Jonathan’s Kitchen burst onto Hyderabad’s food scene in 2015 with an astoundingly diverse repertoire of dishes culled from around the world. It’s rare to come across a restaurant serving Sushi, Burger, Biryani, and Pizza under the same roof, and it’s even rarer to find one which manages to offer such a diverse menu without compromising on the quality. Now, Jonathan’s Kitchen is celebrating its first anniversary by further expanding its menu and adding more signature treats.
I was invited to a tasting session featuring a set menu curated by the team at JK. Initially we met at Komatose to have some fun and experience their Flaming Lamborghini. We were also served some of the Indian starters from Jonathan’s new menu. First on our plate was Dahi ke Kebab – a spiced hung-curd kebab served with chutney. With the tangy and creamy texture of the curd coming through in just the right amounts, Dahi ke Kebab gave us little room for complaint . Non-vegetarian additions included Amritsari Bhatti da Murgh and Nawabi Shikampuri Kebab. The Bhatti da Murgh was essentially Tangdi Kebab that had been grilled to perfection in a tandoor. The real surprise was the Shikampuri – a dish that I’ve had umpteen times. Shikampuri Kebabs have deep fried patties with a minced mutton stuffing. The process of frying, however, often makes the exterior rather dry. In a wonderful twist, JK cuts open the kebabs and tops them with some curd. This not only masks the dryness of the deep fried outer layer, but also adds a little bit of acidity that compliments the protein really well.
After finishing off our desi starters and drinks, we moved onto Jonathan’s Kitchen for the rest of our meal. Among the remaining starters the ones that particularly impressed were Welsh Rarebit and Prawn Cocktail in Jack Daniel’s Sauce. Typically, the Welsh Rarebit is a dish with pieces of toasted bread layered with a hot savoury sauce prepared primarily from molten cheese. At Jonathan’s, the sauce was served separately as a dip for the breads. This is a good idea since it keeps the breads from becoming soggy even before the dish reaches the table. The Prawn Cocktail came with juicy prawns that were lightly poached in Court-bouillon and served with a cocktail sauce. The lack of extensive steaming of cooking allowed the prawns to retain much of their brilliant aroma and flavour. The sauce was a tad salty, but the lightly poached prawns will thrill any seafood lover.
Our next course was soups and salads. Soups on offer were Zucchine alla parmigiana la minestra (Roasted Zucchini soup with Parmesan Cheese) and Borscht (Russian beetroot soup with minced lamb). The Borscht had a flavor profile somewhat similar to a traditional sweet and sour soup, but the combination of the beetroot and lamb made it distinctive. The salads picked for the night were Green Apple Carpaccio and Seafood Ceviche. The Carpaccio is an old favourite of mine, but the Ceviche is a new addition to the menu. This popular Latin American salad is a mixture of lightly poached seafood with a citrus olive oil dressing . Once again, this is an absolute treat for any sea food lover.
We began our main course with a few dishes from the Indian section – Baingan the Bharta, Malai Kofta Curry, Nalli Kheema and assorted breads. The Baingan the Bharta is a surprise inclusion at the menu that is mainly targeted at hotel guests looking for comfort food. It was pretty decent, but this was a much tamer iteration of this humble dish from Northern India. The pungency of a traditional Bharta (derived mainly from mustard oil and onions) was missing. The Malai Kofta, however, was simply outstanding. The rich, creamy gravy was as good as I’ve had anywhere in Hyderabad. The Nalli Kheema, lamb shanks and minced meat cooked in a spicy Indian gravy, also hit all the right notes.
From the global menu, we were offered Chicken and Rice in Egg Wrap, Surf and Turf, and Blackened Salmon Steak. The first dish – Chilli Chicken and Rice in Egg Wrap, reminded me of the MLA Potlum Biryani from Spicy Venue. Visually both of the dishes share some similarity. However, Spicy Venue uses mixed-meat Biryani while Jonathan’s uses a much blander rice. The Rice in Egg Wrap works as a simple comfort dish, but dont order it if you are looking for something exciting. The Surf and Turf consisted of Grilled Jumbo Prawn (the surf) and Tenderloin (the turf). The Prawn was grilled perfectly, and the Peppercorn Sauce was delicious, but the steak disappointed. I had requested for a medium-rare steak, but much like my previous experiences in Hyderabad, it ended up being well done. The Blackened Salmon Steak was served on a bed of Beurre Blanc (a French Butter Sauce) with Asparagus, wilted Spinach, and Parsley Potatoes. The fish was grilled with the skin on, and the sear it was absolutely amazing. This dish was treat for both my visual and gustatory senses. This was definitely my favourite dish from the main course.
To wrap things up we were served two new desserts – Moong Dal Halwa and Banoffee Pie. The halwa was pretty decent, but it was completely overshadowed by the spectacular Banoffee Pie. Caramelised banana, more caramel sauce, toffee, and cream! It was an appropriately indulgent way to end a rather remarkable meal.
The new dishes being introduced in Jonathan’s derive their inspiration from places close to home as well as faraway lands like Wales, Ukraine and Peru. They’re all worthy additions to an already fascinating line up of dishes. The rather run of the mill steak was the only disappointment in a night marked by plenty of exceptional culinary delights. Jonathan’s new menu solidifies its reputation as one of the most exciting restaurants in Hyderabad. Two thumbs up!