“I love Indian food – it’s my favourite cuisine. I love the mixture of spices and the subtle flavours. It’s really erotic; the spices are so sensuous.” – Joe Perry
Umraan, which means prosperity in Arabic is a merely four-month old quick service restaurant (QSR) serving contemporary Indian cuisine that promises to revive the rich and vivid flavours of the long forgotten rustic Indian spices and flavours while simultaneously adapting to the changing trends in the modern food culture. While doing so, it also focuses on creating an awareness about healthy eating amongst the people by using healthier cooking methods like pan-searing or tandoor and using minimal oil or cream without compromising on the flavours. Having said that, this being the first venture by the Kitchen management trainee from IHM Chennai – Chef Albana (who co-owns the restaurant with Mr. Rahul and another partner) is now all set to revolutionize the QSR scene in Bandra!
Umraan is very thoughtfully and cutely styled for a very small area that it’s spread across; indeed an example of space management well done, especially for the an eatery with a QSR concept! The bold logo bearing the face of a tiger, predominantly wooden decor, well lit and clean interiors, an insight into the concept of Umraan on one of the walls and comfortable seating arrangements; all give out cosy vibes.
This was an interesting twist given to the usual chickpea hummus using rajma or kidney beans. The vivid mellowed down pungency, heated taste and a delicate nutty flavour imparted by garlic ensured perfect execution of this unusual twist! The crunchy, thin and light bagel crisps accompanying the hummus instead of the usual pita bread, encouraged us to go on and on till we wiped the plate clean.
The other vegetarian appetizers that we sampled and absolutely loved included the surprisingly chatpata and mildly spicy Gobi Surprise that revealed a cheesy centre and the moist and flavourful Desi Tikki with a relatively crisper pan-seared crust also containing some sweet corn that imparted some crunch element to it. Both, the Videsi Paneer and the Paneer Pataka, well seasoned as they were, could have been a better treat had they been softer consistency wise in my opinion.
Amongst the non-vegetarian appetizers that we sampled, the moderately spicy and juicy Chicken Pataka; the aromatic and flavourful Kukdukoo also revealing faint smoky notes; the Twisted CT being their version of minced chicken tikka incorporated with cheese in the centre; the fiery hot and tender Yenna Chickena, courtesy the south indian spices used to craft this one and lastly, the Chicken Masti letting out a bright, citrusy and minty freshness and a mild spicy flavour were all equally good!
Chicken Bhuna biryani
While the faint sweet notes of cooked onions in the bhuna masala was very evident, it completely missed out on the smoky notes that a Dum biryani is supposed to have and also on the characteristic moderately spicy flavour that the bhuna masala is supposed to render. As a result, this turned to be quite a bland preparation for even a person like me who generally prefers a delicately flavoured and aromatic biryani over an excessively spicy one.
Chicken Kofta Curry Meal
While the succulent and juicy koftas made of minced chicken and the smooth, aromatic and mildly spicy gravy that they were dunked in were both a hit, the tadka dal was a bit too tangy to be perfect. The light, fresh and supple laccha paratha with a crispier edge could be easily manipulated into bite-sized morsels, thereby turning out to be a very good accompaniment for the curry.
Chicken Bhuna Pav
The Chicken kheema was perfectly moist, flavourful and moderately spicy with mild tangy notes and a hint of sweetness of the onions; all courtesy the use of robust and fresh bhuna masala used to craft this one.
This one comprised of chole cooked in a smooth, bright green and fresh spinach based gravy with a characteristic slimy texture like that of a saag. The fact that they quite effectively masked the faint lingering bitter taste of spinach in this preparation also deserves an applause. The spinach-lover in me was absolutely marvelled by the deliciousness of this dish.
We also sampled a few of the appetizers in their easy-to-eat wrap avatars. While the the aromatic and flavourful Kukdukoo having faint smoky notes wrapped in a Laccha paratha and the Yenna chickena in a thin and supple Herb wrap composed of maida and fresh herbs were both a hit; the Chicken Masti filling turned out to be too dry to complement the Nachni wrap that it was enveloped in, well. Conclusively, I would suggest that you definitely try the nachni wrap, but with a relatively moist preparation of chicken stuffed within.
These spongy, soft and syrupy rasgullas prepared with a red-velvet twist were an absolute delight to taste as they weren’t excessively sugary sweet but at the same time captured the essence of the dessert very well.
Absolutely creamy, uber soft, cold and rich Rasmalai that this was, flavouring this milk based dessert with mixed berries simply took it to yet another level of awesomeness; courtesy the well balanced vibrant, sharp, tart and sweet notes that the resultant dessert had.
While the Imli Mojito was a refreshing and cool concoction with a sweet and sour flavour, the Pataka Cola was simply addictive owing to it’s wonderful tangy and spicy flavour.
The service was just as speedy and prompt as it’s supposed to be in a quick service restaurant. Chef Albana and Mr. Rahul were both very friendly, kind, warm and welcoming hosts.
Food quality – 4/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Service – 4/5