What a pleasure! this is a common emotion denoted by a happy foodie after trying a new place.
And lucky are the ones who are bang on the target at the first attempt, this is an experience of a place which stands by its name-KHIVA ( Khey Vakh- meaning what a pleasure)
The story of this city Khiva, in Uzbekistan narrated by locals unfolds as travelers passing from this city after drinking water exclaimed-Khey Vakh i.e. what a pleasure! living by its name, folks also use this term to celebrate prosperous life and good food.
The award-wining restaurant, first started its operations in Mumbai and now has taken the challenge to tempt Punekars by offering a unique journey of exotic Royal Frontier Bhukara Cuisine. The restaurant is located in Phoenix mall, third floor, next to Copper Chimney.
I was a part of the food tasting with fellow foodies, as we entered the restaurant my first impression was -It’s classy! The rustic wall decor, cosmopolitan yet ethnic look takes you back to the rugged terrain of North West Frontier province.
While, I take you through my experience it’s important to know a little about this cuisine first, Roshan Nichani, owner of Khiva briefly explained about Bukhara food which is known for its richness and is famous for its exotic use of spices, dry fruits and nuts.The spices are specially imported and the marination process is as long as 9 hours and the slow cooking process is close to 4 hours. He also stated the place is known for the asli dum preparation- royal feels you see!
After the story telling session, it was time to get into action and literally focus on the mission- FOOD and some drooling snaps! A big thank you to Vineet Vijay for clicking some awesome snaps.
We started with Virgin Mojito- refreshing with fresh mint leaves and lime.
For starters we were served with Khumb Khazana- button mushroom with spinach and cheesy preparation- the medley was perfect. I never loved mushroom so much!
Mushroom ki kasam khaate hue,tried the next Tandoori Shikari Tangdi- kukkads generally don’t disappoint and this one was no exception- juicy, inviting leg pieces cooked with kashmiri red chillies were just the right start.
When cute looking Chandni kebabs are placed in front of you- no looking right- left-straight, just have it on your plate and finish it mate!
This one took me back to the Jujeh kebabs, I had in Berlin in a Persian restaurant, aromas were quite identical.The taste was slightly sweeter similar to Murg malai kebab, went well with the red chutney- first impression was tamarind chutney, but Imran our host for the evening told us it has small pieces of chiku too- delved a little more and the sweet-tanginess felt good!
We tried some bread sticks with mint chutney, this was followed by Mutter aur Cheese ka Tikka- Cheese outburst was way too much which did not bind the mutter tikkas. This tasted dry and the amalgamation of the ingredients should be looked by the team.
Such experiences are incomplete without the lamb preparation, this called for Barra Kebab Lazeez- Tender fresh lamb chops and nalli marinated in a tangy pepper marinade and kachiri, char grilled to perfection.
Contented was my state of mind, and it was ready for some more!- MAINS calling….
Time to binge on Murg Khurchan- as weird as the name may sound, but the dish was perfect! one of the best I had after a very long time. This was tandoori chicken stir fried with roasted and crushed kasoori methi (fenugreek seeds)tomatoes with a a general sprinkle of coriander and fresh ginger. Spicy, succulent chicken went well with khameeri ki roti- khameer (yeast) is kneaded with flour,salt, sugar and kalonji.
Veggie time, meloni tarkari (vegetables) was the next serving, do not be mistaken this place offers some delicious options for the vegetarians too, and this dish was a testimony- finely chopped veggies with some condiments tasted quite good.
We were contented, elated and decided to try small portion of the next two mains i.e. the signature dish- Nalli ka salan and Murg Makhani. Nalli ka salan (bone marrow and mutton curry) this is lamb shanks in brown dum gravy- includes red chilli powder, fennel seeds, shahijeera tasted good with butter naan.
However, Murg Makhani as the name suggests was a creamy, sweet affair which dint go well with my taste buds.
No, this is not all- the place also offers one of their most popular dishes in the Mumbai outlet -Dal Khiva,black lentils cooked overnight and simmered with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cream and served hot with a dollop of white butter.
Khiva is also known for its Galawati kebabs-A classic kebab from Lucknow, minced lamb blended with spices, and Gosht ki dum biryani-cuts of baby lamb, cooked with basmati rice in dum style, accompanied with burhani raita and mirchi ka salan.
Next time, I visit this place- 3 things which will definitely be ordered are the ones mentioned above, you were skipped this time, but next time- I swear on my love for desserts you will be certainly relished.
This called for Desserts- there’s always some room for this, isn’t it?
Rasmalai were the first ones to appear- spongy rosogullas in dry fruit, saffron flavored creamy milk rabri with the right amount of sweetness was loved by everyone.
As we tried to stretch a bit after hogging so much! exotic Lychee ki Tehree was the final dessert for the day- coarsely ground milk and rice pudding with litchi chunks was good- nothing exceptional here, but I prefer the fruit version than indulging this combination for desserts.
Contented, Elated and Ecstatic these would be apt to describe my Friyay experience.
A loud shout out to team Khiva for hosting us, rise and shine- loved the gastronomic journey!
*This place will be open for public from tomorrow,and the review is completely based on my experience. *
Contributing Writer: Anu Banerjii
Anu is a Bong by genes,Punekar by birth, Media professional by choice and Foodie by heart. Food Blogging for her is not being a critic, but it’s all about relishing the flavours to the fullest, thereby share experience.
Follow Anu’s food journey at- www.anubanerjii.com
Drooling photographs on Instagram handle: anu_ka_adda