Bukhara is a classic Indian restaurant located at the heart of Kamal Ataturk Avenue, and it is home to one of the most authentic Indian tastes. Dating back almost two decades since its inception, Bukhara opens up on the 17th floor of the Iqbal Center. In an era of experimentation and fusion cuisine, Bukhara has stood strong with its signature dishes since the 90s and still offers that authentic kick to its customers.
The private elevator for the restaurant opens up to a small lobby where you can wait until you are seated. As you walk further inside, you will be greeted with a glimpse of the inner workings of the kitchen in the form of heated glass windows where the chefs prepare your tandoori.
Once you are seated, you can scroll through their extensive menu of Indian and Thai cuisines. As a starter, if you are feeling rather adventurous, you can order the roomali masala papad. If however, crunch is not to your liking then a spicy combination of chicken, cucumber and onions might just be what you need to kick off your dining experience. The murgh nawabi chaat also comes with two very unique sauces, one spicy and the other sour. You can also go with a less filling starter by choosing the Bukhara murgh roll which is made of chicken, onion, green chilli and is shallow-fried.
Once you are done with the appetisers, you can pick your main dishes. Bukhara has an incredible number of dishes to choose from which will no doubt make it hard for a first timer visiting the classic diner. The raan – e – Bukhara can be one of your less subtle picks of the night. It is a whole leg of lamb that is marinated with herbs and then pot roasted and topped off with a gravy and cashew nut paste. Definitely not a typical choice, but the clever use of different herbs blend well together, and it makes this dish worth trying. Bukhara also offers the classic Hyderabadi biryani. One of the most popular dishes of South India, this biryani is incredibly tricky to get right and is always a big challenge for cooks and chefs. The cherished biryani from the Mughlai family is prepared in a unique way and combines saffron, green chilli, curds, onion, nuts and mint. The meat is marinated lightly and layered with the rice and cooked on a varied range of heat. Bukhara's Hyderabadi biryani will make you feel like you are walking the streets of South India.
If you prefer vegetarian dishes, then definitely try out their daal Bukhara. Full of creamy butter, lentils and spices, the urad daal is reduced overnight to form a luxurious thick gravy. It is a classic North Indian dish complete with rice and Indian breads.
The restaurant has two talented chefs in the kitchen with experienced Head Chef Bachan Singh running the entire cooking process and Chef Raheem Shaikh assisting the head chef with creating new dishes. Both the chefs have good experience in Indian cuisine and are specialised in the Indian curry and tandoori departments.
Available for dessert is the 16th century delight of the grand Mughals, the kulfi. It is a rich and dense frozen dessert that melds into a creamy texture of gently simmered milk and is teased by toppings of aromatic pistachios and a hint of cardamom. You can also sample their gulab jamun which is made of deep-fried khoya dumplings. To round off your dining experience, you will receive a complimentary Bukhara shot, made of betel leaf, gulkand and shaken with vanilla ice cream and milk.
“Our menu is decorated with different types of kebab, fish, daal, coupled with vegetable raita and vegetarian and non-vegetarian biryani. We have worked hard to keep the prices affordable and are also plating special offers such as the kebab-e-thali which comes with different types of kebab, choices of naan and biryani and is available for the whole month of April on account of Pohela Boishakh,” said Mohammad Imam, the general manager of Bukhara.
Over the years, Bukhara has become a staple for gatherings and social events. The restaurant can accommodate 150 guests at a time and has a view that stretches from the airport all the way to Uttara. If you want authenticity in your Indian food, Bukhara is definitely worth visiting.
By Naveed Naushad
Photo courtesy: Bukhara