Mumbai’s Khiva restaurant comes to Pune and offers a variety of kebabs cooked in the traditional Bukhara style, along with other vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
You have kebabs, and then you have Bukhara-style kebabs, which you will find in Khiva, which sets it apart from most other kebab places. The process of slow cooking the kebabs is evident the moment you take the first bite of the starters served here.
Among the starters served to us were a range of chicken, mutton, mushroom and paneer kebabs. The Tandoori Mushroom is one dish worth mentioning, especially since it stands out even among the other non-vegetarian dishes. “It’s the magic of slow cooking,” explains Roshan Nichani, owner of Khiva, which is his second venture after the one in Mumbai.
Khiva, which was thrown open to the public on Sunday, July 2, specialises in Bukhara cuisine, aiming to transport you to the rugged terrain of the North West Frontier province. The décor and ambience is perfectly in sync with the food served here. “We have a traditional setup inside our kitchen which allows for the typical Bukhara kind of slow cooking and marinating,” Nachani says, as we are served the Barrah Kebab Lazeez, a mutton dish, which has undergone around 24 hours of marination and is Nichani’s personal favourite.
What made him choose the Bukhara cuisine? “We are exploring fusion foods and experimenting with Western cuisines, but there’s so much left to be explored in our own traditional cooking styles and dishes. The Bukhara cuisine is one such. I wanted to take it to people and thus started my first restaurant in Mumbai. The one in Pune was conceptualised owing to the success of Khiva in Mumbai,” Nichani answers, as he points to the chutneys on the table.
Khiva serves a range of chutneys — at least nine — along with its starters. Pudina, cheese, and tomato are just some of these. The one that made a mark was its tamarind-jaggery chutney, which went amazingly well with the starters. “This is our personal addition, and not necessarily a traditional Bukhara thing,” says the general manager at the restaurant, as the waiters serve us with a home-like insistence and an enthusiastic smile.
We stuff our tummies with the main course of Asli Dum Biryani and end with the ever-favourite Phirni. Overall, Khiva definitely features in the must-visit places for food lovers.