Tikka Hut’s mix of cuisines is compared with any other in ABQ

Meat toppings for Tikka Hut’s pizza include lamb, beef kebobs and hen tikka. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

The menu at Tikka Hut, the new Indian fusion restaurant on Indian School, is both a travelogue and a heritage lesson.

It tells of historic trade routes involving India, Africa and the Center East, and the resultant culinary cross-pollination that affected each and every region’s delicacies. It is a position wherever falafel mingles with chutney, the pizza sauce carries a trace of curry and the African-model pili pili rooster is flavored with tikka spices.

The culinary mashups on display screen here mirror the qualifications of Hanif Mohamed, owner and operator of Tikka Hut’s two locations in Albuquerque. Mohamed grew up in Mombasa, an ancient port metropolis on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast that was a normal stop for Arab and Indian traders.

He made Tikka Hut’s menu with chef Dennis Apodaca, previously of Sophie’s Place, partly to show the Islamic influence on Indian delicacies. There are no curries on the menu, but the addictive spicy tomato sauce that underpins quite a few of the dishes starts off out that way prior to tomatoes are extra at the final minute.

Mohamed and Apodaca launched the first Tikka Hut final year at A single Central, the substantial mixed-use complicated that stands at the east finish of Downtown like a drydocked ocean liner. That spot reopened recently after COVID compelled a temporary closure.

Pili Pili chicken served family design and style with garlic and chile sauces, pickles and pita. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)
Falafel in chutney. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

The Indian University spinoff debuted earlier this yr in a building that at first housed an vehicle shop and fuel station. Vestiges of the building’s first profile continue to be, like the outline of the two bay doorways in entrance and the restrooms positioned on the aspect.

A roomy parking good deal encircles the making and a shaded patio wraps close to one particular corner. The dining space operates narrowly together the entrance side of the cafe the back side is offered more than to a large open kitchen area dominated by the pizza ovens from former tenant Da Vinci’s Gourmand Pizza.

A complimentary chips-and-salsa/chutney bar offers a preview of the cross-cultural experience to come. Alongside the familiar salsa fresca are two chutneys: a fiery purple one particular and a minty, vinegary inexperienced model. Following to the chips stands a self-serve device that dispenses two types of aguas frescas.

A bowl of hummus ($5.69) served with pita triangles typifies Tikka Hut’s blend of the common and inventive. The silky texture and stability of garlic and nutty tahini is what you be expecting in a excellent hummus the jolt of acid delivered by a pile of pickled cauliflower and the crunch from fried chickpeas sprinkled on top rated are a welcome surprise.

The exact same inventiveness turns up in a serving of Falafel ($5), a few floor chickpea balls crisp and walnut-brown on the outside, vivid eco-friendly and herbaceous on the within. Tahini sauce is the typical choice with falafel, but Tikka Hut’s version matches it with two chutneys that sharpened the boring flavor of the fritters. The chutneys also boosted a serving of Pakoras ($6.99), a well-known Indian street meals produced with veggies dipped in chickpea batter and fried. The onion edition offered beefy slices of onion in a crisp however ethereal coating, with tiny spurs of fried dough to maintain onto when dipping into the chutneys beneath.

The plates in this article motivate sharing. Pili Pili Rooster ($8.99-$19.99), a dish of Portuguese-African origin which is also known as peri peri or piri piri, arrived chopped up on a tray with pita triangles, pickles and garlic sauce. The chicken is marinated in tikka spice, garlic, ginger and eco-friendly chile, and then roasted and concluded on the grill. It arrives out with an pretty much blackened skin. The meat was moist and garlicky, and the spice rub remaining my tongue tingling.

Tikka Hut serves up a significant pizza pies in 12- and 16-inch variations ($13.99-$19.99). You can also get them by the slice ($3.75-$5.25). Our meat model sported a crackling, bubbled rim browned from the oven. There was very good harmony involving the cheese and a tomato sauce significantly much more complicated and spicier than your common marinara. The toppings of chicken tikka, beef kebobs and braised leg of lamb were excellent. Of be aware was the juicy and slipping-apart tender lamb.

Tikka Hut also provides a selection of kebobs priced from $11.99 to $13.99. The proteins are also offered in rolls, bowls, tacos and tostadas.

Leaving the eating home takes you previous of screen scenario of ice creams that Mohamed phone calls kulatos, a hybrid of gelato and kulfi, the Indian frozen dessert. Mohamed informed me he harbored terrible recollections of having nearly impenetrably dense kulfi as a child, and with the kulatos he has exorcized these demons. The ice product is as gentle as gentle serve but even creamier and the flavors, like French vanilla and dulce de leche, are powerful. My beloved was the mango. You are going to regret it if you don’t get some residence.

Lots of of the merchandise are gluten-absolutely free, such as the pili pili rooster. There are vegetarian and halal alternatives too. Mohamed has applied for a liquor license and hopes to be serving beer and wine inside of a thirty day period.

Tikka Hut’s mix of cuisines is not like any other restaurant in the town. Pretty much everything is manufactured in property and, far more importantly, produced effectively. It warrants to be found.

Trisha Anderson

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