Kashmiri Dinner @ Kongpoush

Celebrations for my job confirmation were not over yet. Last September, I threw a party for my paternal family and then took a break to save money for the other half of my family. It was high time as I was close to completing two years with L&T Infotech. So we took them out to Kongpoush – the flavor of Kashmir – at Goregaon.

When eating out, we usually burden my mom with the ordering task, and so she prefers buffets as against a-la-carte when dealing with a large crowd. There are quite a lot of buffets on offer, but very few meet the budget and the apetite. My dad’s friend Milind Tawde along with Burrp were quite helpful finding places. I called up the place to check out the deal, and Sunil Mattoo, the proprietor, told me that they served thaals (thali in Kashmiri, Pahadi, I dont know which language). We went ahead with a booking for 12.

The interiors are not just about the ambience, but portray a novell concept. Shikara or wooden house boats are built on the 1st floor to accomodate 4-12 people; we had one of those reserved for us. The walls in the basement flaunt testimonials from the media and Burrp itself; Kongpoush sure has a lot of friends in the media. The menu card was also well-made with brief description to everything offered. What however took us some time to understand, was the Kashmiri lingo that was used throughout. What was new to me was that Kashmiri culture flaunts a 35 course meal, and the extensive use of lotus stem in Kashmiri cuisine.

My mom also spoke to him a couple of times but the deal wasn’t really clear. Selected items from the a-la-carte menu were used to compile Thaals: the veg costs 279, and non-veg variants from 329 to 399 depending on the mix of veg, kukor (chicken) and maaz (mutton) gravies. Vegetarians start of with deep fried lotus stem and palak pakoda, while non-vegetarians with chicken kebab or mutton chop depending on the thaal. We found the mutton to be half-cooked but Sunil claims that it is impossible after the marination and some initial cooking in milk. That was the end of the starters, there could have really been another.

The main course served 4-5 gravies along with unlimited rotis/naan (served very slow) and rice. Each of the gravies had its own unique taste; I just loved the rajma, white chiken and mutton. One of the mutton gravies was disliked as it simply had a kebab dipped in gravy, very dry on the inside. Service was extremely poor, people kept waiting for bread. Although the menu card features 4 desserts, gulab jamuns & ice-cream were unavailable. Only a couple of people opted each for the phirni and shufti (nothing but panchamrut in our cuisine). My aunt, Vibhuti, liked the phirni and parceled a few. The best came last: Kahwa, Kashmiri herbal tea that aids digestion (it was really required after all that).

Great ambience & authentic taste are the real USPs of Kongposuh; the food was rich in taste and oil-free. Although not unlimited, served quantity was ample. But along with poor service, it wasn’t total value for money. What we paid here for a dozen was much more than what we have been paying for the same crowd when eating a-la-carte. Anyway, all for that amazing shikara experience!

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Kashmiri Dinner at Kongpoush