19/1 Queens Road Cross, Muniswamy Road, Bangalore.
Meal for two: Rs 500
“Indian, Arabian, Chinese” reads the board outside this expansive basement restaurant. Straight up, let me confess that I have never tried the Indian and the Chinese fare, nor do I intend to. It’s the slim Arabian selection that is worth repeat visits.
Start with the Mutton Chops (Rs 160), two chunky pieces dripping with all the glorious juices of pan-fried meat. It comes with a pudina chutney and a tomato-onion salan. Ta’aam does not do fancy, so use your fingers for the sheer delight of the experience.
But food is serious business, so next up, we suggest the Laham Mandi (Rs 295), described on the menu as rice and mutton steamed in a mandi (the chicken version being Rs 245). As with pulao, the rice and mutton are cooked separately and then assembled. The result is meat that falls off the bone at the slightest touch and individual grains of rice full of flavour, heightened further by the mutton broth that accompanies the dish.
Like the kababs from the region, this ‘pulao’ too goes easy on the spices. But the same doesn’t hold true for the Khichdi-Keema (Rs 135): While the khichdi (Rs 45, and also served as a standalone dish for vegetarians) is wholesome and subtle, I found the keema furiously, and eye-streamingly so, hot. Vegetarians, sadly, get the short shrift on the Arabian menu, but meat-eaters will be hard-pressed to find a more bang-for-their-buck deal. Finish the meal off with the Muzaffar (Rs 20), a passable rice pudding. It’s just the necessary full stop to a meal that is low on the frills and high on flavour.