There can be nobody happier than me that deGustibus Hospitality’s restaurants are moving to Andheri West and around. First Indigo deli opened at the Inorbit Mall and now Neel at Veera Desai Road. The year has started on a gourmet note for sure!
The décor is minimalistic and simple and yet, spells class. The food at Neel is all about paying homage to the rich and evolved cuisine of old Muslim Nawabi families from Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Kashmir.
What appealed to me was the dash of modernity imparted to this otherwise traditional cuisine. A perfect amalgamation. Herbs and spices are carefully used to enhance the natural flavors of the food – not overpower them. The cuisine takes a lighter, modern approach to classic flavor combinations, creating sophisticated dishes that emphasize purity, simplicity, and seasonal flavors. Chef Mukhtar is truly a culinary wizard.
The menu, as always is varied, with something for every palate. The Murgh Pashtooni Shorba (a frontier style chicken broth), we started with, was the perfect beginning to our gastronomical journey that evening. The aromatic flavours were soothing. A soup could not get simpler and yet be so delicious.Gilawat ke kebab came next and tingled our taste buds. Melt in the mouth, this kebab is my all-time favourite, but sometimes chefs don’t do justice to it. At Neel, it was a winner. The herb marinated Murg tikka chaarbagh was a real delight and was an absolute palate-pleaser. Vegetarians vouched for the unique Nawabi Baingan Tikka(stuffed baby aubergine).
The slow cooked Kashmiri Gosht Roganjosh and of course the Kacche Gosht Ki Dum Biryani were the raison d’etre of our visit and wowed our palate as always. The varied Indian breads – bakhumaas and khamiri roti, paired well with the roganjosh and Kabul ki dal. The jhinga kairi panchforan was a pleasant surprise with its subtle spices and succulent prawns.
Only the desserts disappointed me. The angoori rabdi was a bit too watery while the saffron in the kesar rasmalai was extra, imparting a strange flavour to this otherwise delectable dessert.
The exhaustive menu apart, I am told, Neel will also serve fixed daily specials featuring a selection of exquisite, slow-cooked preparations like Dabba Gosht on Wednesday, Hyderabadi Haleem on Thursday and Nalli ki Nihaari and Kakori Kabab on the weekend. Got to go back real soon.