabab & Curry is that it is large. Think over 50 items that run the spectrum from traditional appetizers like samosas to tandoori platters, Pakistani specials, vegetarian and meat-based curries, biryani, and even Indian pizzas. As such, you'll do well to go into this one knowing that you will only be able to taste a small cross-section of the menu and may need two or even three return visits to do this one justice. Well, unless you go with a bunch of friends and order a feast, which is exactly what I did.
On the appetizer front, we were able to sample the samosa chat as well as the aloo tikki.
The samosa chat was a combo dish that topped chana chat (chickpeas) with cut-up vegetable samosas and a yogurt sauce. Think all of the great things about an herb-rich chana chat but with a textural pop from the fried samosas for a crunch. As we normally order these two appetizers as our standards at Indian restaurants, it was quite inventive to see the two together on one plate like this.
Aloo tikki on the other hand was new to me and were potato fritters with herbs and spices. The exterior texture here wasn't as crispy as the samosas, but the modest fry made for a nice contrast with the lighter potato on the inside all the same.
From there, we moved on to some of the main entrees with dishes like lamb korma, chicken jalfrezi, goat biryani, and chicken chili masala- all with sides of crispy garlic bread for good measure. This is where it really pays to visit with a group as you can order a nice spread of these dishes and easily share them with the table for a larger feast.
The goat biryani and chicken jalfrezi were the winners of this round. For the biryani, it was all about the texture. Moderately sized pieces of goat are slow-cooked with rice for six hours to produce a melt-in-your-mouth texture in what we'd otherwise expect to be a fairly tough piece of meat (I've eaten enough chewy goat for one lifetime, so the texture was a great surprise).
The chicken jalfrezi was a surprising dish in that it was not so much a rich curry but instead was cooked with fresh tomatoes, onions, and a mix of peppers. If you were looking for something that is bright and vibrant as opposed to rich and hearty, this is the one to get. It was also a good dish to bounce back to as a bit of a palate cleanser between dishes thanks to its high acidity too.
On the beverage front, we rounded out our meal with a mango lassi which was thick, intensely mango-forward, and topped with a small grating of pistachio for a subtle richness as well. All the best things for mango lassi and my only regret was that I was too full to go for a second one.
Indian Pizzas at Kabab & Curry are a Treat
Since the crew I was with had an eating problem (I mean, we are food writers), we finished our meal with a couple of Indian pizzas from the restaurant's robust pizza menu.
Kabab & Curry offers ten pizzas topped with different kinds of curries like you would expect from main dishes (think chicken chili, chicken tikka, vindaloo, and more). But they go further in offering these pizzas with your choice of masala sauce or regular tomato sauce as well to make for even more combinations to consider- the latter being highly popular with kids, we're told.
We ended up having the paneer tikka and chicken chili masala pizzas and absolutely loved the concentration of the toppings on this one and the undertones of the masala curry really brought it all together. While the crust lacked the kind of crispiness I generally prefer on pizzas, it is hard to argue with Indian ingredients on a pie and it is something I'm becoming hooked on the more and more I eat it.
Why choose between pizza and Indian when you can simply have both?
Before ending this one, it is worth re-iterating that Kabab & Curry features a traditional menu in every sense of the word. One aspect of this that is worth highlighting is that curries in India are often thickened with cashews. This is indeed the case here, including the masala sauce on the pizza, but is not noted very well on the menu at the time of my visit. As such, anyone with a tree nut allergy should be aware that many dishes here likely contain nuts (thankfully, Angie did not join me on this one due to her allergy concerns).
Overall, I was quite impressed with the flavors of the dishes sampled at Kabab & Curry as well as the sheer breadth of the menu. Despite having three or four meals' worth of food in this outing, I felt like I only just got a taste of the menu and look forward to returning for more dishes (especially the Pakistani specialties) and for the buffet when it is offered. That is truly the best way to work your way around a large menu such as this one!
Kabab & Curry is located at 2890 Banksville Road. I was a guest of the restaurant for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.