A sweaty Mumbai evening, greasy duct-taped tables, worn-out wooden benches, a couple of black soot-lined tandoors and the intoxicating smoky smell of kebabs.

Kareem’s, just off Carter Road at Bandra, Mumbai, was where we splurged on our Saturday night dinner. Being hardcore non-vegetarians, it was an obvious choice for me and Azaz. Fauri on the other hand, was apprehensive as always, since these eat-outs rarely have sufficient choices for vegetarians.

The menu is a humble single-page book. But don’t let the simplicity of it fool you.

The service is prompt. The crowd is a mixed one that includes college students, professionals, couples, families and friends just looking to spend the evening gorging on food at another eat-out.

But Kareem’s is not just another eat-out. There is only one workd to describe the food : awesome!!!

We ended up ordering Murg ke Reshmi Tikke, Sabz Dum Biriyani, Murg Nizami Roll and a Nawabi Gosht Nalli curry.

The reshmi tikka is technically skewered boneless pieces of chicken (or sausages made out of minced chicken, kheema) marinated in sour curd and a delicate mixture of spices. The kebabs melt in your mouth! The amount of sour curd used was near perfect in making the pieces tender and succulent without being too overpowering.

The usual accompaniment with kebabs, is a green mint chutney, which was, honestly, disappointing. It was minty alright but too bitter and lacked salt.

The roll was a delicious (and super-hot) combination of spicy meaty filling with a crispy flour wrap…not for the faint-hearted though, cosidering the amount of green chilies use.

The Nawabi Gosht Nalli curry was, well a nalli curry. A gorgeous meat-on-bone-with-marrow mutton curry — spicy with a sweet edge to it, which in turn brings out the taste of the marrow. The fun part, as always, was sucking the marrow out! The only down-part, if I can call that, was the fact that the curry was mealy. Heavy enough to make me push the other dishes away.

The Sabz Dum Biriyani was a regular dum biriyani, cooked in a flour-sealed pot in steam. The refreshing touch which set it slightly apart from most dum biriyanis was that a sprinkling of rose water in addition to zaffran (saffron) had been added before sealing the pot. The aroma was pure heaven!

The meal ended with a decadent chocolate firni (a traditional Indian, milk and rice flour pudding). Tasted good though not upto expectations and the quantity, unfortunately, was miserly.

Kareem’s does not burn a hole in your pocket at all but isn’t that cheap either. The kebabs are worth INR 125-180, depending on the “exoticness” of the ordered dish. The rolls at INR 85-100 are not so okay, considering the fact that they’re snack-sized but are not something you want to snack on. the vegetarian menu is limited, but delicious and appropriately priced, with the biriyanis priced at INR 125-150. A meal for two would cost you anything between Rs.400 – Rs.700.

My rating: 8/10….totally worth a weekend visit!