Kar-O-Bar on Goosegate in Hockley, is born again like a phoenix from the ashes at the site of many other themed efforts at this location. This spot seems to reinvent itself every couple of years, and I often think it is like the scene in the Time Machine where the man watches the changing fashions on the mannequins in the shop window only here it is the changing food trends.
Indian Street Food and Craft Beer seems to be the theme of Kar-O-Bar and the menu is geared up for a kind of Indian Tapas situation with a selection of small plates. They had a lot of vegetarian dishes on offer and so it was a good time to take in an evening meal with my friend Alison who would appreciate having a ‘decent’ selection of vegetarian options to pick from (well that was our plan).
We picked 5 small plates from the menu, mostly vegetarian with just one fish dish as I was curious, and we didn’t want to do the starters and main scenario which some people still seem to try and do at places like this.
Anyway lets see what we tried.
Paneer Mushroom Tikka
The Paneer Mushroom Tikka was described as “Protein rich Soft Cottage cheese, mushrooms & pepper, marinated in yogurt and spices. Barbequed and served on a skewer with mint coriander chutney“. The menu didn’t describe the large pile of chopped up red cabbage that filled up the rest of the plate 🙂
This was actually quite tasty, portion wise it was on the small side even for a small plate, it was perhaps more of a sharing bite. Flavour wise I quite liked this, but I would have liked it more if there had been more of it.
Paneer Makhini & Rice
The Paneer Makhini & Rice was also quite a reasonable tasting dish. It was described as “Protein rich Indian cottage cheese, cooked in tomato & cream rich gravy with spices, Served with basmati rice“. For some reason the rice that came with this was also Orange, if you mixed the rice and the sauce together then there was something to fill you up, the paneer was quite nice, and the sauce mixed well with the rice, but it was nothing to write home about.
Fish Amritsari described as “Crispy gram flour battered fried fish spiced with chat masala“. I picked this one out from the menu as the only non-vegetarian dish, so this one was just for me. Portion wise, this was a reasonable amount, the actual fish inside the batter was fresh and juicy, the battering was fried nice and crisply yet had little flavour. It was OK if you dipped it into the accompanying pot of coriander sauce. It did look good on the plate, and was one of the better things I ate here.
The Mogo Chips were one of the tastiest things that we ordered and to be honest probably the only thing that I would really want to eat again. If they were selling these as a takeaway treat from a window as I passed by I would probably stand in an orderly queue to get a small tray of them. I had never had Cassava chips before, well not to my recollection anyway, and if I got a recipe to hand I would try and cook these myself. They had quite a nice sticky and spicy sauce on them which was as suggested on the menu a little bit tangy.
The last dish to talk about was the Pani Puri. This was described as “India’s MOST POPULAR street snack, also Gol Gappe, Crispy wheatballs filled with potatoes chickpeas poured in tamarind & mint coriander spiced water“. I have eaten this dish in India where I quite enjoyed it however I didn’t really like it here, I don’t think we would order this again.
Overall while there were some nice and interesting flavours in some of the dishes, I wasn’t too excited by it all. Maybe we need to compare this with the influx of other restaurants following this theme which will no doubt be hitting the city centre in the coming months.