Restaurant Review: Cafe Kabul
Cafe Kabul is one of the latest in a series of ethnic restaurants that have been dotting the Columbus landscape. As the name implies, its focus is on Afghan food. Much of the menu will seem somewhat familiar to those who know Indian or Middle Eastern food, but twists abound.
The appetizer lineup benefits from a dish (buranee bonjon, $4.89) made with slices of eggplant, which are fried soft then covered with a mint-flavored yogurt and mild tomato sauce and served with flatbread.
Another offbeat appetizer uses okra sauteed with onions and a small amount of tomato. The dish is handled well and the okra pieces maintain their texture without turning slimy. It's served with bread ($4.39).
One of the more unusual entrees is peshawari kebabs ($9.49). Rounds of minced beef are seasoned with fried onions, cilantro and chili pepper, and fried dark and crisp. They're accompanied by basmati rice. A cruet of yogurt and coriander can add more seasoning.
Another unusual dish, kabuli pallow ($9.49), consists of chunks of well-roasted, mildly seasoned lamb in a mound of basmati rice decorated with raisins and strips of carrot soaked in syrup. As with all of the entrees, there's a side of iceberg-lettuce salad with a bottled dressing.
The beef seekh kebab ($8.99) is seasoned much more mildly than the typical Indian and Pakistani varieties. The main spicing in the meat, which is grilled on a skewer, comes from onion. The kebab really benefits from the coriander sauce that comes with it.
House-made desserts include julabi ($2.49), made by deep-frying strings of dough and steeping them in syrup. The dish is crisp, sweet and rich.
A meaty version of baklava is well-furnished with chopped walnuts ($1.98).
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2831 Olentangy River Rd., Campus