Chicken Tikka at the Mukut Restaurant in Ottawa
The Mukut Restaurant In Ottawa wasn’t especially impressive. The service was good, but the dishes ran the full gamut of quality from not bad to very bad. The Makut Onion Bhaji were actually pretty good, the Dal Soup came in at a bland mediocre, while the Chicken Tikka pictured above managed to plumb the depths of the truly awful.
The Chicken Tikka was described on the menu at Mukut as being ‘skewered chunks of chicken grilled in a Tandoor’. The term ‘Tikka’ actually means ‘chunks’ in Hindi, and, for those unfamiliar, a Tandoor is the super-hot Indian clay oven in which specialties such as ‘Tandoori Chicken’ are prepared. The Chicken, in this case, however, was certainly served as ‘Tikka’, but I doubt that it had ever been any closer to a Tandoor than it had the Taj Mahal.
I pretty much knew that this dish was going to be disappointing the moment it was placed before me. The salad haphazardly plated beside the chicken was an unappealing mess and it didn’t taste any better than it looked.
Aside from the fact that I hate cold salads being served on the same plate as hot food, the dressing here was a thin, unpleasant goo that tasted like the overly sweet curry sauces you get with pre-packaged Japanese instant Ramen. It really was so bad that I was tempted to inquire whether I was actually in an Indian restaurant.
As for the Chicken, this was truly dismal. It had been dusted with a light coating of spices vaguely reminiscent of a Tandoori blend and then subject to processes that produce nothing like the caramelization of a good sear in a hot oven. It may, in fact, have been oven-cooked (at low temperature) at some point, and then frozen and given a half-hearted attempt at resurrection in a microwave before serving. Ultimately, the Chicken Tikka at Mukut wasn’t merely bad, it was the worst Indian dish I have ever been served.