We went to Darul Kebab, the halal kebab house on Mass Ave where the KFC (and Banjos... for about 2 weeks) used to be. The place is packed to the brim with chairs and tables, making it very claustrophobic and tight for people to get by. The place was packed with families, which I always consider a good sign. I had to get up and move my seat and let folks by a couple times, so it gave me anxiety and I ended up sitting right next to my DC instead of across. Good thing we're tight like that.
The interior is still KFC-like, but more like a parallel-universe KFC where all the food is Pakistani, with two monster LCD panels displaying menu items at a walk-up counter. It's not clear that there's also wait service, so there seemed to be a lot of confused people walking around.
We started with the Aloo Chop as an appetizer, which is one of my favorite things my dad makes - a breaded deep fried potato croquette filled with all sorts of spicy peas and goodness. Unfortunately ours came cold in the center, so we sent it back. It somehow returned at the very tail end of the meal, well after we'd lost interest. Oh well.
I had read a lot from previous hounds' postings about the Koliza Singara, which is essentially a chicken liver samosa, and ordered one. It was pretty nasty - I don't say that because I'm not a liver fan, because I am. Just something about the texture, the smell, the pungency, the presentation, that was so unappetizing. A doughy pandora's box of hepatic evil. I took two nibbles and we left the pitiful thing sitting there.
An order of Daal Makhni arrived, which we found too thick and gloppy. It was as if the daal had been cooked down too long, and would crust over at any minute. The Daal had a surprising underlying burn of chili heat.
My DC and I were very hot about trying their haleem, as we are haleem fiends. We LOVE Darbar's rendition, and Kebab & Tandoor's (Waltham) haleem comes in a very close second. Darul's version was different than anything we'd ever eaten. I've never seen such a yellow daal-y haleem. I'm used to the typical Pakistani and Hyderabadi style of haleem which resembles an unctuous brown sludge, with fibers of goat throughout it, with accompanying slivers of fresh ginger and green chilis. My disgusting description is conveyed with 100% affection - I truly love the stuff. This? Not so much. Very little meaty wheaty flavor, thin texture that I wasn't expecting, and harsh heat. I'm thinking everything was sprinkled with some Shan spice packet sparkle.
Chicken kebab with bone-in was a bright red roast chicken. It was just fine, and not dry. Good but unremarkable. It came with some doughy flaps of butter-laden naan as well.
An order of paratha came out way too late. It was a bit thick and greasy, but paratha is good nonetheless. I loved the paper it was served on (see pic).
Overall, we thought Darul Kebab was meh. Maybe the other kebabs are better, but our chicky kebab wasn't mind blowing. The spicing was harsh and potent and was probably a result of a liberal shaky shake of a Shani spice packet. And finally, Darbar in Brighton is the place to go for haleem, that's for sure.
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