Frazer town is one of the well known locations in Bangalore where restaurants abound. Ensconced within a modest diameter of a kilometer or so, lie innumerable eating places, some so tiny that they do not even have seating and some that are large enough to accommodate several diners in air conditioned comfort.
Regardless of the size however, there are always takers for food and the tandoor/kabab/biryani loving customers throng each and every eatery, making it a very viable proposition for new entrants to join the fray. After all, there is no such thing as too much food right ? 😀
Sharief Bhai is the newest kid on the block and in keeping with the largely prevalent theme of the locality, this restaurant also serves what they refer to as authentic Muslim home cooked cuisine.
I was invited by the owners to try out a few of their dishes and the following narration describes my lunch experience there.
About Sharief Bhai –
Sharief Bhai is the result of the passion that the Sharief family has for food. A desire to showcase their homely Muslim cuisine as they call it, Navaz and his wife Falak have undertaken the delicious (and laborious) task of making their authentic and age old dishes available to the general public. With recipes that have been ferreted out from deep within the kitchens of their mothers and grandmothers, Falak has personally curated and created menus that are designed to give you an experience that is not really available to those who do not cook such food at home or who have not made the right friends 😀
The family belongs to the Dhakni muslim community, a word that has morphed from Deccani and refers to the muslims of the Deccan plateau.
To keep the experience as close to authentic, they even have the crockery in enamel, just like what they have grown up using in their homes.
The cuisine –
A large part of their menu is based on what is served in a traditional Dhakni muslim household.
The fare is said to have influences of Arabic, Afghan, Mughlai, Nizami and Persian.
A small percentage of the menu also has dishes from the current pan Indian muslim cuisines.
The food as a whole, promises to deliver the true flavors that would emanate from within the traditional kitchens of a typical Muslim home.
And as an added bonus, as they tell us, it would do away for the need to await longingly for home cooked biryani from friends who may or may not show up on Eid 😀 (I always wait tensely hoping that my friends have not forgotten me)
Worthy of note is the fact that they use the Pathhar which is a large, thick granite slab, in order to make their Pathhar ka ghosht which is a rare delicacy and almost impossible to obtain. The only times I have seen these stone slabs in use is during the holy month of Ramzan where the street vendors magically unearth it from unknown places. The cuts of meat are painstaking cooked on these slabs that have been heated for hours and that results in a uniquely tender texture.
At Sharief Bhai, the stones are specially sourced and are of the highest quality. Cooking the meat on these slabs in the fast paced kitchen of a restaurant, requires a lot of time and dedication and they seem to have the latter in abundance. This is truly a labor of love.
Another attraction here for lovers of ‘spare parts’, is the availability of brain, kidney, liver etc which are not so easy to obtain in hygienic avatars.
The Quail is one more reason to love the place. And being done to perfection here, is an added bonus.
One more of their signature Dhakni muslim dishes that is rare to find in restaurants, is the Cutt. This a gravy based on the protein rich stock that is extracted from boiling horse gram for long hours to release all the flavor. The ‘husk’ is finally discarded after straining out the liquid. This stock is then used in both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. These unique gravies are sure to Cutt out any competition 😀
The decor –
The restaurant is located on two levels and the initial impression at the entrance, belies the reality that it is in fact quite large and can seat an impressive 150 diners.
A shelf laden with desserts, placed right at the entrance, offers a sweet welcome and serves to build up excitement at what lies in store.
Bright chandeliers hang suspended from the ceiling, adding quite a touch of color.
Large Mughal prints hug most of the walls and other walls display pictures of a few of the delicacies on the menu, which one can gaze hungrily at while waiting for the food to arrive.
A comfortable stairway leads to the upper level, where the seating is a bit more secluded and comfortable.
The air conditioning provides relief from the noise and activity of the busy Mosque Road and also makes for a comfortable dining experience.
What we ordered –
Unapologetic about being a haven for non vegetarians 😀 they do not hesitate to clearly indicate that their specialties lie in the meat that they so lovingly prepare. Having said that however, they do have enough to keep the vegetarian from starving and the options albeit limited are nevertheless equally flavorful.
Also, it is commendable that every dish is thoughtfully offered in a half or full portion, which makes it easier for small eaters or for those who would like to sample several items.
Being a mixed group we ordered a mix of their Paneer kali mirch, Mushroom lal mirch and Subz shami kabab made from potatoes, for the vegetarians.
Paya the delectable broth of slow cooked sheep trotters was our choice of soup, which we were to mop up with Seviyan (rice string hoppers) and Sheermal, a soft bread enriched with khoya and milk. They serve their version of this bread, which is more like a soft bun and not a flat bread as it is known to be.
The soup which is a big favorite here, was mild with subtle flavors and just perfect.
The non vegetarians began with the Gosht Shami kabab stuffed with egg. I found the shami kabab a tad dry and I relished the vegetarian one better.
In a bid to try out as many starters as we could, we requested for a platter with a piece each of the Murgh lal mirch ki sukhi phaal, Murgh kali mirch ki sukhi phaal, Gosht lal mirch ki sukhi phaal, Gosht kali mirch ki sukhi phaal and Pathhar gosht. All these are partially or fully cooked on the thick granite slab (pathhar) that is heated for several hours. The meats were perfectly spiced and tender for the most part, apart from a few bits of mutton that were rather chewy.
Please note – the platter was specially put together for us and hence the picture will not indicate the portions as are normally served.
We also tried the Prawn tava fry but this was not as succulent as expected, probably due to a bit of overcooking and the prawn lover in me was disappointed.
The Theethar (quail) fry that followed however, was easily one of the best that I have ever had. The tiny bony bird is usually very difficult to cook to the right texture and usually ends up getting fried and dried to rubberiness.
I have often Quailed at the prospect of chewing through the non resilient meat of these skeletal little things but here they seem to have perfected the art of deep frying the bird while rendering it moist and tender inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside, despite this little fella’s indestructible He Man like pose 😀
Being awfully (offally ?) fond of Offal, I made sure to ask for a tasting of the Gurda fry, Kaleji fry and Bheja fry which are the kidney, liver and brain tossed in a tingling blend of pepper, coriander and other spices. All of them were of excellent taste and texture and I would know because I have many a time had the really tough and overcooked versions. The brain, soft and creamy was my favorite though and that part was finished clean by me (as my co diners put it, I ate most of what I needed most 😀 )
One cannot leave a place like this without tasting the biryani and we ordered an Anda Biriyani and the Har dil azeez gosht Biriyani. The latter is the traditional dum biryani that uses Jeera Samba rice containing 3 generous pieces of lamb meat and is accompanied by a raitha and the customary brinjal curry.
There is a vegetable biryani too and I have heard that the vegetarians have been quite pleased with it.
Food loaded with such richness, needs something suitable to wash it down and the chilled fresh Lime soda did the job efficiently.
Dessert consisted of Matka phirni made from semolina, khoa, milk and dry fruits served in an earthenware bowl, Muzzafar the creamy rich rice pudding with khoa and dry fruits and the decadent Halwe ki poori, the deep fried semi circular poori encasing a rich halwa made of jaggery and khoa.
One would do well to imbibe some hot Sulamani chai or Dum ki chai after such indulgence. Said to be a good digestive, the Sulaimani which is infused with lime juice and spices, is normally served after a heavy meal.
Paan beeda (betel leaf) can also be ordered off the menu, after the meal.
Of course after our sampling of the Theethar and Trotter and everything in between, all we could do was Teeter Totter out of the place, chai and paan notwithdstanding.
Contact and reservations –
The Frazer Town outlet of Sharief Bhai is located at –
10, Mosque Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore 560005.
Phone – +91 8095752222
Parking – Street side or Valet
Alcohol – No
Air conditioning – Yes
Timings – 12 pm – 1 am
Price factor – Meal for 2 in the range of Rs 800
Aug 24th, 2018