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 College, is equally a travelogue and a record lesson.

It tells of historical trade routes in between India, Africa and the Center East, and the resultant culinary cross-pollination that motivated every region’s delicacies. It is a position where by falafel mingles with chutney, the pizza sauce carries a trace of curry and the African-fashion pili pili hen is flavored with tikka spices.

The culinary mashups on display right here mirror the background of Hanif Mohamed, operator and operator of Tikka Hut’s two destinations in Albuquerque. Mohamed grew up in Mombasa, an ancient port metropolis on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast that was a frequent halt for Arab and Indian traders.

He produced Tikka Hut’s menu with chef Dennis Apodaca, formerly of Sophie’s Put, partly to reveal the Islamic influence on Indian cuisine. There are no curries on the menu, but the addictive spicy tomato sauce that underpins quite a few of the dishes starts out that way ahead of tomatoes are included at the final minute.

Mohamed and Apodaca launched the to start with Tikka Hut past year at Just one Central, the huge mixed-use sophisticated that stands at the east conclusion of Downtown like a drydocked ocean liner. That area reopened recently just after COVID forced a short term closure.

Pili Pili rooster served household type 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 earlier this year in a creating that initially housed an vehicle store and gasoline station. Vestiges of the building’s first profile continue being, like the outline of the two bay doorways in entrance and the restrooms situated on the side.

A roomy parking whole lot encircles the constructing and a shaded patio wraps about a single corner. The dining spot runs narrowly alongside the front facet of the cafe the back again side is presented about to a substantial open up kitchen area dominated by the pizza ovens from former tenant Da Vinci’s Gourmand Pizza.

A complimentary chips-and-salsa/chutney bar offers a preview of the cross-cultural working experience to come. Together with the acquainted salsa fresca are two chutneys: a fiery pink a single and a minty, vinegary environmentally friendly model. Up coming to the chips stands a self-provide equipment that dispenses two versions of aguas frescas.

A bowl of hummus ($5.69) served with pita triangles typifies Tikka Hut’s combine of the familiar and inventive. The silky texture and equilibrium of garlic and nutty tahini is what you assume in a excellent hummus the jolt of acid shipped by a pile of pickled cauliflower and the crunch from fried chickpeas sprinkled on best are a welcome surprise.

The exact same inventiveness turns up in a serving of Falafel ($5), three ground chickpea balls crisp and walnut-brown on the outside, vivid environmentally friendly and herbaceous on the within. Tahini sauce is the popular solution with falafel, but Tikka Hut’s edition matches it with two chutneys that sharpened the uninteresting flavor of the fritters. The chutneys also boosted a serving of Pakoras ($6.99), a popular Indian street meals manufactured with veggies dipped in chickpea batter and fried. The onion version introduced beefy slices of onion in a crisp but ethereal coating, with little spurs of fried dough to maintain onto when dipping into the chutneys underneath.

The plates below inspire sharing. Pili Pili Chicken ($8.99-$19.99), a dish of Portuguese-African origin that’s also known as peri peri or piri piri, arrived chopped up on a tray with pita triangles, pickles and garlic sauce. The rooster is marinated in tikka spice, garlic, ginger and inexperienced chile, and then roasted and finished on the grill. It arrives out with an pretty much blackened 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 versions ($13.99-$19.99). You can also get them by the slice ($3.75-$5.25). Our meat edition sported a crackling, bubbled rim browned from the oven. There was good balance among the cheese and a tomato sauce significantly much more elaborate and spicier than your regular marinara. The toppings of rooster tikka, beef kebobs and braised leg of lamb had been excellent. Of notice was the juicy and slipping-apart tender lamb.

Tikka Hut also presents a assortment of kebobs priced from $11.99 to $13.99. The proteins are also available in rolls, bowls, tacos and tostadas.

Leaving the eating room will take you past of screen situation of ice lotions that Mohamed phone calls kulatos, a hybrid of gelato and kulfi, the Indian frozen dessert. Mohamed explained to me he harbored terrible recollections of feeding on pretty much impenetrably dense kulfi as a little one, and with the kulatos he has exorcized people demons. The ice cream is as light-weight as soft provide but even creamier and the flavors, including French vanilla and dulce de leche, are powerful. My preferred was the mango. You’ll regret it if you do not take some dwelling.

A lot of of the items are gluten-totally free, like the pili pili rooster. There are vegetarian and halal solutions far too. 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 in contrast to any other cafe in the metropolis. Practically every thing is built in household and, extra importantly, manufactured very well. It warrants to be seen.

By Taba