The North West frontier cuisine is brought to Bangalore by Royal Afghan, a lovely poolside barbeque restaurant in ITC Windsor. The restaurant opened up in 1982, primarily served dinner, and recently opened up for lunch over the weekends. PR Manager Shruti and Executive Chef Akshraj Jodha invited us over for a meal, and hosted us. The menu at this restaurant remains unchanged after all this time, and the entrance to the restaurant hangs a proud large wooden board boasting the menu. Even hand out menus are carved in wood, indicating both the menu and the dishes undoubtedly are designed to stand the test of time.
We sat down at the beautiful alfresco restaurant and were given these cute bibs to put on. Yes, it was getting serious! The highlights were Barrah Kabab and Tandoori Jhinga in appetizers, and Sikandari Raan and Dal Bukhara in the mains. The meat was beautifully done, whole leg of spring lamb and slow cooked. The dal was just splendid, simmered overnight on slow charcoal fire and finished with cream. There was also the creamy Murgh malai kebab, and the legendary naan bukhara – both of which are must try.
Royal Afghan has a vegetarian and non-vegetarian menu with tandoor dishes. Two aspects of the restaurant: 1. The restaurant recommends the food to be enjoyed with hands, and not cutlery. 2. The menu has no rice dishes – but has various kinds of rotis and naans. The traditional culinary style of these rugged North West Frontier Pathan tribesmen used clay ovens or tandoors are the preferred mode for cooking – and the ambience is reminiscent of the rustic charm.
And while the meal is going to be really heavy, the dessert is both worth the wait and the crave. The Phirnee is flavoured with cardamom. Then generously garnished with pistachios. And the rich and creamy Kulfi is the perfect ending to a meal as royal as this.
The Last Word
The restaurant has won countless awards and has been known for its consistency over the years. It takes chef years of meticulous training and dedication to master the cooking technique. Most vital of all, to judge the heat of the tandoor and the time necessary for each dish to be perfectly cooked. The restaurant’s culinary élan lies in its unwavering dedication to its unique Northwest Frontier style of cuisine, stellar ambience and intuitive service. The restaurant operates only for dinner during weekdays, and lunch and dinner for weekends. A meal for two costs about ₹6,000.