31 Jul 2017
5 min read
Located inside one of the finest hotels in the country, Ghar-e-Kabab is widely known as one of the best Indian restaurants in town. Ghar-e-Kabab, which literally translates to 'a home of kababs', is also Nepal's very first ghazal restaurant. Established in 1981 by Princess Helen Shah, this exquisite restaurant specialises in Mughlai and traditional North Indian cuisine.
Its regal theme, accentuated by the copper cutlery and a golden-brown colour scheme, has been executed so well that the establishment looks like it belongs inside a royal palace. With oil paintings adorning the walls and Hotel Annapurna's picturesque swimming pool serving as the backdrop, the restaurant presents the quintessential image of a restaurant for high-end clients. And then there's the service. From the staff's immediately rushing to your side and greeting you with a chorus of "Darshan Hajur" to pulling out your chair and tucking you in, the restaurant prides itself on the personalised service it offers. As old Hindi melodies hum in the background, the chef himself will come and take your order. The restaurant tries to cater to guests' every need so the chef himself prepares exactly the kind of food a guest wants, whether it be a dish devoid of any dairy products or a dish from outside the menu. More often than not, the manager himself comes to serve the guests; when we visited the restaurant recently, we noticed that he had a unique approach to serving: when he served food directly from the platter, he served it to the guest's left, and when he served drinks or pre-plated food they were served to the guest's right. It's such attention to detail--without their being intrusive--that has helped the restaurant create a name for itself.
Rudra Nath Rimal's management philosophy
Rudra Nath Rimal, the multi-outlet manager as well as the senior manager, has been working at Ghar-e-Kabab for over 33 years. He was the one who conceived of the idea of Ghar-e-Kabab's personalised service. The restaurant's ideals revolve around giving the guest the utmost importance and fulfilling their every need. And in order to do so, he believes that it is important to read and judge the guests properly. Owing to the reputation that has been established worldwide of this restaurant, their list of guests boasts everyone from Indian celebrities like Jitendra, Hema Malini (who always stop by for at least one meal during their stay in Nepal) to CEOs, chairmen, corporate clients and foreign tourists. Rimal says that these clients frequent the restaurant because of the authentic food and the impeccable personalised service provided for each guest. Furthermore, he also attributes the restaurant's popularity to the artists who perform ghazals here during the evenings: the artists who create enchanting evenings here are ghazal singers, Rupak Chaudhary and Rama Ghatane, who will sing in the ghazal style any song requested by the guests, and the sitar player, Mohan Sundar Shrestha, who used to perform at the Royal Palace before joining this restaurant.
The Chef's Specials we sampled were a perfect amalgam of various ingredients, textures and colours. We had the Cold Khash Pistacchio, Bharwan Murg Seena Kabab, Murg Biryani, Paneer Pardanasheen, Badami Gosht and the homemade Kulfi. The Murg Biryani, Paneer Pardanasheen and the Kulfi were our favourites.
Behind the scenes with the chef
Chef Aga, the executive chef at the restaurant, has a brigade of 48 people working under him. After getting his Bachelors in Hotel Management from Bangalore, Chef Aga worked in the city's Hotel Regaalis before joining Hotel Annapurna here in Nepal. The first thing that he did after joining Ghar-e-Kabab was to change the menu to incorporate new dishes. When asked about what makes his food so special, he revealed that they regularly import ingredients from India just so that they don't have to compromise on the taste of the dishes and that they use halal meat, for hygiene purposes as well as to cater to a wider audience.
After sampling the food, we asked him to reveal his secret ingredient, and he reluctantly said 'garam masala'--although he insisted that the secret lies in being able to control the portions. You should focus on how much a person can eat and serve each dish accordingly, so that the guests can relish every bite, from the starters to the desserts, he said. He also added that it is important to execute the dish to perfection--from the cooking to the garnishing to the serving. You shouldn't compromise on any of these aspects, he said.
(Photos by Govinda Maharjan)