Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Indian supper at Kabab Mahal, Sea Point

Dinner at Ninety One, an Indian Restaurant
We have been coming to Indian restaurants at this address for years and they have varied in ownership, decor, food and service. It is at 91 Main Road, Sea Point, just around the corner from Firmount Road, where we used to live. Some of the best ones lasted a while and we lament their departure, the bad ones disappeared quite quickly, for which we were thankful. The sign above the entrance still has the original Kabab Mahal sign. Sea Point is fussy when it comes to authentic Indian food - and we don't mean local or Durban Indian. Many locals have lived and travelled overseas and experienced authentic Indian or Pakistani food from the subcontinent. We had not even been aware that this latest iteration had opened, so when our friend Terry suggested we go, we went. Terry (British) lives in an area of Greece where there are no Indian restaurants, so he was keen to go and sample the food
It was not crowded at 7 pm and we like the modern decor and clean look. So much better than the flocked wall paper, chairs and tables made from logs, brass lamps and cliché pictures of the Taj Mahal, which it had in its previous existence
We had brought along a bottle of a great Gewürztraminer from our Cellar, the Paul Cluver Ferricrete 2015, which goes very well with this style of food, being robust enough to stand up to the heat and yet delicate and perfumed enough to compliment it. The corkage charge is R50 a bottle
We did not spot pappadums on the menu, but on request they brought two servings with an accompanying green coconut chutney, sadly lacking in much favour. And the good pappadums spiced with cumin seeds seemed to have been briefly microwaved rather than deep fried, so were crisp but chalky
Lemon Rice and John's Beef Madras curry, good sauce, good meat and authentic flavours. Not too fiery either. The portion of rice is very large and was ample for the two men with a spoonful donated to Lynne
She prefers to order a Naan and the one on the right is her garlic Naan. Terry ordered a Keema Naan, which has mince meat incorporated into the dough
Lynne spotted the Lamb Methi on the menu. It is one of her favourites, made with fresh fenugreek leaves and not found very often in the Cape, so she ordered it and enjoyed it very much. Not sure if it was lamb or even mutton, it tasted much more like goat, but we are fine with that; it happens often in South Africa. The sauces on all the curries are plentiful and so is the meat. Sadly, next day, she did have a rather bad stomach. The others were not affected
Terry ordered the most popular dish in the UK, the Tandoori Butter Chicken which he enjoyed. Lynne found it had a bit too much tomato, but tastes differ. You will have to go and try the food for yourself
We also took a bottle of the De Grendel Rosé, a great palate cooler made from Pinotage and also robust enough to work with curry

Sadly at about 9.30 a busload of Indian tourists arrived for their supper, which was served to them as a buffet at the back of the restaurant. They were extremely noisy, wandering around and shouting loudly at each other across the restaurant, so we and other patrons fled quickly. So we recommend an early meal if you like peace and quiet while you dine. Or phone first to see if another bus is expected

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