A young engineer, his bike, Kebabs made with his mother’s recipes (they are delicious) and a Sidecar ! What’s the connect ? Till about two weeks ago, I always knew about only two kinds of ‘Sidecar’. One is a French cocktail made with Cognac, Orange Liqueur and Lemon Juice. Then there is this one-wheeled attachment of a Motorbike (remember the movie Sholay?). What else could you do with a sidecar? Lately, I was pleasantly amused to see a Sidecar with a difference.
As soon as you enter the front courtyard of Eros City Square Mall, Gurgaon, in the evenings, in one corner of the front courtyard you see a signboard “BBQ Ride- Chill While We Grill”. But then the only thing you see a couple of tables and chairs but where is the Barbeque. The only thing you see is a Royal Enfield Motorbike parked right in the middle of the space. Wait !! This one had a customised Barbeque Grill attached to the bike as its Sidecar. What a concept !!
We, the foursome, occupied one table and studied the handwritten Menu Board which described a few veg items, more of Chicken and a Mutton Qeema dish. It also said that they used only olive oil. The aroma coming from the Barbeque Grill was killing you with the ever increasing appetite. We asked the young owner, Ahmer, to serve us all the dishes, one by one. What followed was a symphony of flavours which started from the lower notes of flavours and gradually took you to the higher ones.
The first one to land on our table was Chicken Chatora. A bright looking Chicken Tikka with a sprinkling of red chilly powder and green coriander. Looked like a basic tikka though. The first bite on the palate told you that it was spicy yet soft and succulent. The charred edges gave that aroma of coal which added a crunch to the texture. It also had a hint of lemon. Fresh coriander provided aroma and red chili that punch. Add a bit of lemon juice and it’s different.
Next one was Chicken Makhmali. An off-white creamy dish sprinkled with fresh green coriander made a beautiful sight. The concoction sitting in the plate emitted a blend of Creamy-Buttery-Cheesy like aroma. One morsel on the palate and it was soft, juicy, succulent and the meat inside was pinkish. You get a whiff of Mughlai which has a base of Afghani. The lavish adding of green coriander leaves not only gives it a colour but also freshness. I can have many servings if this Melt-In-Mouth platefuls.
Then came in Chicken Takatak. The looks of it were a play of light and dark colours. Had that orangish hues coupled with charred dark edges. The first bite told you it was super soft and a bit high on spices. The level of spices had begun to rise with this dish. The flavours of spices had a base of lemon. Now, this spices, lemon and charred meat was a complex flavour which was enjoyable. On the face of it, this could be passed of as a normal Tikka with a lime but when you dissect the flavours, it opens up gradually. By the time the plate is polished off and leaves you asking for more. But then, there were other dishes to come. So, we moved on.
It was no time for the Chef’s Special Special, a red fiery Tikkas which had a glaze over them. No masala was visible and yet it had some marination. Had onion and capsicum with charred edges. The aroma told us that it is different. Had to be since it was Chef’s Special. The meat was soft, succulent and juicy. Had a combined flavour of few things which had familiar taste. Yes, it was vinegar, honey and olive oil. This combo is quite closer to the taste of Barbeque Sauce used in burgers but this one was close to our very own Indian palate. Was a quite enjoyable.
Chicken Angare was the next dish which, true to its name, was fiery red in colour. The Tikkas were crispy outside and very soft inside. High on spices with a hint of lemon. One may find the flavours very normal but here the good quality of the meat plays a huge difference. This is a typical North Indian tikka but with a twist of an after taste of Mughalai curry. However it had a distinct yet mild aftertaste.
If you are fond of Chicken Leg Piece then Tangy Tangri is your go to choice. First, it comes as a couple of radiant beauties sitting in a beige colour plate. Have a glaze over them and you may mistake them for being fried. Unlike, what you get at various barbecue joints, the legs are full of meat. One can’t even see the bone. You bite and your bite gives you a tangy meat mouthful. The spices are well balanced and are enhanced with the lime juice. This shining beauty is crisp outside and juicy inside. The combo looks good and tastes great.
They have various veg dishes also. So, on insistence of the staff, we tried Paneer Tikka also. Once again, the dish looked great. The paneer cubes had a goldenish masala all over and were accompanied with capsicums and onions. The first bite and one could realise that the paneer was of high quality which was soft yet firm and was creamy inside. The achari masala coat with olive oil was a delight to savour along with the veggies. Very refreshing taste.
Last but certainly, not the least, a plate of Mutton Qeema came in. A brownish dish sprinkled with fresh green coriander was a delight to look at. I noticed that before serving, the chef sprinkled a masala and a dash of lemon juice. One spoon and you forget everything else. The meat is finely minced but still it is granular. The spices are mild but give you many flavours. The after taste is tangy and smoky. This typical Mughalai concoction had the right amount of ghee in it. The consistency was neither runny nor dry. The meat was melt in mouth yet granular. The spices were there yet not there. It was a bit tangy and yet not lemon juice loaded. Went very well with Rumali Roti. A perfect wrap up of the evening on a very high note.
Having enjoyed the surroundings, the aromas, the flavours and the unique concept of ‘sidecar’, obviously one gets curious about the young man at the helm of affairs. He introduced himself as Ahmer. Interestingly, he is a bright Mechanical Engineer who never wanted to pursue engineering. He says, even during his engineering days he was trying to explore his life’s calling. He loved the food made by his mother and always craved for it. While in Bangalore during his student years, he saw a similar kind of bike. So once back home, he used his engineering skills to design a barbecue grill as a sidecar and his child skills to pursue his mother to support him with her recipes. And then he used his foodie instincts to further develop upon those recipes to suit the “Punjabi North Indian Palate”, as Anmer puts it. He marinates all the stuff at home with his mother during the day and then takes pride and interest to serve them to the food lovers every evening, except Tuesday. A methodical engineer personally ensures quality of meat, spices and even the coal in the grill to be of the best quality and each recipe to be followed in terms of measures of quantity of ingredients to the last milligram.
My favourites surely are Chicken Makhmali, Chef’s Special (Ahmer honestly gives credit to his Chef for this recipe) and the Keema. This young engineer serving his mother’s recipe from an engineered sidecar is certainly dishing out some very flavourful experiences. Meat lovers…..Bon Appetite!!