Last week was really good in terms of food, first it was Rivaayat –e – Rampur at the Oberoi and then some good North West frontier food at frontier restaurant at Hotel Ashok.
North West Frontier was region under British government that consisted of border districts of Pakistan (now) and Afghanistan, including Baluchistan. These border area people were fighters and thus they used to have a lot of meat products. The British demarcated the North-West Frontier Province in the year 1900.
North West Frontier cuisine is known for their simple cooking process, not overpowering the spices and cooking on clay tandoor. Their food is known for their rustiness and focus on preserving the flavor. It is also believed that kebabs were the origin of this province. This style of cooking requires great expertise on the part of the chefs, since the meat is not accompanied by any sauce or gravy, but only pre-marinated and cooked before serving. Another interesting aspect of their cooking is the adaptability of vegetables. If chicken tikka is popular so is the daal and gobhi tandoori. The unique taste of these dishes comes from the smoky flavour introduced by the tandoor. Dry fruits, cream and kesar (saffron) add richness to the dishes
Apart from Bukhara at ITC, Frontier is the only place which serves authentic North West frontier food that too from last 35 years. It started in 1980, two years after Bukhara opened. And interestingly they haven’t changed their menu since its inception.
Lets talk about Frontier now that opened in 1980 and is situated in The Ashok Hotel in the diplomatic area. The moment you enter the restaurant, you get the feel of a desert camp with Arabian music at the background.
After having long conversation with Chef we decided to follow chef’s recommendations. It was mix of veg and non-veg dishes. As shared, North West frontier cuisine also gives equally importance to veggie, and hence you will also find some good veg dishes.
Pick of the dish was veg kebab that was mix of green vegetables mix with onion, ginger, some spices. The kebab was the soft and moist inside and crisp outside. Tinge of chat masala gave it little tangy flavor that made it all the more delicious. Grilled vegetables chat is something you shouldn’t miss here. Another veg star dish was khatte bangan, a very humble baingan converted into excellent dish.
Patther ke kebab and banu kebab(chicken kebab coated with egg whites has succulent and juicy chicken and fluffly egg outside) was simply outstanding.
Daal Frontier is specialty of Frontier – black urad daal with ginger and simmered for 48 hours is not is not daal makhni. You will love the texture, the consistency and it is simply delicious. Murg peshawari was probably one the chicken dish that I really enjoyed and yet again this is not kadai chicken. Mutton Rogan Josh is very different from Kashmiri rogan josh and the gravy was made of onion, ginger and tomato – , excellent dish. Every dish is rustic and robust as the spices and flavours were judiciously used so that the focus remains on preserving the flavours.
By the time desert came I was full, but still had some bites from delicious gulab jamun, rasmalai and phirni.
It was a meal which I will remember for really long and would love to go back again there very soon.
Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.
Meal for two – 2500 plus taxes(without alcohol)