I suppose there may be some who would be a bit sniffy about eating at Akbars, since it established itself as a mini-chain, with branches in a number of northern cities. I would not be one of them. My interest is in the food and does it taste good. Well, it's always been good – that’s why it’s a successful brand. And, after all the turkey of the festive season, a goodly hit of spice was what was wanted for our first restaurant meal of 2015.
And there was definitely a goodly hit of spice with a starter of chicken liver tikka. There was some skilful work in the kitchen that saw the spice coating fully cooked and baked on to the meat, yet the liver stayed nice and moist. Really good with a zing from chilli and coriander. Onion and potato bhaji was also well spiced and very much doing exactly what it said on the tin, by way of an onion bhaji. A nice little salad with it – leaf, red onion, chickpeas, mint dressing.
For mains, vegetable dopiaza was onion heavy, as you’d expect, along with aubergine, carrot, potato and cauliflower., in a thick sauce. From the desi section of the menu, karahi ghost & palak was a very generous portion. Tender lamb, wilted spinach, the little bit of sauce just clinging to the meat.
We overdosed a bit on carbs and, disappointingly, they weren’t that brilliant. Rice was a bit claggy – obviously prepared much earlier for quick heating up to order, it had sat for far too long. Tandoori roti was OK. We’d forgotten the silliness with which Akbars deals with naan. Even the single portion is a vast piece of bread – and it comes on a sort of vertical skewer affair, making it look like the sail on a yacht. Hung up like that, it takes very little time for it to go stone cold. Yes, we’d over-ordered. The waiter said we were over-ordering but we ignored his advice.
So, in spite of a couple of glitches, this was a good dinner and I’m glad we have Akbars in the metro area. It’s good to have a bustling, blingy place with good grub.