The Partaking Experience – Barbeque Nation

Barbeque Nation was the first restaurant that brought the concept of live-grills on the table and DIY cuisine to the country, with its first branch in Mumbai, in 2006. It has been going strong ever since, with over 60-outlets spread all across the country and soon opening doors in Dubai. It is safe to say, they are well established and considered pioneers in the live-BBQ industry.

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Just like any other food chain that expands to such a great scale, there are new challenges faced and one of them includes consistency. Whenever, I write about the business prospect of a food establishment I place great emphasis on the core value of the restaurant. Barbeque Nation’s core strength, other than the concept of live-grills {which has now become quite common} is their service. The ready-to-cater approach taken by every server in the restaurant and accommodating to the guest’s palate (whenever needed) is what is helping them maintain their following and grow tremendously. They put in great effort to engage the guests and keep them coming back with different cuisine themes organised frequently.

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The restaurant revolves around the concept of serving 5 vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters (each) presented on the grill {in unlimited quantities}, allowing you to baste the vegetables and meat with different marinades like chilli and black pepper, creating different flavours and partaking in the experience. The quality of meat and vegetables is good, its always fresh and they change the flavours daily with a new menu.

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The non-vegetarian appetisers almost always include a chicken, prawn and fish skewer, roasted chicken and a mutton seekh. On my last visit the chicken skewers were quite dry and on conveying the same, they instantly got us some freshly marinated and well cooked chicken morsels that were perfectly cooked. In order to compensate for the error, they also served us some specially cooked chilli chicken {chinjabi alert!} which had a beautiful smoky flavour with mild chilli and a sticky sweet coating. The mutton seekh wasn’t that great, however, the fish (Basa) was perfectly cooked, beautifully caramelised on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside. It had a subtle coriander and garlic flavour which I quite liked. The prawns reached us overcooked, but we did not care enough about them to complain {had enough on our plate already}.

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The vegetarian starters were a little disappointing. The cajun spicy potato were oily but covered in a delicious chilli cajun dressing. Paneer tikka was a little dry. Matar Palak kebab were extremely oily, to a state of being inedible. Corn on the cob charred beautifully, coated in a creamy chilli covering that accentuated the sweet flavour of the kernels, stood out among others.

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The main course spread has a nice variety, but only a few dishes stood out. Murg Kadhai was one of them. Cooked to perfection, it was a burst of flavours. The chilli hit was just right. Accompanied by Garlic naan, I couldn’t have opted for anything better {literally}. Peshawari Mutton had undercooked pieces of mutton but the flavours were spot on. The biryani was one of the low points of the meal. Rice were clumping together, it had no aroma and just lacked the flavours.

Desserts are my favourite part of the meal and even though their spread of desserts isn’t that enticing, I tried it all ! Phirni, similar to kheer, made with broken rice, was quite delicious and wasn’t overly sweet. Even though it wasn’t made the traditional way, it was nice and refreshing. I added a little rose syrup on top and it tasted delicious. The cinnamon apple cheesecake was a good effort in a unique creation, but the cinnamon got overpowering and the apple flavour couldn’t come through. Their acclaimed kulfi section was underwhelming. The kulfi wasn’t as creamy as it should be and had an icy consistency. They have a variety of toppings, including candies, but that wasn’t enough.

Overall, the food ranged from bad, average to really good, but it was the service and overall experience that made me leave this place with a smile on my face. As I have quoted multiple times before, Food is about creating an experience, and they do exactly that. Our servers Mr.Vipin Kumar and Mr. Nantu Kumar made sure we truly enjoyed our night. They even arranged a trip to the kitchen for us to meet the head chef Mr. Harish and experience how the work gets done behind the scenes in the kitchen.

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Chef Harish was kind enough to show us around and explain how everything works, from the reason behind creating an open kitchen to storage of extra skewers prepared in advance. What amazed me the most was, they put in the skewers on charcoal only after they see the guests enter and according to how many tables get occupied, to make sure you get everything freshly cooked and piping hot. The coordination between the kitchen and outside was truly amazing to watch. However, it wasn’t easy being inside the kitchen, the smoke and heat made my eyes water. It was fascinating to see how chefs work here everyday without sweating a tear!

My experience over the years (and at other branches) has been exactly the same, some dishes stand out while others are average, the selection isn’t extravagant but the experience is always good.

However, there is a definite scope of improvement, specially with respect to ambience which is monotonous and lacks any colour. Food is either a hit or miss, so needless to say it requires certain refinement. It’s not a place I go to for food, but for a complete experience.

Barbeque Nation Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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