July 5, 2022

AmericanHummus

Food & Travel Enthusiast

Tikka Hut’s combine of cuisines is not like any other in ABQ

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

The menu at Tikka Hut, the new Indian fusion cafe on Indian School, is equally a travelogue and a background lesson.

It tells of historical trade routes concerning India, Africa and the Center East, and the resultant culinary cross-pollination that motivated each individual region’s delicacies. It is a spot exactly where falafel mingles with chutney, the pizza sauce carries a hint of curry and the African-fashion pili pili rooster is flavored with tikka spices.

The culinary mashups on screen below replicate the history of Hanif Mohamed, operator and operator of Tikka Hut’s two locations in Albuquerque. Mohamed grew up in Mombasa, an ancient port city on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast that was a regular halt for Arab and Indian traders.

He constructed Tikka Hut’s menu with chef Dennis Apodaca, previously of Sophie’s Spot, partly to reveal the Islamic impact on Indian delicacies. There are no curries on the menu, but the addictive spicy tomato sauce that underpins a lot of of the dishes commences out that way just before tomatoes are extra at the previous moment.

Mohamed and Apodaca launched the first Tikka Hut past 12 months at One Central, the massive mixed-use intricate that stands at the east stop of Downtown like a drydocked ocean liner. That place reopened just lately after COVID pressured a short-term closure.

Pili Pili hen served spouse and children type 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 College spinoff debuted before this calendar year in a constructing that at first housed an car shop and gas station. Vestiges of the building’s primary profile stay, like the define of the two bay doors in front and the restrooms found on the facet.

A roomy parking great deal encircles the developing and a shaded patio wraps around a single corner. The eating region operates narrowly together the entrance facet of the restaurant the back side is presented more than to a substantial open up kitchen area dominated by the pizza ovens from previous tenant Da Vinci’s Gourmet Pizza.

A complimentary chips-and-salsa/chutney bar provides a preview of the cross-cultural encounter to come. Together with the acquainted salsa fresca are two chutneys: a fiery red just one and a minty, vinegary inexperienced version. Upcoming to the chips stands a self-provide equipment that dispenses two versions of aguas frescas.

A bowl of hummus ($5.69) served with pita triangles typifies Tikka Hut’s blend of the acquainted and inventive. The silky texture and balance of garlic and nutty tahini is what you hope in a superior hummus the jolt of acid shipped by a pile of pickled cauliflower and the crunch from fried chickpeas sprinkled on best are a welcome shock.

The same inventiveness turns up in a serving of Falafel ($5), a few floor chickpea balls crisp and walnut-brown on the outdoors, vivid green and herbaceous on the inside of. Tahini sauce is the frequent solution with falafel, but Tikka Hut’s version matches it with two chutneys that sharpened the boring taste of the fritters. The chutneys also boosted a serving of Pakoras ($6.99), a common Indian road food items made with veggies dipped in chickpea batter and fried. The onion version offered beefy slices of onion in a crisp nevertheless airy coating, with small spurs of fried dough to keep on to when dipping into the chutneys underneath.

The plates right here stimulate sharing. Pili Pili Hen ($8.99-$19.99), a dish of Portuguese-African origin that’s also identified as peri peri or piri piri, arrived chopped up on a tray with pita triangles, pickles and garlic sauce. The rooster is marinated in tikka spice, garlic, ginger and environmentally friendly chile, and then roasted and finished on the grill. It will come out with an practically blackened pores and skin. The meat was moist and garlicky, and the spice rub still left my tongue tingling.

Tikka Hut serves up a hefty pizza pies in 12- and 16-inch versions ($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 concerning the cheese and a tomato sauce considerably far more elaborate and spicier than your average marinara. The toppings of chicken tikka, beef kebobs and braised leg of lamb were being excellent. Of take note was the juicy and slipping-apart tender lamb.

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

Leaving the eating area usually takes you earlier of exhibit situation of ice lotions that Mohamed calls kulatos, a hybrid of gelato and kulfi, the Indian frozen dessert. Mohamed informed me he harbored poor memories of ingesting almost impenetrably dense kulfi as a youngster, and with the kulatos he has exorcized those demons. The ice cream is as gentle as gentle serve but even creamier and the flavors, such as French vanilla and dulce de leche, are extreme. My preferred was the mango. You will regret it if you really do not consider some house.

Many of the goods are gluten-totally free, together with the pili pili hen. There are vegetarian and halal choices as well. Mohamed has used for a liquor license and hopes to be serving beer and wine inside of a month.

Tikka Hut’s blend of cuisines is in contrast to any other cafe in the town. Just about every little thing is produced in dwelling and, more importantly, created well. It deserves to be recognized.