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Flavours of Bhandini

A 10-year-old restaurant in a 50-year-old hotel in the heart of the city provides our writer with an authentic Indian culinary experience.

Faith Kyoumukama @martkinel

Did you know the hotel InterContinental has been in  existence for 50 years? Yes, the one located in the heart of the CBD.  Recently, I was privileged to have a sit-down with the  head chef of the in-house Bhandini restaurant,  Kunal Trivedy, who made put together something special from the kitchen. 

He says the biggest misconception about Indian cuisine is that it is hot and spicy. The heat comes from the chillies and you can always moderate them. Similarly, favourful doesn’t necessarily mean spicy.

Open kitchen

Bhandini loosely translated means to bind together. The restaurant has been in existence for over 10 years. The entrance is cradled between two wine racks. Inside the décor is chic, with an overall relaxed ambience.  You can watch the chef work as the kitchen is an open kitchen enclosed in clear glass.

The menu is extensive with starters, mains and desserts available. Starters include calamari pepper fry and sesame fried prawns as well as delicious soups such as Murg jahangiri shorba (spiced chicken broth with chicken dumplings) and tortillas.

Kunal Trivedy with the work of his hands.

Main dishes include murg tikka lababdar (chicken tikka), tariwala murg (chicken curry) and macher jhol (fish curry with potatoes, eggplant, and mustard) with a choice of biryani, naan, roti, and rice for accompaniments. On offer were a good number of vegetable dishes too.

Before we settled in, we had a cold glass of mango lassi. It’s basically a yoghurt-based mango milk shake or smoothie. The yoghurt helps moderate the tart of the mango.  This is the most refreshing and tasty lassi I have had in my entire foodie life. 

I am a great cook, well, at least I like to think so, but even I have to admit I cannot try to make this at home, the end result would simply not be the same.  They seem to have perfected it at Bhandini.

Spicy and flavourful

Indian cuisine sits comfortably in the top five of my all-time favourite cuisines list.  Hot, spicy and flavourful, I’m not a fussy eater and will take whatever you offer me.  Speaking of flavour, here is a breakdown of the dishes we sampled at Bhadini restaurant. We had a platter consisting of kebabs, grilled chicken, prawns, grilled fish.

On the side, we were served garlic pita bread and paneer tikka masala. The kebabs are not your ordinary, street food kebabs. My favourite had to be the paneer tikka masala, I loved how palatable it was.

Paneer tikka masala is a flavourful and aromatic curry, made with marinated and grilled paneer cubes simmered in a rich onion tomato gravy along with warm spices.

Paneer is a fresh, soft, but firm cottage cheese popular in Indian cuisine. When paired with pita bread, it delivers a great combo. 

I also loved the tortillas and the prawns, leaving the chicken to my colleague because I know how much he loves fowl. I also ate vegetable filled tortillas, which were much tastier than I had imagined. A pleasant surprise that.

Bhandini is popular, so do make sure to make your reservations early to get a seat, walking in will be a gmble. The restaurant is open for both lunch (noon to 3pm) and dinner (7pm to 10.30 pm) Monday through Friday and only serves dinner on Saturday and Sunday.

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