Restaurant review

Everything changes for Ranelagh’s Kinara kitchen

For once in my life, I’m ahead. Probably should have reviewed Kinara in a few weeks as changes are afoot, but sometimes I think it’s good for Irish Examiner readers to be ahead of the game.

The Kinara Group was founded just over two decades ago by Sean Collender and Shoaib Yunus and now has three restaurants in Dublin serving classic Pakistani and Indian dishes.

The reason for my review is that sommelier and maître extraordinaire Talha Pasha has joined the group and will completely revamp the wine lists and add new life to the menus.

Talha started his career with Kinara but really caught our attention during his years with Gaz Smith at Michaels and Little Mike’s in Mount Merrion.

Mount Merrion’s loss is Ranelagh’s gain, and Kinara bosses Clontarf and Kajjal in Malahide will also encounter Talha as he works his magic.

Kinara’s menu contains classic Pakistani dishes at the moment, but there are also dishes from other parts of the subcontinent (eg Chicken Korma and Goan fish curry) that I feel bad about. comfortable on the menu given that they are available in all Indian takeaways. the country.

We started with cocktails chosen for us by Talha, one of the few locals I trust in this way – as usual he did not disappoint. The Engineer’s Pineapple Rickey was fruity and fresh, a slightly sweeter take on the classic Gin Rickey; while my Caribbean rum based corn oil was balanced and smoky with a nice bitter kick.

Poppadoms in all their brittle perfection arrived with the cocktails, but these were greatly enhanced by excellent dipping sauces – a fruity mango chutney and a tangy, complex fermented vegetable pickle. I had asked Talha to choose our menu as I wanted to try the dishes that I know will remain on the menu.

Our starter plate included richly flavored grilled marinated lamb chops cooked over charcoal, textured Aloo Tikka potato cakes, fragrant and tender tandoor roasted Malai Tikka chicken marinated in yogurt with garlic and turmeric and grilled marinated prawns that were plump, sweet and juicy with a lime and garlic flavor.

For the main course, Nihari Gosht arrived with his traditional accompaniment, a huge naan bread (Roghinin Lachcha) that had been smeared inside and out with butter. Nihari Gosht is the national dish of Pakistan and includes pieces of beef (or camel) slow cooked for up to 12 hours with ginger, garlic and papaya leaves – the rich spicy sauce had heat but also earthy and nutty flavors and a pleasant depth and intensity. The Chicken Garam Masala (“mixture of hot spices”) had distinct flavors of black pepper, cardamom, and cloves as you would expect, and provided an interesting contrast and flavor comparison.

On the wine side, I chose Flower and the Bee (€39.50), a fruity and textured white wine made from Treixadura from Ribeiro in Galicia that goes well with food. The wine list will change soon, but it’s actually quite convenient and reasonably priced as it is. Knowing Talha, I expect to see organic and natural wines added and more creative choices from less visited wine regions.

Dessert is a new dish that will soon appear on the regular menu; Ras Malai ravioli with Kulfi ice cream. Ras Malai is made from curds and I’ve eaten some before, but they’re rarely as delicate and light as Kinara’s; the kulfi was also among the best I have tasted.

So over the next few months, expect to see some Pakistani street food on the menu and a little more creativity on the wine list. But you know what, if the menu stayed the same, I think I’d be going back again very soon and you should too.

The tab:

Dinner for two with cocktails, a bottle of Spanish white wine, two glasses of red, a selection of starters and mains and a shared dessert costs €154.20.

The verdict:

  • Food: 9/10
  • Drink: 9/10
  • Serving: 9/10
  • Atmosphere: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10

In a sentence:

Kinara Kitchen is still going strong after two decades serving the tastiest dishes from Pakistan and North India – but with a newly arrived star sommelier/butler, stay tuned for a full wine list. revamped and new dishes.