We’ve dined at Barbecue Delights a number of times with family and friends. Their very first branch near Lamcy Plaza is great value for money, with an authentic Pakistani buffet that costs AED 65 per head. However, I’ve never been to the newer branch that has opened up on the suave, sophisticated hub of Downtown Dubai.
I was invited for a review there last week, and was pretty blown away by the stark difference in the two branches. While Lamcy’s neighbor is rather old-school, bordering shabby, the Downtown version is beautifully spacious, and artfully decorated with quirky-cool relics from Pakistan. They even have lounging sofas at the front for when the weather is kinder.
Walking into the restaurant, my little munchkin got absolutely ecstatic seeing their kid’s corner at one end. The area has mini stools and chairs, a few educational toys and building bricks. My little one made a few friends, and was kept pretty occupied there. Barbecue Delights is definitely a family-friendly place.
The only downside at this branch is that the elaborate buffet only runs on the weekends, and the fancier space ups the price quotient to AED 85 per head. On a weekday, you have to go a la carte.
The menu is crammed with many Pakistani dishes we have come to know and love, and a few that were less familiar. Running through the menu, I also spotted many items that were definitely not Pakistani… they have an array of Arabic mezze that goes great with the grills, a number of thirst quenchers including an iced kiwi drink that is not seen very often on most menus, and lo and behold… Banoffee Pie!
However, as the name of the restaurant suggests, they specialize in grills. My personal favorites include the Chicken Reshmi Kebab (silky-smooth chunks of chicken marinated in an aromatic mix of green chilies, onion and garlic) and the classic Sheekh Kebab (skewered mutton mince accentuated with spices).
However, the crown goes to their Chicken Behari Kebab. These absolutely soft, succulent strips of chicken, marinated in red chili, cumin and other spices, is pure magic. How do they make chicken this soft?! On a cold winter’s day, a plate full of Chicken Behari with hot, greasy parathas would be a dream come true. I highly recommend this dish, do try it out!
We also had a very delicious Ginger Chicken Curry. The curry has a tomato and ginger base, a combination I’ve had before and one we often find under ‘Chicken Kadhai’ in any other Pakistani joint. However, the kadhai here is very different. We had their Mutton Kadhai, a deep brown, mildly spiced meaty curry. It tastes like a Rogan Josh minus the hit of heat and vinegar soreness. They tell us this is the authentic version of Pakistani Mutton Kadhai. I cannot judge as I have never travelled to Pakistan, but I personally prefer the standard tomato gravy base I’ve had elsewhere.
When it comes to the breads, they have quite a variety of options. I really liked the wheat naans; they were soft and spongy, yet earthy and robust.
We were hosted by the very friendly Mr. Mallik; the restaurant manager who also takes a keen interest in the kitchen given his culinary experiences in the past. He personally put together this towering Falooda for us. The Falooda here is the real authentic deal, layered with vermicelli and dotted with basil seeds. They use saffron kulfi in it, and not the commercial vanilla ice-cream. My daughter and I were having spoon wars over it.
Now here’s an interesting twist to our evening… dining in a Pakistani restaurant and hosted by such a well-informed Mr. Mallik, we took it for granted that he was from Pakistan and I asked him which province he belonged to. ‘Mumbai’ he smirks! Only in Dubai can you find an Indian managing a Pakistani place. As they say, universal brotherhood begins with the love for food.
It was great to be back at Barbecue Delights after such a long space of time, and the ambiance and service at the Downtown branch is an icing on the cake. If you really want to stretch that Dirham and eat a wide variety of Pakistani dishes, I’d suggest visiting them in the weekends. However, if you are ok to go a la carte and prefer to miss out on the mad weekend rush, weekdays are meant for you. Another heads up from Mr. Mallik… if you, like me, prefer it ‘Desi hot’, stick to the former branch at Lamcy. Given the clientele at the Downtown branch, most dishes here have skimmed on the spice quotient. Bon apetit!