Kebab Theater is Lemon Tree Premier’s Indian speciality restaurant with a quirky Bollywood theme. I’ve been to Republic of Noodles several times, but the other properties at the hotel have remained unexplored. I was recently invited by the management to savour a dinner at the newly relaunched Kebab Theater featuring refreshed interiors and a retooled menu.
Kebab Theater has a restrained decor that stands in stark contrast with most Indian fine-dine restaurants that attempt to dazzle you with chandeliers, glittering cutlery, and opulent furniture. One might have even called it boring, if not for the vintage filmy images on the chairs and the bright and funky posters that adorn the walls. Twice a week Kebab Theater features live Ghazal performances. On other days, popular music videos from the 70s is projected on a large screen. The Bollywood theme permeates to the new menu too. The name of every dish has a Bollywood connection. I was told that the team researched to identify the favourites of Bollywood stars and incorporate that into the menu.
I began my meal with a refreshing gulp of Smoked Chhaas, a welcome drink that was laid out along with a platter of accompaniments and Papad. Next to arrive were Manthan and Dil Se. The former was a creamy Spinach and Prawn Soup while the latter was a Beetroot and Tomato Shorba with a hint of sweetness and a spicy pepper finish. When you are dining at a place called Kebab Theater you have high expectations from the appetisers. The good news is that the kebabs didn’t disappoint. I was surprised to spot a dish dedicated to Tushar Kapur, but ‘Tushar’s Favourite’ – a Chicken Kebab with mint and cilantro proved to be much more enjoyable than most of his movies. ‘Jaanbaz’ was undoubtedly the most visually arresting dish. Four perfectly tandoored prawns were laid out symmetrically on a plate and served along with a apple and peanut salad. The spicy Salmon Kebab (‘Priyanka Loves It’) with delicious burnt edges and the creamy Tandoori Mushroom (‘Dastaan-E-Tarannum’) were also noteworthy.
The main course selection at Kebab Theater is noticeably smaller than the appetisers. While there are about two and a half dozen starters on offer, there are only about a dozen curries. I was offered a chicken, fish, and mutton gravy. The mutton gravy, ‘Mere Hum Dum Mere Gosht’, was an interesting combination of mutton in a tomato gravy with fried Okra. I loved the tender mutton and the rich gravy, but the oily, deep-fried Okra didn’t quite work for me. The Chicken dish was also slightly off-beat – ‘Aftaab’s Grand Masti’ is a mild saffron infused gravy with chicken chunks wrapped in an omelette.
The final notes of the lavish dinner were provided by Doodhi ka Halwa and Kulfi. The former is a milk and sugar reduction of Bottle Gourd that’s supremely satisfying. Kulfi, which is a traditional Indian icecream, arrived as slices on a plate, instead of the traditional ice-cream stick. There are two flavours on offer – Chocolate and Paan. While the Chocolate flavour was quite good, it was the Paan flavour that really bowled me over. The prominent flavour of the beetle leaves accompanied by typical ingredients of a paan (with the exception of beetle nuts) succeeded in recreating the pleasure of finishing off a heavy meal with a well crafted Paan.
Kebab Theater is open only for dinner and a meal for two will cost around three thousand.