Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Imperial Kitchen – The Arabic Combo

Got a chance to visit the Imperial Kitchen restaurant as I ended up nearby for shopping… As an independent blogger with near to zero resources, it is always a challenge to write about the food here simply because for reasons that I cannot fathom, it is not a photography friendly environment, unless ofcourse you are into flash photography which I am not… πŸ™‚ This is because the restaurant’s dining hall has minimal lighting and so its really impossible to get clear images of the food inside πŸ™‚ Whats included here are the result of me enhancing them a bit and you can easily see the clarity issue when you zoom in a bit πŸ™‚ I did wonder once that whether the lighting is set deliberately by the owner so that customers don’t get to see the problems in the food that they are being served… But considering the fact that they don’t taste so bad, I can safely conclude that its not so πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

Anyways, as I was sat down this time, the waiter informed me that they have started doing combo meal options… There are 5 of them covering Indian and some of the international cuisines… I guess he detected that I was a bit confused on which to choose and he suggested that I try the Arabic Combo this time…

The Arabic Combo as the menu states, consists of a portion each of Sumac Rice served with Mutton Saloona, Veg Pathakar, an assortment of Chicken Kebabs, Hummus and Fathoush Salad… The one I got had Sumac Rice, the Mutton Saloona, a piece each of 4 kinds of Chicken Kebabs which were as informed by the ever so friendly waiter to be Pesto, Lari Thoom, Tahini Spicy Kebab and what they call as the Dajaj Zakhath, along with a piece of their Fish Kebab, Hummus, Fathoush Salad and two of what looked like mini Lebanese Pizzas which are essentially Pita Bread with sauce and toppings… All of these were served as shown in the pic, on a single plate… I showed the pic to one of my friends before writing this post and the immediate response was that it looks incredibly heavy… So, let me clarify that it is not so and the plate you see here in the pic is a regular sized plate that you get in most restaurants and the portion sizes are just enough that a single regular person, in my opinion can actually eat two of these combo meals as a meal… But for people like me who can’t eat that much, the quantity here is just right to be satisfied πŸ™‚

First of all, I am somebody who doesn’t eat any other meat than Chicken and so when informed about the presence of a Mutton dish called Mutton Saloona, I was a bit skeptical… But turns out I could eat it without any problems and I did indeed like the taste of the same… The Saloona is essentially a middle eastern stew recipe made with onions, tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, zuccini, parseley and an assortment of spices… Flavour-wise, it does have resemblance to the masala used in North Indian cuisine and so almost like a version of the garam masala has been used in it, but clearly cooked in olive oil with the smell of garlic dominating… The mutton was in the form of mince meat balls that were cooked perfectly…

The rice was incredibly flavourful with the sumac powder clearly visible, but taste-wise, I got reminded of the rice we get when we get a Kabsa… Thats essentially how it tasted and the Fathoush Salad felt to be made up of freshly cut vegetables that were seasoned so perfectly… The Hummus tasted exactly like the hummus I had from the Lebanese Rolls place in Mumbai… So, incredible flavour of chick pea and olive oil…

Now coming to the kebabs, like I said there were 4 kinds of Chicken kebabs and a Fish Kebab… The fish kebab felt like the classic Indian fish tikka… Fish was cooked perfectly with a very flavourful tikka masala marinade that was spicy but only at medium level… This is the red one to left of the Hummus in the pic… The Chicken ones were as the waiter informed me:Β Pesto, Lari Thoom, Tahini Spicy Kebab and what they call as the Dajaj Zakhath, in the anticlockwise order on the plate… The Pesto had a good flavour of basil in it… The Lari Thoom clearly had saffron in it… The Tahini one felt a bit on the spicy side and then finally the Dajaj Zakhath had the flavour of coriander dominating it… I could tell that all of them were marinated in a yogurt base because of how they tasted and how tender the Chicken pieces were… The meat was indeed cooked perfectly and the rest of the spices in all of them seemed similar, as in the classic Arabic spice mix…

Finally, I am not sure if what they mentioned in menu as the Pathakar is indeed those two pita breads with toppings that were given cause food is apparently the last thing googling the word Pathakar would ever result in… What it was is infact a round thin piece of Pita Bread with a tomato based sauce and some vegetables (carrots, onions, etc) and some cheese… The thing is that it tasted exactly like a pizza with the sauce tasting exactly like the italian tomato sauce (Pomodoro) thats used in a pizza… Hence, I guess this is an attempt at making a mini Lebanese Pizza…

So, it was indeed a pleasant experience to try the Arabic Combo… They informed me that its only available in the weekdays and unfortunately not during the weekends… Among the other combo options, there is an Italian Combo and a Chinese Combo which has peaked my interest and so am hoping to be able to go back there and try them very soon…

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