Restaurant Review: Barbeque Nation, Thane
Muted interiors in brown greet you as you enter the Thane outlet of Barbeque Nation. The outlet, which has an indoors and an al fresco section, has a seating capacity of 145. On the Saturday night that we visited, all the tables were occupied and even when we left at 10 pm, a good number of people were waiting to get in.The concept of Barbeque Nation is unique. The highlight of Barbeque Nation is the grill they fit in the center of each table. It’s an absolute delight for fans of grilled food.
Barbeque Nation is hit among non-vegetarians but it doesn’t result into them ignoring the humble ghaas phoos eaters such as yours truly. I really appreciate the numerous options they had for vegetarians. What they are essentially saying is that their vegetarian patrons are equally important to them. This philosophy is frequently missing among many restaurants which are known for their meat dishes.
The starters began to arrive as soon as we had settled down. An assortment of marinated vegetables and other items on iron skewers was the first. So we have mushrooms, capsicum, cottage cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, and also, surprisingly, chunks of corn cob! Then came Dahi ke Sohote (sweet batter fried stuffed veggies), gold coins (crisp fried potatoes), paneer (spiced cottage cheese which was the right degree of firm and soft). Then they served one of their specialties – Crispy Corn. Batter fried corn? It was genius, really. I would have never conceived of such a thing. They tasted lovely – crunchy and corn-y. Haha. Then came another special appetizer – Spicy Paneer, which was a disappointment. There wasn’t enough spice to justify its name – in fact, it was completely bland from the inside and needed proper marinating).
The cool thing about Barbeque Nation is the customisation it offers. A tray containing various tiny bowls of sauces and dips (soy sauce, mayo, etc) is placed on the table. You are free to marinate the veggies according to your preferences using a brush. And some time after all the starters are served, the chef drops by your table and enquires whether everything is to your liking. He can take your feedback and spice levels into consideration and go back and get you custom-made starters for you.
As for the mocktails – they have a lovely selection and are affordably priced. Chocolate Monk was a smooth blend of chocolate, cream, hazelnut and ice cream. What’s not to love?! Pacific Blue was a cooling mix of litchi, lemonade and blue curaco. Cranberry Cooler, a combination of ginger, lime and of course, cranberry was rather nice. Lady in Red was strawberry based and got my approval. In the Fruit Punch, the dominant flavour was that of apple and was the only mocktail I didn’t really like.
At Barbeque Nation, you are spoilt for choice. And what invariably happens is that they really pamper you with the starters. A quick inspection of the buffet table and it was clear that the mains would sort of be skipped in favour of the array of deserts on display. I mean, who wants to eat stuff like Aloo Capsicum and Dal Makhni when cheesecakes and fruit tarts slyly beckon you to come savour them! So I just had a little bit of Moroccan Harira soup, rice and Choliya te Paneer before loading up my plate with deserts. Before you think I’m greedy, let me tell you that they had nearly eight to ten sweet dishes and even though I took just enough of everything to taste, my plate seemed quite loaded!
Shots of creamy Mango Pudding with pieces of real mango in them, piping hot Angoori Gulab Jamun, Phirni (perfectly light and sweet), bite sized Chocolate Walnut Brownies, garma garam Dudhi ka Halwa (not overtly sweet), Chocolate Pastry, Banana Cheesecake, watermelon slices, Vanilla ice cream and tiny, adorable Mix Fruit Tarts were the options. At one point during the dinner, I was so exasperated, I said, “Tasting is a tough job. There’s so much to eat!’
Was quite full by then but then we realised that there was a live pasta counter in the al fresco section. I mean, how is anybody supposed to resist that? So off we went, and had ourselves a lovely plate of white sauce pasta. The chef made it as we wanted – abundant mushrooms, broccoli and bell peppers, extra herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley) and a generous amount of cheese. Needless to say, the pasta was divine.
Throughout the meal, the service was prompt and polite. The only thing Barbeque Nation can work on is the music. ‘Hey Macerena’ doesn’t quite cut it!
All in all, Barbeque Nation gets a double thumbs up from me!
Disclaimer: This writer and her companions were guests of Barbeque Nation for this particular meal.