Smooth tandoor and buttery grills steal the show at the Kebab Festival at Kareem's, Kolkata
We don't need an excuse to indulge in some top-tier kebabs, but Park Street fine diner Kareem’s is giving us a really good one. The restaurant is hosting a Kebab Festival till Mahalaya, and it’s absolutely unmissable. Kolkata usually never has a dearth of kebab fests in monsoons, but amid the new regulations, very few city eateries are going all the way with a specialised menu featuring authentic grills.
We chose to have some kebabs delivered and found the packaging to be impeccably safe and hygienic. The Kebab Festival at Kareem’s boasts of a curation of unusual flavours and a generous mix of skewered, spice roasted and deep grilled kebabs. There are ten kebabs on the menu and while all the numbers have a strong focus on nuances of homegrown cookery, the menu also features some rather elaborate grills that are not easily available in the city.
Kareem’s is open for dine-in and take-aways and is also delivering across the city, and is adhering to all hygiene guidelines. The menu for the kebab festival is really balanced and has something for everyone with four vegetarian and six non-vegetarian kebabs. We were really impressed with the veggie kebabs, especially, since they can be quite tricky to grill and need more precision. The vegetarian kebabs on offer at Kareem’s Kebab Festival are actually quite classic and elaborate, like the Bharwan Stuffed Aloo; this appetiser may be a staple in most kebab fests, but each kitchen makes it differently.
Kareem’s offering is a well marinated, charcoal-cooked stuffed potato dish with just the right fixings, and a glazed sesame finish. But the biggest show stealer from the vegetarian menu was definitely Paneer Peeli Mirch Tikka which featured succulent, evenly-cut cubes of paneer prepared with an impossibly even consistency, and a really generous spice profile.
The Murgh Nawabi Tikka is a rich, delectable grilled appetiser, with perfect brown edges; the layered, garlicky finish of the kebab fits in perfectly with the creamy profile, and doesn’t make your taste buds work too hard. The Murgh Makhmali kebab is a slow cooked marvel, featuring smooth grilled chunks of chicken stuffed with deliciously spiced minced meat, pepper and cheese; it was just the right kind of chewy, subtly tangy, and was unusually breathy considering it was a pan-grilled specialty.
The Murgh Makrana Kebab features perfectly skewered drumstick/tangri pieces infused with a gorgeous blend of aromatic spices; the dish had a familiar desi relish since it was prepared in slow Tandoor, and the marination was perfect. The Butter Garlic Prawn Tikka is easily one of the best things on the menu, the prawns manage to retain their tenderness, which is really impressive considering it’s a well-seared number; the appetiser is luscious, easy on the seasoning, and very binge-worthy. The menu also features a rather elaborate Gosht Peeli Mirch Barra Chaap and Beckti Jalandari.