Salang Kabob House
Address: 2934 Carling Ave, Ottawa
Hours: 12 – 9pm (Tue – Sat), 12 – 8pm (Sun), closed Monday
While in the Britannia area, it only made sense to have lunch at an Afghani restaurant, since the Britannia area is one of the hubs of such cuisine. Salang Kabob House was my new-to-me target.
The interior has a contemporary, newly-renovated feel that belies its old strip mall location, while a smattering of framed black and white photos let you know that yes, this is in fact an Afghani restaurant.
In an effort to try as much of their menu as possible, we got way, WAY too much food for two people for lunch. In fact, there would end up being enough leftovers for a very hearty dinner later that week!
I find that one of the highlights of many non-porcine consuming cultures is their love of lamb. When cooked properly, this deeply meaty protein can be a tender, savoury canvas for big, rich flavours and this is what drew me to Salang Kabob’s lamb shank platter ($18.99). The lamb itself was wonderfully tender, and the sumptuous sauce added further flavour.
My wife went for the sultani kabob platter ($20.99) and chose the double chicken option – one skewer of chicken breast tikka and one chicken shami. Both were expertly cooked, with no hint of overcooking in sight and the shami was an impressively vibrant shade of yellow from its turmeric seasoning.
The platters all came with hefty mounds of lightly cumin-y rice, as well as garden salads and a piece of naan each. Afghan naan can be a fickler beast than its Indian cousin, as its longer cook time/lower moisture content can leave it prone to becoming a large, dry cracker, but that was not the case at Salang Kabob. The bread was lightly crisp on its exterior, while the crumb was soft and pliable.
Carb-in-carb foods are a cross-cultural delight that speak to their global appeal and bowlani ($8.99) is Afghanistan’s entry into the category. At Salang, naan bread is generously filled with mildly spicy mashed potatoes and served with a cucumber and garlic yogurt dip that brings a bright tanginess to the dish.
Spinach is a funny food – it’s good when raw, quite unappealing when wilted and limp, but when you fully cook it down into a sauce, it swings back up the other side of the Good Food Parabola to be tasty again. This, my friends, is sabzi ($8.99). Knowing how much raw spinach it takes to have any significant amount post-cooking, there has got to be a day or two or three’s worth of vegetables in Salang’s sabzi. Onions and seasonings added further layers of flavour and it was great on the naan. Bonus points for being thoroughly chopped/processed so that there were no stringy bits!
If it’s on the menu, I’ll always order a mango lassi ($4.99). People say that even bad pizza is still pretty good, but I both contend otherwise and nominate mango lassis as this pizza adage’s successor. With only a few ingredients, they’re simple, delicious and effectively fool proof.
Service throughout our massive meal was prompt and friendly.
I very much enjoyed Salang Kabob House, with near flawless execution on every dish we tried – they’re certainly rising to the occasion of the competition in the area.