Tikka Hut’s combine of cuisines is not like any other in ABQ

Meat toppings for Tikka Hut’s pizza include lamb, beef kebobs and rooster tikka. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

The menu at Tikka Hut, the new Indian fusion cafe on Indian University, is both equally a travelogue and a historical past lesson.

It tells of historical trade routes amongst India, Africa and the Center East, and the resultant culinary cross-pollination that motivated each individual region’s delicacies. It’s a position the place falafel mingles with chutney, the pizza sauce carries a hint of curry and the African-type pili pili hen is flavored with tikka spices.

The culinary mashups on show below reflect the qualifications of Hanif Mohamed, owner and operator of Tikka Hut’s two locations in Albuquerque. Mohamed grew up in Mombasa, an historical port town on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast that was a typical stop for Arab and Indian traders.

He produced Tikka Hut’s menu with chef Dennis Apodaca, formerly of Sophie’s Put, partly to show the Islamic impact on Indian cuisine. There are no curries on the menu, but the addictive spicy tomato sauce that underpins lots of of the dishes commences out that way before tomatoes are additional at the past moment.

Mohamed and Apodaca released the to start with Tikka Hut previous 12 months at One Central, the massive blended-use intricate that stands at the east end of Downtown like a drydocked ocean liner. That area reopened recently right after COVID compelled a non permanent closure.

Pili Pili chicken served family fashion with garlic and chile sauces, pickles and pita. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)
Falafel in chutney. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

The Indian School spinoff debuted previously this calendar year in a constructing that initially housed an automobile shop and gas station. Vestiges of the building’s primary profile continue to be, like the define of the two bay doorways in entrance and the restrooms found on the side.

A spacious parking lot encircles the setting up and a shaded patio wraps around a person corner. The dining spot runs narrowly alongside the front side of the cafe the again side is supplied over to a big open up kitchen area dominated by the pizza ovens from previous tenant Da Vinci’s Gourmand Pizza.

A complimentary chips-and-salsa/chutney bar provides a preview of the cross-cultural encounter to appear. Along with the acquainted salsa fresca are two chutneys: a fiery red one particular and a minty, vinegary green model. Upcoming to the chips stands a self-provide equipment that dispenses two varieties of aguas frescas.

A bowl of hummus ($5.69) served with pita triangles typifies Tikka Hut’s combine of the common and ingenious. The silky texture and stability of garlic and nutty tahini is what you be expecting in a very good hummus the jolt of acid sent by a pile of pickled cauliflower and the crunch from fried chickpeas sprinkled on prime are a welcome surprise.

The identical inventiveness turns up in a serving of Falafel ($5), a few ground chickpea balls crisp and walnut-brown on the outdoors, vivid green and herbaceous on the inside of. Tahini sauce is the typical selection with falafel, but Tikka Hut’s version matches it with two chutneys that sharpened the dull flavor of the fritters. The chutneys also boosted a serving of Pakoras ($6.99), a well-known Indian avenue meals made with veggies dipped in chickpea batter and fried. The onion model offered beefy slices of onion in a crisp however ethereal coating, with minor spurs of fried dough to maintain onto when dipping into the chutneys beneath.

The plates here inspire sharing. Pili Pili Chicken ($8.99-$19.99), a dish of Portuguese-African origin that is also termed peri peri or piri piri, arrived chopped up on a tray with pita triangles, pickles and garlic sauce. The hen is marinated in tikka spice, garlic, ginger and inexperienced chile, and then roasted and finished on the grill. It comes out with an nearly blackened pores and skin. The meat was moist and garlicky, and the spice rub still left my tongue tingling.

Tikka Hut serves up a hefty pizza pies in 12- and 16-inch variations ($13.99-$19.99). You can also get them by the slice ($3.75-$5.25). Our meat version sported a crackling, bubbled rim browned from the oven. There was excellent balance among the cheese and a tomato sauce substantially far more advanced and spicier than your typical marinara. The toppings of chicken tikka, beef kebobs and braised leg of lamb have been great. Of notice was the juicy and slipping-apart tender lamb.

Tikka Hut also features a variety of kebobs priced from $11.99 to $13.99. The proteins are also accessible in rolls, bowls, tacos and tostadas.

Leaving the eating place normally takes you past of display circumstance of ice lotions that Mohamed calls kulatos, a hybrid of gelato and kulfi, the Indian frozen dessert. Mohamed instructed me he harbored undesirable reminiscences of ingesting just about impenetrably dense kulfi as a kid, and with the kulatos he has exorcized people demons. The ice cream is as mild as comfortable serve but even creamier and the flavors, which include French vanilla and dulce de leche, are intense. My most loved was the mango. You will regret it if you don’t get some house.

Many of the things are gluten-cost-free, which includes the pili pili rooster. There are vegetarian and halal solutions also. Mohamed has utilized for a liquor license and hopes to be serving beer and wine in a thirty day period.

Tikka Hut’s combine of cuisines is compared with any other cafe in the city. Virtually every thing is made in dwelling and, far more importantly, manufactured very well. It justifies to be recognized.