First published in Bangalore Mirror.
“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” Thus goes the quote, and it should apply to any dish. But with the advantage of hindsight, I think we should have started with the Murgh Hussaini Shorba or at least tried the Kadhi Pakora later – the former for chicken soup’s bestselling association with the soul, and the latter for the restaurant’s name. They probably contained the soul connection that we missed in our entire meal. In fact, such was the standard of the fare that, several times during the meal, an (almost) homonym flashed through my mind – kadi. It means ‘bite’ in Tamil and Malayalam and also has a genre of jokes named after it. The next few paragraphs should provide ample explanation of why this thought crossed my mind!
Soul Kadhi is housed in the same building as ‘Under the Mango Tree‘. (link has a location map) It’s a small lane but you should find a place to park without much difficulty. Valet parking exists too. The decor is friendly enough, and those winnows on the ceiling are a nice touch. The music was all 90s Bollywood evoking bouts of nostalgia. Just loud enough to be heard clearly, but subtle enough to allow conversation.
Though there were soups in the menu, and some chaats as well, the starters sounded more promising and provided more options. So we began with the Banarasi Seekh Kabab. Soul – holy city – auspicious start, you know. Though presented well, they turned out to be like cutlets in taste, and some parts were burnt as well. The overall crumbliness didn’t help either. The Tangari Kabab had a marinade that wasn’t really bad, but its interiors hadn’t been introduced to the masala. In fact the interiors didn’t seem to have been introduced to cooking in general. The Murgh Gilafi Seekh was particularly bland and the mint chutney didn’t seem interested enough to save it either. By this time, we were ready for a fight, and the Pind Baluchi Tikka proved a worthy opponent. It put up a solid battle against our collective ravaging canines and proved to be a tough opponent! Despite its faults, the Mahi Tikka Ajvaini stayed true to its origins. The fish was salty enough for us to believe that sea water had actually seeped into its very soul. More