A Taste of Kabul in Hyderabad

When we talk about food from Afghanistan or North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, huge naans and sweet pulaos come to our mind. A decade ago, there was a restaurant called Kabura in Begumpet serving North West Frontier and Afghan food. After it closed down, Hyderabad had no place which served this cuisine for a long time.

Kabul Darbar
Chicken Sajji at Kabul Darbar

Kabul Darbar which started about six months back aims to bridge this gap. At Lakdi-Ka-Pool the restaurant is located on the main road, and as you pass by the place, you can see grilled chicken being prepared in an open space on the ground floor. The look of the chicken itself entices you to try out the restaurant.

The restaurant does brisk business throughout the week. The eating area has traditional Arabic seating, with carpets and stools, so that you can enjoy your food in a Dastarkhan style. However if you are more comfortable dining in traditional tables and chairs, they have an area with this arrangement too.

Chicken Sajji Grill
Whole chicken being grilled on firewood

The signature dish here is Chicken Sajji, or Afghan grilled chicken. A must do for anyone visiting this restaurant is to spend some time downstairs watching the preparation of this dish in firewood. This is a Balochi dish, where whole chicken rubbed with spices like rock salt, saunf and black pepper is grilled over charcoal or wood in skewers. They also make the Full Bakra Sajji or whole lamb version of this delicacy, but for that you need to give 24 hours’ notice.

The huge Afghani naans are other favorites of mine with the kababs or curry. The naans are oval shaped with some seasoning on top, and are surprisingly soft.  You see many customers just buying this naan from their takeaway section. However the naans need to be consumed fast, or it tends to turn quite stiff. The naan here is served with a rajma gravy which tastes rather nice.

Afghan Seekh Kabab
Afghan Seekh Kababs

The Afghani Seekh is soft and succulent and they are prepared with little oil and spices. The earthy flavour of mutton in the kabab is appreciated by hardcore non-veggies. Chicken and Mutton Chopan Kababs, which have even lesser spices, are also available. A special mention needs to be made of the green chutney served with the kababs.

Kabuli Naan
Kabuli Naan

One of the signature dishes of Afghan cuisine, Kabuli Pulao has a sweet taste with dry fruit and raisins in it. Some food lovers may not like the sweet rice in the beginning, but as you dig into it slowly, you start appreciating the different taste.  Among the curries they serve, Chicken Afghani has a different taste with a cashew based gravy – though it may taste very bland to the Hyderabadi palate.

Another place which has started serving Afghan food recently is Al-Rabea Al Arabia restaurant at Mehdipatnam. The restaurant is spread over three floors – the ground floor serves Afghani food.
They serve both Mutton and Chicken Chopan Kababs, as well as some brilliant Afghan curries. The recipe is from Chopans or shepherds in Afghanistan, who used to grill meat over fire in skewers after rubbing with salt and very little spices. The meat pieces are extremely tender, though a little bit salty.

Afghani Chicken with Naan

The Fish Fry with boneless pieces of fish, is marinated in a yoghurt based masala and fried.  The presentation is contemporary and topped with cheese. Uzbeki Pulao a fragrant pulao with dry fruits, carrots and raisins, comes with a medium sized succulent piece of mutton, well cooked and coming off the bone smoothly.

Fish Fry
Fish Fry
Another specialty here is Afghani Rosh, a stew of mutton which is slow cooked with potato, tomato and other vegetables. The Rosh is slow cooked over a few hours and can be enjoyed with both naans and rice. Vegetarians can try out the Afghani Lubia.

Apart from Afghani, delicacies from other countries in West Asia are also available. I liked a vegetarian dish which they offer for breakfast – Fuul (Fava bean) with Tameez (Arabic bread). Supposedly a dish from West Asia, the bean preparation was delectable. I would rate it equivalent to Alpha’s Kheema Roti combo for veggies. They also have Yemeni Laham Mandi and a West Asian banana-based dessert called Masoob which we love.

Laham Mandhi
Yemeni Laham Mandhi

Afghani food in general is flavorful and mild. The meat is well cooked to make it easily come of the bones, and the oil used in the food is very little. It is a different zaika, so people who are conservative about their food choices may be disappointed. However if you have a penchant for trying out new cuisines, these restaurants are must visits.


Kabul Darbar
Opp HP Petrol Pump
Telephone 9640144560

Al-Rabea Al Arabia Restaurant
Lane next to Kulsum Showroom
Near Pillar 37, Mehdipatnam
Telephone 69991345

Also Read: Arabic Cuisine in Hyderabad

Disclaimer: Some of the items reviewed were part of tasting sessions organized by the restaurants. However the opinions expressed in the post are honest and unbiased.


  1. The food looks yummy. I have tried some of the Afghan restaurants that have opened up in the capital. Their food is non-spicy...and awesome!

  2. Yummy.. these photos are making me hungry for non-veg food :)