Pakistani Restaurant Kabab & Curry along Jupiter Serves Some of the Best Brains in Metro ManilaJanuary 14, 2015
The lines that define Pakistani cuisine are a culinary blur. It is a murky, delicious smudge of various South Asian flavors: intense, pleasantly funky food you wouldn’t want to have on your first date, and heavy-handed with spices and chilies that you’ll turn into a sweating son of a gun. Unless, of course, you request they serve the dishes “mildly spiced”, which is not a good idea if you’re dining with a group of friends who are ready to get their pits wet and their noses stuffy.
Kabab and Curry along Jupiter Street in Makati is an overlooked Pakistani restaurant that deserves as much (if not, even more) attention than that new haute-fusion-whatever hole in the wall. It is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge restaurants by their fonts or signage or décor, because the food will blow you away. It is some of the best South Asian grub we’ve had in the Metro.
Our meal starts with two vegetable masala dishes: cholla (chickpeas) and bhindi (okra). Chickpeas are cooked into a stew, with the sauce thickening as it cools, forming that thin, starchy skin we like to pick on. They are generous with the spice, and hints of garlic, ginger, and fried brown onions linger alongside hefty cumin flavors.
If you swore on your life that you would never lay a hand (rather, your tongue) on okra, you will break your vow with the bhindi masala. There’s none of that gross, mucous-like explosion; instead, it is inoffensive. A bit slippery, but chopped into small sizes, which I believe is great for such a frightening vegetable because okras sport weird texture and bite. The way they cook okras here is approachable and innocuous. There are high chances you will become an okra covert by the time you leave this restaurant.
Hearts are at the cusp of breaking and fists almost slam the table when we were told that a Mutton Brain Masala might be unavailable—good thing it was, though, because damn, were those brains delicious. We fought over them—no polite “oh, please take the last bite” passed around. We were at a silent war fueled by greed, shoveling as much brains as we could down our maws, onto our plates like we haven’t consumed anything for a week. It was gone even before the Bolloywood music video playing at that time ended, and all we were waiting for was someone to lick the plate clean. This is a star dish. Do not forget to order it.
Other items we ordered were a mutton biryani, which had a bit too much cardamom, but when eaten with haleem turned into a tasty discovery. Haleem is a lentil dish cooked with meat (we ordered chicken haleem), slow-cooked until all the flavors meld together into a sticky, savory goop. A chicken tikka was a bit too dry, but still flavorful; the chilies are stubborn and refuse to leave your palate. Whatever tamarind and yogurt sauce it had does not ease the burn.
Kheer is one of my favorite desserts in the world. Actually, my lunch companions that day said it was just alright, so let’s just say I might be a bit biased to rice pudding. Rice is boiled in sweetened milk, and spiced with a bit of saffron and cardamom. It is often garnished with pistachios, almonds, cashew, sweet boondi, or raisins (more modern versions of the dessert come with dried or fresh fruits or flower petals).
If brains didn’t impose such a caloric health hazard, you’d find me there at least thrice a week with masala dripping down my mouth and chin, hovering over as much surface area of the plate as possible so I wouldn’t have to invite you to come sit with me and share. Another great thing: they deliver for free in Makati and other areas for large orders. I am very much looking forward to our next team lunch.
Have you eaten at Kabab & Curry? What was your favorite dish? Make us hungry with a comment below!
This review was conducted solely by the author, who did not accept any form of cash advertising, invitation, sponsorship or payment. It was paid for by the author or Pepper.ph, and the views represented are purely the writer’s own. It is based on one anonymous visit to the restaurant.
Kabab & Curry
Address: 20 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati City