KEBAB KONNER: SERVING HALAL FOOD IN BAGUIO CITY

Days nearing the holidays are supposed to be not-the-usual-busy-days, but the 23rd of December 2015 was different.  The legal minds at the Justice Hall of Baguio City were awashed and deluged with legal errands and so after being mentally exhausted, we just decided to “volt-in” for lunch. Joining me as the main cast for today’s food adventure are Judge Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriano, Prosecutor Nimia Peralta, Atty. Louella Navarro and Atty. Bernard Allan Angeles.  My relatively new clunker was supposed to drive us for this luncheon escapade but upon seeing Prosecutor Nimia’s new ride, we decided for her to play the role of a driver.  She played the role very well in just one take and I commend her for that.

We braved the traffic laden Session Road not knowing where to go and since Prosecutor Nimia was growing impatient, which is not supposedly part of her role as a driver, we feared that she will just drive us through Mc Donald’s and order fries since she earlier threatened that she was not hungry anyway. That would be the worst food adventure ever and so we all released a sigh of relief when Atty. Bernard quickly suggested that we try, tada….

kebab konner signage

KEBAB KONNER along Session Road, Baguio City.

I have seen this restaurant before but I never dared to try.  Now, let me see what this bhojanalay (restaurant in Hindi) has to offer, forgive me if I did not use the word correctly. 🙂

Most of the time that I pass through Kebab Konner, I see it like this…

first floor kebab konner
Kebab Konner’s First Floor for Casual Dining.

I usually see this empty so that was probably the reason that Kebab Konner never appealed to me.  I have this notion that if a restaurant is mostly empty, they are probably offering something that is not worth trying.  When I entered this hall, I was surprised that they actually have a second level for – calm dining. I was not able to take a photo of a sign outside which says:  “First Floor for Casual Dining, Second Floor for Calm Dining”.  Since I really don’t know what they meant by calm dining,  I took a deep breath, checked my heartbeat and made sure that I was calm before I went to the second floor.

second floor
Second floor of Kebab Konner. When we went there we felt the calmness. Very calm indeed.  The tables were empty except for two, we were occupying the second. They are probably mostly full during the evening. I don’t know, since this is my first time.
second floor 2 kebab
The guests from the first table were literally calm but when we arrived, the place became chaotic! hehe. I love the view here, the curtains and the pieces of furniture gave me the feel of something mediterranean, which I think what they were trying to achieve and they are successful with that.

Before we placed our orders, the paparazzis asked if they could take our photos and so we obliged just to avoid commotion…

pre lunch kebab
From left to right: Talent Manager and Movie Producer Judge Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriano, Make up artist and personal assistant to the stars Atty. Louella Navarro, chauffer Prosecutor Nimia Peralta, Celebrity Blogger Atty. Dexter Diwas, and High Fashen Male Model Atty. Bernard Allan “Shoti Garotti” Angeles.

The paparazzis were not satisfied with the first photo and so…

shoti kebab
The more high fashen vershen of Shoti Garotti came out.

Still not satisfied, a paparazzi took the inconvenience of taking an aerial view of us:

pa cute shot kebab

The management was about to kick us out so we hurriedly browsed at their menu and asked for their best sellers.  They have a wide range of entrees to choose from and you can easily navigate your way through this…

menu navigator kebab
We used this to guide us in placing our order plus the inputs of Judge Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriano who obviously came here not for the first time.

Let’s get to work and see what KEBAB KONNER has to offer:

For our appetizer, we had HUMMUS.  According to our menu navigator, this is a MUST TRY to complete your KEBAB KONNER experience.

humus kebab
The one in the oval shaped plate is, according to the menu, the best middle eastern dip made from freshly cooked chickpeas, pureed with tahini, garlic and lemon juice. In the basket is pita bread. I asked my lunch buddies’ opinion about the appetizer and they gladly weighed in. Atty. Angeles said he thinks the dip did not have much tahini on it and it would have been better with more tahini. Judge Glenda also noticed the fact that it had lesser tahini but she said she loved it that way. Atty. Navarro nodded for reasons I do not know. Prosecutor Nimia smiled and probably wondered where Tahini went. I pretended to know what tahini was up to. But while writing this article, here is what I found out – Tahini /tɑːˈhiːni/ (also tahina /tɑːˈhiːnə/; Arabic: طحينة‎) is an oily paste made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds used in North African, Armenian, Greek, Israeli, Cypriot, Iranian, Turkish, Iraqi, and Levantine cuisines. Tahini is served as a dip on its own or as a major component of hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva.

To me, whether it was with tahini or not and since I could not distinguish the difference, the HUMMUS appetizer was a winner. 🙂 I loved it and it stimulated my appetite for the main course, just like an appetizer would really do.

I did not know how to eat the HUMMUS but some of us devoured it by dipping the PITA BREAD into the HUMMUS or by spreading the HUMMUS to the PITA BREAD.  Here is what I did:

hummus spread
I spread the hummus on my pita bread and it changed my life.

Anyway, we had the following main entrees:

LAMB BIRYANI 

LAMB BIRYANI MUST TRY
LAMB BIRYANI @ KEBAB KONNER.

Tender lamb combined with Biryani rice mixed with special spices.  I love how another website described this to be a “festive dish”.  Accordingly, this is good for 2 to 3 persons if this is the only dish that you will order.  But considering that we had other orders, 5 of us experienced the tenderness of the lamb and the generous taste of the Biryani rice.  Indeed, this is a MUST TRY!

TANDOORI CHICKEN 

TANDOORI CHICKEN
TANDOORI CHICKEN @ KEBAB KONNER.

 According to the menu navigator, this one is a SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE.  I made my research on how they make this dish and learned that it was prepared with yogurt and spices.  It didn’t actually taste like yogurt and how weird would that be but had I known earlier, I would have tried my best to capture that “yogurty” taste.  Tandoori chicken is a dish originating in the Indian subcontinent. It is widely popular in South Asia,Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East and the Western world. The name comes from the type of cylindrical clay oven, a tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared.  Did I like tandoori chicken?  It did not win my heart but it was the dish that Prosecutor Nimia enjoyed because according to Judge Glenda – it was the most normal recipe from among those we ordered fitting for a non-adventurous-normal-palate like Prosecutor Nemia’s, our chauffeur. (wink wink)

LAMB KORMA

lamb korma
LAMB KORMA @ KEBAB KONNER.

In the menu, this is described as  boneless mutton mildly spiced cooked in Chef’s Special Gravy.  Why is it called LAMB KORMA? According to wikipedia – Korma (from Turkish kavurma), also spelled kormaaqormakhorma, or kurma, is a dish originating in South Asia consisting of meat or vegetables braised in a spiced sauce made with yogurt, cream, nut or seed paste.

With how Korma was defined, you can actually use other meat for this dish.  You can make chicken korma, turkey korma, pork korma or Kambing Korma? Up to you. 🙂

The menu did not indicate whether this is a must try or a specialty of the house but I liked it. Try it with chapati bread, but I gobbled mine with rice of course.

We also had – CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA,  I was not able to take a pic of the actual dish that we had but this is the closest I got that looked like the CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA at KEBAB KONNER…

Chicken_tikka_masala
Photo grabbed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tikka_masala

This is tandoori chicken tikka cooked in red tomato and onion gravy.  Judge Glenda loved it so much!  Accordingly, she liked the mix of flavors and the fact that the sauce is not over powering.  To put it simply, the meat and the sauce complement each other.  Perfect with chapati bread!

Your Kebab Konner experience will not also be complete if you won’t try their LASSI. You can have their lassi iced, sweet, or salted.  The staff recommended that we try it sweet and so we did.  Here is how it looks like…

lassi kebab
Sweet Lassi @ Kebab Konner. We wondered how a salted lassi would taste but I guess we were not up for that adventure during that time. Here is what you need to know about Lassi – Lassi (pronounced [ləs-siː]) (La’See) is a popular, traditional, yogurt-based drink from the Indian Subcontinent and originates from the Punjab. Lassi is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes, fruit. Traditional lassi (a.k.a., “salted lassi”, or simply, “lassi”) is a savoury drink, sometimes flavoured with ground and roasted cumin. Sweet lassi, however, contains sugar or fruits, instead of spices. Salted mint lassi is highly favoured in Bangladesh.
While we tried KEBAB KONNER’s sweet lassi, these two powerful and sweet ladies played it safe and opted to try KEBAB KONNER’s LEMON BLEND ICED TEA.

iced tea kebab
Public Attorney Louella Navarro with her nemesis Prosecutor Nimia Peralta about to enjoy KEBAB KONNER”s Lemon Blend Iced Tea. Asked about their iced tea experience, Atty. Navarro said that it is not the usual powdered iced tea mix served by fastfood restos. I guess she meant – you’ll get your money’s worth.

Here is what I think about my KEBAB KONNER experience:

PRICE:  Not bad!!  I loved the lassi experience and I am glad that it was affordable! You can just drop by their resto and be refreshed @ P100.00 per glass of lassi.   I dare you to skip your one day dose of starbucks or milk tea and try this healthier option for a drink.

The LAMB BIRYANI experience is priced at P325.00 and I highly recommend that you try this!  That is very reasonable for some premium lamb chops.  Most of their delightful specialties start at an average price of P250.00.  The HUMMUS appetizer is only P120.00 and can change the lives of 3 to 4 people.

LOCATION: Along Session Road, Baguio City or more specifically at the ground level of Porta Vaga Mall, Session Road, Baguio City.  For tourists, you will not have a hard time looking for KEBAB KONNER, just look for Porta Vaga Mall along Session Road and you are good to go!

PARKING SPACE:  No problem during off-peak seasons because the parking at the Cathedral Church can accommodate you.  But don’t take my word for holidays.

AMBIANCE:  The calm dining area will give you that mediterranean feel.  The smell of curry and spices are all over and is already appetizing so you can immediately order your main course. Haha.  But again, try their HUMMUS for a complete experience.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:  Very attentive staff.  I hope they will do the same even if they are full.  The manager is also friendly and approachable and gave me the go when I asked for a copy of their menu.

RECOMMENDATION:  I give it my two thumbs up with standing ovation! Loved the experience and I would love for you to try it too!  The resto was already half-full when we left so I guess people do come back for more. 🙂

my plate
Disclaimer: This is not how they served it but it was how my plate looked like after I got a little something of everything that was served. 🙂 I ate more than that of course. Try having HUMMUS for your appetizer, LAMB BIRYANI and another DISH for your main course and LASSI to tickle your throat. 🙂

For tourists who are looking for a Must-Try resto here in Baguio City, this is one place that you should visit.  The food and the culture may not be Cordillera but the food will blend well with your Baguio City experience!

Until the next spoonful folks!

P.S.

Suppliers for meat products like Chicken and Beef are Muslims with Halal meat supply.  Lamb served are imported from New Zealand and are also Halal certified.

What is Halal?

Halāl (Arabic: حلال‎ ḥalāl, ‘permissible’), also spelled hallal or halaal is any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law.

Still curious about halal?  Here’s a great article about it – WHAT IS HALAL MEAT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

 

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