Located behind the Calgary institution Chicken On The Way, Royal Kabab Express is definitely the healthier choice! The owner Eric Hosseini creates a variety of delectable Persian kababs accompanied by pita and/or rice sprinkled with sumac, a purple delight.
Having visited this place several times, my companion and I have found ourselves regularly ordering the same dishes. The Jujeh Chicken is outstanding! 4 pieces of chicken breast, grilled on a skewer and served with perfectly cooked basmati rice, a grilled tomato, green onion (raw), lime and two butter packets. Not knowing exactly what to do, we improvised, melting the butter into the rice for that added richness. This, combined with grilled tomato juices and the crunch and mild spiciness of the raw onion, made each spoonful of rice divine. The chicken breast was tender, moist and just exploding with Persian flavours. A sprinkling of sumac gave the chicken a little texture that caressed the tongue as the succulent pieces melted in the mouth.
The Kubideh Kabab is a spiced ground beef skewered delicacy and is served in twos here. The same rice combinations as the Jujeh are served with the platter but one can also get this as an extra long wrap; and if taken to go, make any hungry passerby’s mouth water. The meat is juicy and tender and is delicious with the pita. A combination of the Kubideh/Jujeh platter – Sultani – is perfect to share as most dishes here are not for the faint of appetite when ordered individually.
The only specialty drinks available are a few imported sodas and a persian yoghurt drink which is very much an acquired taste! If you are staying to eat, don’t be alarmed by the lack of service as Eric often acts as a one man show, but know that the food will definitely make up for both it and the persian music videos playing in the background. The decor is not exceptional although there is some local artwork on the wall that serves as a distraction.
Desserts are the standard baklavas and other common middle eastern desserts which are hard to go wrong with, especially for the sweet toothed.
Lamb shank is served as a specialty on Fridays over lunch and is usually sold out. The Persians seem to like it – it must be good! All said and done come for the food!
Royal Kabab Express, 20 14 Street Northwest, Calgary, AB, (403) 270-4323, Map it.