Kabab Kolony

Quirky character is undermined by inconsistent food
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Time Out Says

As far as unfortunate names go, Kabab Kolony has to be up there with the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it). For anyone familiar with Charrière’s 1969 memoir Papillon, the word ‘colony’ evokes images of lepers or dangerous criminals. Not the most appetising of words, especially when spelled with a ‘K’ (as pointless and irritating as the word ‘krazy’).

It would be bad form to slate Kabab Kolony on account of annoying alliteration, but my concerns heightened when I arrived to find two of the three chefs in the open kitchen sat on the floor sending texts, while the other was clutching the hind legs of a plucked chicken with a confused look on his face. Well, at least we’d established that the chicken was fresh.

My date and I took a seat on the small mezzanine level, decorated with images of Bollywood idols and Indian soap advertisements, old-school gramophones and, worryingly, a pile of VHS cassettes (are they really old enough to be considered a kitsch ornament?). The menu, meanwhile, consisted of rolls, chicken boti (the schoolboy in me couldn’t help but titter), biryanis and burgers.

Our waiter did his best to talk us through the Indian fast food options, but recommendations such as a side of mutton for my chicken somewhat undermined his credentials. Yet we persevered and were soon joined by two polystyrene plates of fries and reassurances that our boti (chortle) would be with us soon. The boti (chortle) arrived in good time, providing welcome distraction from the brittle chips that had spent too long in the frier. I’d ordered the tikka boti, while my date ordered the Afghan variation.

After all that mirth, it transpired that chicken boti was simply chicken kebabs (‘boti’ does not refer to the style of cooking, just the dark chicken meat used on the skewer). They were decent enough, though after a few swaps with my date, neither had been sufficiently marinated for us to tell the difference. The biryani was marginally better – the ghee, cardamom and coriander made for a flavourful combination, though the rice was a little dry.

I also became frustrated with my inability to keep from overflowing my polystyrene plate. Surely eat-in customers deserve better tableware? The succession of chips, boti and biryani were enough to make me forget I’d ordered a chicken bihari wrap, which failed to appear; I’d have been annoyed had I not been uncomfortably stuffed.

What could have been a hidden gem for aficionados of Subcontinental street food, turned out to be an incoherent medley in everything from the decor to the menu to the service – which is why, in true Charrière fashion, we were pleased to make our escape from Kabab Kolony.

The bill (for two)
1x Chicken biryani Dhs16
1x Spicy BBQ fries Dhs6
1x Spicy fries Dhs6
1x Chicken tikka boti Dhs16
1x Afghani chicken Dhs18
1x Water Dhs3
1x Sprite Dhs4
Total (excluding service) Dhs69

By Oliver Robinson  | 30 Nov 2011

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Show number 04 358 3388
Dubai, Al Karama, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road, Karama,Opp. Spinneys supermarket, - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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