Located in the culturally diverse hub that is Calgary’s north east, this eatery serves up Middle Eastern and Pakistani fare. The decor is a reflection of the overall theme of this place – simple yet not drab. The shishas and paintings on display are only further accentuated by an out of place gum ball machine.
This visit revolved around the Afghani cuisine on the menu and our order consisted of:-
- Seekh Kabab
- Chapli Kabab
- Tandoori Chargah
- Kabab-e-Tabaq Special (Chicken Kabab, Tikka Kabab and Shami Kabab on a bed of rice)
- Qabeli Rice
- Qabeli Naan
- And just to confuse things – Shrimp masala
The samosas were accompanied with a yoghurt side and a blended green chilli, garlic, onion, etc. chutney. The chutney was sensational – sweet and spicy complimenting the samosas. The mashed, spiced potato filling was flavourful albeit a bit spicy. It was a good start. A simple salad, which was fun to pick at while waiting for subsequent courses, was provided.
Seekh Kabab! Tender! Juicy! Melt in your mouth! A hint of tandoor flavours made this dish amazing.
Chapli Kabab was slightly bland (not hot enough) by chapli standards. The spices were good and the lingering aftertaste was pleasant.
The Chargah chicken is a deep fried, tandoor roasted chicken with a crusty and crispy exterior. Select pieces were just right – moist and tender. Mostly the spice crusted chicken was dry and overdone.
The Chicken Kabab was quite good. The spices were exciting and having been cooked just right, were just aptly moist and tender. The Tikka Kabab is not great, tough and chewy. Shami kabab is apparently Seekh Kabab in Afghani!
Qabeli rice is always a treat. Here, a light cardamom fragrance emanated from the dish. The carrots were overdone and tasteless but the sweetness of the raisins always seems to make this rice special.
The naan is excellent! Crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. So good, a lot of it got devoured on its own as we waited for the dishes to arrive.
The shrimp masala as expected was not great. The masala itself was tasty but the shrimp were hardly evident. Ginger slivers were pleasing.
We sampled some lassis, both mango and sweet. The mango lassi was good but quite overpriced. The sweet lassi was ok. Too sweet and too light, rendering it unable to soothe the overheating taste buds.
The meal culminated in Kashmiri Chai. The sweet aroma of star of aniseed tickled the nostrils as the tea arrived. A couple of spoonfuls of sugar and this smooth milk tea provided a good end to the meal as we all sat back and relaxed.
The service here is slow but the polite and humble mannerisms of the staff make it a very familiar experience. I have to return to try the Pakistani dishes as the place had a constant stream of Pakistani customers, on a Wednesday night nonetheless. The ambient temperature was not comfortable and most of us had our coats on.
The menu is extensive and not everything is spectacular but it’s definitely worth taking a detour through here.
Kabab-E-Tabaq, 3132 26 Street Northeast #301, Calgary, (403) 966-6131, Map it.