Eat the Strip

Adnan's Catering

1950 Merivale Rd unit 14, Nepean, ON K2G 5T5

October 23, 2023 10:02 PM

By: Danielle Jeffery


We usually drive to Montreal to buy a specific type of kebab from the Indian subcontinent.

But as of last November, we finally have a local takeout joint that’ll make excellent seekh kebabs.

Adnan’s Catering, formerly known as Nihari Express, opened in November 2022. The literal hole-in-the-wall Pakistani joint operates out of the front of a South Asian grocery store on Merivale Road.

We didn’t know this last Friday, when we headed over to Adnan’s Catering after several weeks of wanting to try their kebabs and curries, to have a sit-down meal with a few friends. We weren’t discouraged, however, as long-time Eat the Strip readers will know that we believe strip mall gems operating out of grocery stores serve some of the best food in the city.

We called our friends and resolved to order enough for everyone and go to their new apartment for a visit. Originally, we ordered haleem as our main dish because the nihari was sold out, but Adnan—an engineer with the City of Ottawa who decided to open the takeout joint at the behest of his family—noticed he had just enough for our order. We ordered two niharis, one behari kabab and the inimitable chicken chicken seekh kabab.

One of the most recognizable kebabs in South Asia, the seekh kebab is made with spices, spiced ground meat, usually lamb, beef, or chicken, and formed into cylinders on skewers and grilled on a traditional tandoor
One of the most recognizable kebabs in South Asia, the seekh kebab is made with spices, spiced ground meat, usually lamb, beef, or chicken, and formed into cylinders on skewers and grilled on a traditional tandoor

As I mentioned before, we usually travel to Montreal for kebabs of this calibre. The chicken seekh kababs were spicy, with hints of garlic, ginger and green chili and had the classic hole in the center from being properly cooked on a tandoor grill. The behari kabab was a textural and flavourful delight. We are still bewildered as to how such a texture could be achieved when it comes to generally tough cuts of meat. The nihari is a classic dish of tender meat in a hearty sauce, almost like a stew, that is well matched with naan or biryani. This dish is the namesake of the restaurant for a reason. Tender meat, delicious and not too spicy, enough to feed at least three people—the ultimate comfort food as the temperature starts to cool in the Ottawa Valley.

The elusive behari kabab is quite challenging to make and Adnan cookes them perfectly, with the the thin strips of beef marinated with a meat tenderizer, yogurt, fried onions and a spicy seasoning mix that's topped off a drizzle of mustard oil
The elusive behari kabab is quite challenging to make and Adnan cookes them perfectly, with the the thin strips of beef marinated with a meat tenderizer, yogurt, fried onions and a spicy seasoning mix that's topped off a drizzle of mustard oil

After this wonderful experience that brought many oohs and ahhs to our dinner table, I genuinely look forward to trying everything on the menu that I couldn’t try on this outing.