If you are looking for a delectable spread of authentic Indian cuisine, Baluchi is just the place to be
Okay, so it’s not fashionable – the live music at dinner-time is a conversation stopper and children run riot in its homely interiors, but Baluchi at InterContinental The Grand serves some real gems.
I challenge you to find a more succulent, more flavourful chapli kebab (Rs 695) anywhere else in the city. Ever so slightly sour with pomegranate seeds, the mince is always spiced just so. The lamb takes centrestage here and the spices jazz it up perfectly.
My other favourite is murgh ki champ (Rs 695). Unlike run-of-the-mill tikkas that are made with chicken breast meat, this one is made out of a butter-flied thigh piece with the bone intact. The result is a chicken that comes out of the tandoor with its texture intact and with the robustness of tandoori masalas. The restaurant’s rendering of shahi galawat ke kebab (Rs 695) is as authentic as they come, though I wish the kewra flavour had been kept a trifle low — it tends to overpower the other subtle spices.
aIn the curry section, though murgh joshing (Rs 700) has been billed as the chef’s special, it doesn’t do anything for me. I find it too obviously a combination of authentic Indian meets dumbed down for the Western palate.
Namkeen gosht (Rs 700), also called aab gosht, is a much more creamy, mild preparation, though I wish it included pieces of lamb with the bone — the flavour would have been so much more intense. Still, the neatly cubed lamb chunks float in a Persian-inspired gravy that has the smoothness of cream with the mildest of spices.
Kadai gosht kali mirth has been highly recommended to me by a friend who is a regular at Baluchi, though I have not tried it myself. Bhapa gosht (Rs 700) is a carnivore’s delight. Composed of lamb shanks on the bone, the rather nondescript gravy is completely overshadowed by the succulent meat, cooked to perfection.
My own favourite dish in Baluchi is the perfect dal pathani (Rs 450). Three types of yellow lentils – a combination that in itself gives the dal an interesting texture — is tempered with the simplest of ingredients. Nobody else that I am aware of makes ‘ such a simple yet elegant dal.
There’s some real talent in this kitchen and it is a pity that the chef does not get to unfurl the full range of his talent. But the restaurant is patronised as much by Western tourists as by the locals, and a menu that is too esoteric would not cut the mustard.
One tip — if you are planning a dinner after 9 pm, make sure you have a reservation — it is packed throughout the week.
Hotel Intercontinental The Grand
Barakhamba Lane, Tel: 23411001
Open from: 12:30 pm to 3 pm and 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Average cost of a meal for two: Rs. 2,500/-
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted