Tag Archives: Dubai

Rasoi Ghar – serve me food, not English!

Rasoi Ghar in Karama is a veggie haven, focussing on Western Indian cuisine. It seems they are aiming to place themselves as a fine dine, experiential restaurant. There are traditional and modern gimmicks like finger-wash and menu-on-tablet that can regale the customer. Truth is that it will be the food and service that will remain key.

Warm staff but I did not, for the life of me, understand why did they have to speak in English even when spoken to in Hindi? Performance pressure? Or does food taste better if spoken to in English? And I am not talking grammar, here.

Food is served fresh and clean but here’s my take:

Food Temperature: should be constant. Seconds served should not have a change in temperature. If you are aiming to be a different beat, then these finer points need to be incorporated.

Repetition: Too many staff members, crowding on a table to serve and repeat the name of a dish. My food experience gets ‘nervy’ seeing so many people focussing on one table. But when you ask why Kolhapuri Paneer is tasting like Kadhai Paneer, there isn’t an answer!

Serving Etiquette: A server, mistakenly, poured the wrong dal in my bowl. He should have changed the bowl but didn’t. Why should my sweet dal taste of kadhi?

Recipe compatibility: I am not sure I have been served Dal Khichdi and Veg Biryani together, in India. Ever. is this not trying too hard?

Overall good food but not great. I could easily forget the 7 – 8 dishes I ate. Liked the corn halwa (didn’t mind it soaked in ghee).

#BurpAndBelch meter: 2.5

#5WordFoodReview: Do Something Memorable With Food

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Rasoi Ghar
Call: +971 4 5509119

Zainal Mohebi Plaza, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road, Opposite Centrepoint, Al Karama, Dubai
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Parisienne Brunch at La Cantine du Fauborg

La Cantine du Fauborg at Emirates Towers
La Cantine du Fauborg at Emirates Towers

Will take time to get this name on your tongue. Meanwhile La Cantine du Fauborg is trying to put Paris closer to your tongue, for you fine connoisseurs.

Brush up on your French when you go here, specially since they boast of a Française brunch (the zillionth brunch in Dubai). Reservations preferred. And despite how you may want to roll over for a brunch, this one will need dressing up. Caution there.

The joie de vivre is the cheese platter. It was like paying hommage to frômmage! From Blue to Gouda to Goat and several encrusted cheese were accompanied by fruits, chocolate chips, crusty bread et al. A few were direct lifts from the supermarket, although I would have preferred some rustic French stuff.

The airy, roomy lounge at La Cantine
The airy, roomy lounge at La Cantine

The other offerings were cold cuts, salads, gateaux and ah, yes, the delightful french toast!

Sit down, get pampered by the team there. Sip a chilled rosé (or the wine of your choice), nibble on your cheese and enjoy the live music. If you want some more food, ask for eggs done your style. The benedict was very fine.

Want more food? Upgrade your brunch for a few dirhams more and enjoy main course.

#BurpAndBelch meter: 4 classy rot (burp in French)
#5WordFoodReview: C’est La Vie, Ma Cherie

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The restaurant is open 7 days a week: weekdays from noon to 2am
and weekends from noon to 3am. For bookings, call: + 971 43 527 105 or write to book@lacantine.ae .
La Cantine du Faubourg
Emirates Towers Hotel
P.O. Box 504904
Dubai – UAE

SUFRA Sunny Saturdays

Sufra Sunny Saturdays
Sufra Sunny Saturdays

It takes courage to do things low-key in Dubai. The minimalist and quiet restaurant Sufra at the newly opened Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights on Oud Metha Road is the newest entrant on the Dubai weekend brunch scene.

Sufra at Hyatt Regency DCH
Sufra at Hyatt Regency DCH

Sufra is a warm, destination restaurant offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine along with a few Indian culinary offerings as well. Sufra means table cloth in Arabic and hence the focus on the region’s cuisine.

This September, Sufra launched a late brunch that allows guests to relax, and eat heartily. And it is called Sufra Sunny Saturday!

Apart from the food that is available at the stations, the brunch menu features eggs cooked your way along with the traditional eggs benedict, steak and hash. If you are an egg-lover, this is the menu that will warm your heart with the golden yolks and supple albumen.

Eggs Benedict - every egg is cooked to eggs-act standars
Eggs Benedict – every egg is cooked to eggs-act standards

I got talking to the chef who told me their egg story. Each egg is cooked for 1 hour 45 minutes in a controlled temperature that ensures that each and every egg is cooked to perfection, with the right yolk consistency, in case you like to gravy your dish with yolks. And so, when I delicately forked into the eggs benedict that was served in a saucepan, it was oozy yet supple. And it took me to egg-heaven!

Sliders - order chicken or beef
Sliders – order chicken or beef

Talk to the staff. They know the food on the menu and are good with their suggestions. Like the peachy, coconutty mocktail that was so good that I asked for seconds. You will also see chefs, walking over, table to table, to serve shawarmas and sliders. this slider was a tender beef patty with handsome dollop of caramelised onions. This is stuff that Saturdays are made of!

Grab the Crab Cake
Grab the Crab Cake

Special mention of this small but memorable crab cake. It was divine. You can taste the crab meat and also savour the flavouring. Do not be shy and ask for another one if you felt the first ‘disappeared’ too quickly!

Mushroom Toast with Poached Egg
Mushroom Toast with Poached Egg

Since I hadn’t had my fill of eggs, I ordered the mushroom toast, served with an egg on top. Poached to perfection. Especially when the yolk seeps over the caramelised mushrooms, you know, life is good.
20150912_141223Call up Sufra, reserve a table and eat a hearty brunch. Be it perennial favourites like Waldorf salad or Baba Ganouj, or trying out their brunch menu, you will be delighted with the quality and taste of food on your table.

Sufra Sunny Saturdays priced at:

  • AED 205 including alcoholic beverages
  • AED 140 including soft beverages
  • AED 70 for children aged 6-12 years

For reservations, call +971 4 553 1272

#BurpAndBelch meter: 4.5

#5WordFoodReview: Focus Is On Food. Period.

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#BurpAndBelch is nominated for Best Asian Blogger for #MasalaAwards2015. To vote, log onto: masala.com/awards

Chai Tea? Is that a Martial Art?

Seriously, who helped name that on the menu? Chai Tea!

It is like naming your bolognese Noodles Spaghetti. Now, you wouldn’t do that, would you? Then why have Chai Tea on your menu?

Separating the Chai from Tea
Separating the Chai from Tea

Let me explain – tea in the Indian sub-continent, and a few neighbouring countries, is called Chai. Unless, a few restaurants in Dubai really want to “over emphasize” that they serve tea, I feel such naming should be scrapped outright. Yes, “over emphasize” is a moronic expression and completely incorrect, much like “more happier”. As is Chai Tea!

If restaurants serving spiced tea that incorporates cardamom, cinnamon, milk and sugar etc want to highlight that, then it should be called Masala Chai or Masala Tea. Not Chai Tea.

And on behalf of many in the industry of food writing and appreciation, I would issue a warning not to name dishes like mentioned below:

  • Coffee Cafe
  • Biryani Pulao
  • Pilaff Pulao
  • Saffron Zafran

Nine7One Street Art Brunch

Street Art Brunch Pic courtesy: The Oberoi's
Street Art Brunch
Pic courtesy: The Oberoi’s

Street walking was never fancier till one heard Michael Jackson release a song by that name. And then, the all-day-dining world restaurant Nine7One launched their Street Art Brunch last week.

Street Brunch Photo Wall Pic courtesy: The Oberoi's
Street Brunch Photo Wall
Pic courtesy: The Oberoi’s

The reception was colourful, breezy, street-artsy, guitar-strumming, thigh-high flashing, cycles and barrows where flip-flops and stilettos met over drool-worthy, lusty food. Here, we need to take in a moment. It is, perhaps, unfair to have so much food around that you will need 3 days to savour. So, starve yourself well or jog from the farthest Dubai corner to The Oberois, Business Bay for their vibrant Street Art Brunch.

Start eating with your eyes first
Start eating with your eyes first

Here, food does the talking. Right from the moment you step into the foyer, where a lavish charcuterie will hold your fascination while you sip on a chilled glass of prosecco. La dolce vita!

Thai High - street side broth of goodness
Thai High – street side broth of goodness

And now you can attack your gastronomic senses from the live Thai counter that simmers you a healthy ‘pulled’ broth of goodness that has everything of what you see in the picture.

Sushi Boat
Sushi Boat

Feast your eyes on the sushi boat and quietly populate your plate with one of every kind. Don’t make eye contact with anyone if you are embarrassed of the pile of food on the plate. Nobody will bother, because that is what all else is doing. Oh! and do not forget to easy on the wasabi. It is potent enough to blow your head off!

Make Your Own Taco Station
Make Your Own Taco Station

The Sexy Mexi (I call it that) counter is a live taco station where you can make the stuff of your drooly dreams. A young chef helped made me a sumptuous chicken that was finished off with chocolate, with the usual suspects – sour cream, cajun spice, guacamole, bell peppers and close your eyes when you pop it in your mouth. The only sounds that you will make are bedroom sounds.

I skipped the Indian table, although am told the salmon chat and gajar ka halwa was to die for.

Burgers Fish and Lamb
Burgers Fish and Lamb

What I savoured with relish, literally, was the burger. The fried chicken nestled with some fine emmental cheese, caramelised onions and sweet relish made me commit loyally till I had chomped off the last crumb of the sesame crusted burger bun! A small bucket of fish fingers and potato rings was plonked on each individual table. Then on, there was the Arabic section that emphasises SLOW cooking. To know more, read my post on SLOW food. Couldn’t say no to a crispy chicken shawarma that came wrapped like a love letter.

The Oyster Elite Co Girls
The Oyster Elite Co Girls

Two strapping young hostesses from Oyster Elite Co came by each table and offered oysters. They were quite the “Lady Rambos”, with the low strapped oyster buckets and armed with an oyster paring knife. They probably could do a cameo in the next Expendables!

Cheers

If you are not driving, then you might as well dive straight into the fancy, music-laden bar that whisks up just about anything that your tongue fancies!

The Land of Desserts
The Land of Desserts

And then you have the expansive dessert tables. a fondue fountain with milk and white chocolates, marshmallows, meringues and what-have-yous! A molecular section played with textures and flavours like a white chocolate peach treat that melted in contact with another syrup. Or the guava (bomb) that took me back to my school summer holidays.

Tiramisu with coffee dropper Picture: The Oberoi’s

Must try the tiramisu that comes with a small dropper of coffee concentrate that you can squeeze to make your tiramisu squishy and wet. I think I should stop writing. It seems to be taking a rather decadent dip!

For all this and more, head to Nine7One. Street walkin’ baby!

Endless Iftars But Who’s Complaining

Confession of a food lover – one of the main reasons I look forward to Ramadan is the endless invitations to Iftars. Of all those, here is a an emotion-drenched tale of the 2 most-beautiful and delicious Iftars I have been to. My partner in crime was friend and editor Anamika. We have both come back home as stuffed as balloons in a birthday party.

The Oberoi's, Business Bay
The Oberoi’s, Business Bay

The season started off with a warm Iftar invite at Al Majlis at the plush Oberoi’s, Business Bay. Here you will be treated to food that is cooked well,  ethically and SLOWly ie sustainable, local, organic and wholesome. They source foods from local farms that grows everything organically and this is The Oberoi’s way of giving back to society.

Flavourful Lamb Ouzi
Flavourful Lamb Ouzi

I must admit, I was happy with the hommos and babaganoush and olives, till we trolled the buffet tables and came back with our plates stashed with some flavourful lamb ouzi, grills, koftas, dolma (rice wrapped in vine leaves) and other delectables that included sushi. I am a wasabi enthusiast and this one sure had a Mohammad Ali-kind-of-punch!

The dessert station will leave you wondering what you want on your plate; totally spoilt for choices. Do not miss the dessert station that makes the most delicious traditional sweets with a molecular twist.

In short, this luxury Iftar will make you want to come back daily just so you are able to savour all the goodies put out there to eat! Paradise!

BurpAndBelch meter: 5.0

#5WordFoodReview: Oberois Knows Their Food Period

Yalumba - vast seafood array
Yalumba – vast seafood array

The other place we swung to was Yalumba at Meridien Vilage, Garhoud, Dubai. Just when you are wondering what is it that they are doing different, you come face-to-face with the most amazing array of seafood – octopus, shrimps, lobster salad, smoked king fish, salmon and mussels. Right next to it you shall find a selection of cheese and accompaniments to go with it. There is a healthy and refreshing warm seafood soup that you wish to have in light winters with a soft blanket around your ankles! Sigh!

Main course included the traditional favourites – ouzi, koftas, kebabs with a sprinking of Indian dishes like butter chicken. I skipped the fried sections of kibbeh and fritters but piled on the mildly flavoured Moroccan chicken.

Unfortunately, we were so stuffed that we had to skip the dessert section of fruits and custards and creams and I cannot even begin to tell you how much that pains us!

BurpAndBelch meter: 5.0

#5WordFoodReview: Soup And Seafood Makes Happiness

Dining At 25 Degrees North

25 Degrees North Facade
25 Degrees North Facade

Longitudinally speaking, Dubai is situated on 25 degrees north and that is why this restaurant adopts it as its name. However, to locate the swanky restaurant in Business Bay will take you a good GPS. This Business Bay outlet is the second establishment to open its doors, after the first outlet in Tecom. Plush interiors and  warm staff will make you feel welcome to this ‘north Indian delicacy-serving’ restaurant.

Dahi Bhalla
Dahi Bhalla

My friend Shyam and I submitted to the gastronomic assault that started with some refreshing Jal Zeera (popular Indian summer drink made with cumin, mint and black salts with a descriptor from Wikipedia) and Dahi Bhalla (lentil dumplings in cold yoghurt and sweet tamarind chutney). Good start.

Watermelon Chaat
Watermelon Chaat
Scrumptious Palak Chaat
Scrumptious Palak Chaat

It was followed up by some Watermelon Chat. They need to change the serving plate from the current flat one, as watermelon juice spilled on the table. Also enticing us was the scrumptious spinach fritters or Palak (Pakodey) Chat.  This was definitely the star!

Non-traditional looking Dahi Kebab
Non-traditional looking Dahi Kebab

Next up was Dahi Kebab (made with hung curd). They looked more like spring roles, as opposed to the traditional medallions, and were a little too ‘bready’.

Mutton Seekh Kebab
Mutton Seekh Kebab

Chef Ravinder then had some smooth mutton seekh kebabs and chicken malai kebabs sent our way. Those were demolished. With it came Amritsari Fish Tikka. I would have preferred the marinade to be a bit more spicy and not bordering on bland.

Kadhai Prawn
Kadhai Prawn
Nalli Nihari
Nalli Nihari

Main course featured Dal Palak (lentils with spinach), Kurkurey Bhindi (crispy okra), Paneer Makhni (cottage cheese in sweet buttery tomato gravy), Nalli Nihari (slow cooked lamb / mutton stew) and Kadai Prawns. Am afraid the Kurkurey Bhindi turned out to be Bhindi Pakodey (each okra was batter coated and not fried-till-crisp) and so, totally disappointing. The Kadai Prawns did not match up to the description in the menu. It was rather sweet as opposed to the under-cutting sense of heat. Maybe the sweetness of the red onions were up to foul play. What hit the mark was the Paneer Makhni and to some extent, Nalli Nihari.

Chicken Dumpukht Biryani
Chicken Dumpukht Biryani

I discussed the type of mutton being used with the restaurant manager, who graciously promised to look into it. All this was accompanied with a typical bread basket and some Kashmiri Pulao (replete with pomegranate seeds and dry fruits). There was some piping hot chicken dumpukht biryani served in a seal-able bottle.

Gulab Jamun & Ice Cream
Gulab Jamun & Ice Cream

Before desserts, we took a small walk, just to rearrange everything. Full marks for crispy jalebis and rabdi! Heavenly! And the rabdi (condensed milk with pitachios and cardamom) was thick and smooth. This was followed by a cocktail glass filled with ice-cream, chocolate sauce and tiny gulab jamuns swimming in them.

On my #BurpAndBelch meter: 2.5

#5WordFoodReview: Go For Starters And Desserts Map of 25 Degrees North Business Bay