Ask any foodie about Barbeque Nation, and they’d probably have fond memories of dining there. It pioneered the concept of live grills on the table, and over the past decade of its existence, it has grown to become one of the most successful casual dines. In fact, it has lead to the creation of a new genre of all-you-can-eat diners with live grills.
It had been a while since I visited a Barbeque Nation outlet. When I walked into the Banjara Hills outlet, last week, I found that the branding had changed and the buffet had been tweaked. But once you peel the layers, the core premise remains the same. Great service, delectable grills, and a lavish buffet at an attractive price. The place was packed when I stepped in at 8:30 PM, and an hour later, as I was leaving I saw about a dozen diners waiting patiently for a table.
I was invited to try the ‘Aromas of Dakshin India’ food festival that’s being hosted at all Barbeque Nation outlets across AP and Telangana until Nov 12. The central space has been converted into an isle featuring live stations and main courses. Live stations were dishing out Panniyaram, Tawa Idli, Dosa (Paneer/Chicken) and more. You could pick your meat and veggies and have them fried and cooked to your liking. The grills and appetizers, which are the star at BBQN, have been tweaked to use marinades from the South. On offer were fiery Kodi Roast from Telangana, soft Tandoori Paal Katti (Paneer) from Tamil Nadu, delicate Meen Varuval and crispy Vazhaipoo Vadai (Banana flower coquette) from Kerala. The spice levels in most appetisers were higher than I recalled, but this should be perfect for the local palette. However, you can always request for the spice levels to be dialled down (or even up!).
The main course at the BBQN used to be an afterthought. In fact, it used to proudly say that ‘on some days main courses be damned’. That’s no longer the case though. The generic gravies have made way for distinct specialities like Mutton Rogan Josh, Fish Sukka Masala, and Chettinadu Chicken Curry. The tender, spicy mutton and the peppery, fiery chicken were both delicious. By now, I was quite stuffed. But, amidst the pastries, brownies, and ice creams, I spotted Elaneer Payasam and helped myself to a serving of it. The Tender Coconut Payasam was a tad too sweet, but still quite delish.
The Barbeque Nation buffet varies between Rs. 538 ++ to Rs.920 ++, depending upon the day and time. Barbeque Nation is the kind of place where you should walk in with a big appetite and absolutely pig-out. The food was quite exceptional, as was the service. The ‘Aromas of Dakshin India’ gets a thumbs up from me.