An Indian night out usually means lots of curry, naan bread and a mouth flaming from hot spices. A night out at the Indian restaurant Taal can certainly end that way, but with the menu’s contemporary and imaginative offerings, you can expect so much more. From appetizers to desserts, the team, with a little help from Indian celebrity Chef Kunal Kapoor, has created enticing dishes that take you beyond what you know about Indian food.
“The contemporary Indian dishes that you will find on our current menu are very different from any other Indian restaurant in Kuwait,” said Hospitality Manager, Nikita Kohli. “We basically changed the entire menu from the dishes to the design.”
Kohli, whose father is part owner in Taal’s holding company Al Sabah & Kohli General Trading and Contracting Company, has had experience with the restaurant since its inception. She worked as part of the serving staff during weekends and during her school holidays, despite her young age. When she completed her bachelor’s degree in hospitality and marketing at the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland, she came home and took over operations.
The Taal concept was based on contemporary Indian cuisine, but the menu she started with didn’t have enough of a twist. So, with the help of her chefs she trimmed down the menu from 132 dishes to 82 that “took the word ‘contemporary’ seriously.” Our evening at Taal proved the new additions are a smashing success.
As soon as we stepped from the brown setting of Al Bida’a into the rich reds and purples of the chairs and cushions inside the restaurant, with gorgeous chandeliers overhead, we knew we were in for a treat. Once seated we were immediately offered complementary mango chutney, mint sauce and slightly spicy mixed pickles with crispy papadums.
One of the greatest things about Taal is their extensive appetizer menu. We started with a fig and feta cheese salad that had our taste buds dancing with pleasure. The fig chutney offered the perfect blend of sweet and spicy balanced with rocket leaves and heirloom tomatoes. Their signature starter dish, the Malai prawn, is not to be missed either. The small shrimps topped with butter, garlic, cream and onion seeds are succulent and juicy and a definite crowd pleaser. For the vegetarian lovers don’t miss out on the Mali mushroom bruschetta, garlic bread topped with mushroom and white sauce bursting with Indian spices.
Love your food served on a flaming sword? Then try the Potli Kabob. The spiced minced chicken is cooked in a tandoor and wrapped in chicken breast. Your server will bring the delicious pieces to the table pierced on a skewer with lemons and tomatoes and a flaming base.
When it comes to main dishes, Taal’s chefs have given the traditional a mouth-watering zest. Their Kabob-e-barq is the usual chicken tikka with an extra tang in their pomegranate juice and black cardamom marinade. Biryani is raised to a whole new level with their special raita yogurt, made with cucumbers onions and tomatoes and biryani gravy. Or try the house favorite, the Murg Makhni, chicken tikka served with gravy made of the traditional Indian seed fenugreek and silky tomato sauce. They’ve even given the popular naan bread a special twist by adding thyme, for a unique taste you are bound to crave later.
By the time dessert arrived, we were stuffed and wondered how we could fit one more bite in. The orange peel kulfi, a homemade Indian ice cream, was beautifully presented in four pieces on orange peel slices. Within moments three were gone, and our palates were singing Taal’s praises.
If you want to really test the chefs at Taal, we would suggest hiring them to cater your next big event. The restaurant is perfect for a casual meeting over a meal, or an event in their private dining section. However, their catering department offers an array of options that are personally tailored for each event.
At a recent Hawaii-themed event the chefs put together a live cooking station where they enticed the guests with grilled mushroom with garlic oyster sauce and spinach and ricotta cannelloni with oven baked parmesan. They created a dill marinated barbecue with New Zealand lamb chops and grilled tomatoes. Grilled chicken with smoked mozzarella and chicken hot dogs and beef burgers were also made for the guests. For those that were looking to customize their order from the grill, salmon and prawns were offered with the guest’s choice of marinade and served with delectable fresh vegetables.
Our experience at Taal proved that personal attention to great food defines a great dining experience. Every dish was bursting with exceptional flavors that took us far beyond what we knew about Indian food, because of Kohli’s involvement with the establishment and her team’s dedication to creating wonderful dining experiences.
Taal is located in the Al Bida’a restaurant strip in Gulf Rd, Salmiya and is open daily from 12 pm – 11:30 pm. For more information or reservations, call 2225 3142, connect with them on Facebook: TaalQ8, on Instagram or Twitter @taalq8.