I love a good kebab and a tikka. There’s something inherently comforting about having one be it early in the morning, for lunch, during dinner, or in the middle of the night. It’s that perfect food for everyone no matter if you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian.
Then there’s the charm of comfort food; Food from a place that evokes memories of great times or just reminds you of plain and simple delicious grub that satisfies the soul. Khan Chacha is one of those places that is synonymous with kebabs and yummy food.
Eating in your home town is one thing, but finding a favourite “local” restaurant in a foreign land – Dubai in this case – is nothing short of a miracle.
I came across a huge signboard of Khan Chacha while walking in the Al Taawun area. A slight walk inside from the main road into one of the side streets and I was greeted by a well-mannered host to a clean, well maintained, and humble space that had my nose tingling with its foodie smells from the very moment that I entered.
Purely out of curiosity I asked if this was a “branch” of the famed Khan Chacha that has been expanding in India, opening small restaurants all around. I was informed that it wasn’t, but the food was nevertheless a combination of Indian and Pakistani cuisine.
Initially I felt unsure, since I dragged my friends to the restaurant, after seeing the sign board, with the presumption that this was the Khan Chacha from back home, our interest and curiosity got the best of us and we asked about the different items on the menu to better understand what they offered and recommended.
Everyone in my little group was hungry by now, tummies grumbling, the smell of the food making us want it even more, and so it was decided that we would eat in this establishment.
We played it safe initially ordering our staple Green Salad and a Mint Raita which was pretty decent in consistency and taste. The Hari Boti, which came recommended, had coarse coriander seeds on top and turned out to be extremely interesting in taste as was the Chicken Tikka – perfectly cooked just short of being charred – the way I like it.
The Lachcha Parantha, Till Wali Naan and Roti all complimented the food – the Tikkas and the mains – and satiated our hunger.
So far so good, while it would have been wrong to compare the food from back home but there were evident similarities in terms of taste and quantity and quality.
A little relaxed we went on with the Sindhi Biryani, Boneless Handi, and the Seekh Kabab Kadai.
The Sindhi Biryani was something new for me – the colourful rice making it all the more special and a treat for the eyes. I’ve had some amazing biryani over the years, and am glad to say that the one here was among the best.
The Boneless Chicken Handi came with a nice and thick creamy gravy and the Seekh Kabab Kadai was equally good.
After realizing that we are travelers, the management started giving us extra attention, and without ordering they served us Mutanjan (sweet rice). I’ve never eaten Mutanjan and this “golden rice with khoya” sprinkled on top was something unique and exciting for my palate.
The conversation primarily shifted to food and not just comparing both the “Khan Chacha” outlets – the ones we have home and this one – but food in general and how slowly some of the older tastes and ingredients have changed or have been modified into fusion dishes but there are still establishments serving food from the past – food that we all cherish and remember fondly like that of Karim’s or from the lanes of Old Delhi.
Khan Chacha in Dubai is at present in their second year of operations and I found it to be different in its overall appearance yet similar when it comes to tastes that I prefer and admire.
If there is one suggestion I would give – and I’ve said this to many people – it would be to reduce the number of items on the menu and focus on what they make best. Sometimes in our endeavor to please everyone, we miss out on what’s important – taste.
It was a pleasant evening spent in good company that ended with delightful food and fascinating conversations where we learnt something new, and of course the chance to discover a new place.
I’ve talked about how important it is to support the independents. While we entered the restaurant thinking it was something else – part of a bigger establishment, I’m glad that we got talking and found out so much more about food from them, and in return were able to form a different kind of relationship, one that is based on the love for food.
The business of food is extremely volatile around the world and it’s no easy task. I really hope that Khan Chacha in Dubai continues to perform well and wish them all the luck for their future.
Al Rostamani Tower,
Behind Oriana Hospital,
New Al Taawun Road,
Al Taawun, Sharjah UAE