Small Indian restaurant in Dubai's JLT is big on quality 6 Reviews
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This modestly-proportioned new Indian restaurant in JLT proves that size really doesn’t matter.
In a word, the best way to describe the appearance of Memsaab is ‘bijou’. The restaurant space is tiny, but it has been used excellently and to elegant effect. Characterised by a muted, nutty palette of ivory and beige, to your left stands a feature wall, punctured with bell jars of ground spices, in a colour coordinated display. To the right, sitting in front of a wide stretch of mirror is a bank of harlequin patterned and dramatically undulating seating. In the centre, set inside the glass of the tables, is a display of intricate Indian artefacts and jewellery, and right at the back is a small window offering diners a view straight into the kitchen.
From the appearance, I liked Memsaab straight away, and yet more so once we’d been welcomed inside and seated by a warm and friendly waiter. He was well versed in the menu, quickly gauging our preferred level of spicy-heat before jumping in with suggestions, and guiding us through the options well.
We enjoyed a complimentary, palette-awakening shot of mint cooler, perfectly mixed with cumin. In fact it was so good that my friend asked if she could have a glass of this instead of a mint lemonade to drink with her meal, and the waiter happily obliged. We then dived into a large basket of the suggested poppadoms – which had a light, wispy delicacy to them, giving them a more refined edge – teamed with mint raita and thick yoghurt. After this light interlude, the rest of our food arrived promptly. The Memsaab grazing platter contained aloo tikki, koliwada fish and hot wings. The aloo tikki potato cakes were soft and tasty, but a little disappointing, since they lacked any lively nuance in the seasoning. Similarly, the koliwada battered fish was well prepared and good to eat, but strangely plain, considering the description on the menu as ‘masala fried fish fingers’. The hot wings, however, were very moreish. We also ordered one of the tandoor kebabs, the Memsaab chicken tikka, which was delicious and beautifully moist.
For mains, we ordered the gosht saagwallah, a curry of large chunks of meltingly tender lamb, in a spinach sauce that was divinely buttery, glossy and velvety. Contrary to expectation, the saag paneer, also prepared in a spinach sauce, was an entirely different concoction, creamier and with a light, cleanly cutting flavour of fenugreek. The grilled peppered aubergine, which came gravy-less, covered in crumbled feta, was strangely un-Indian in concept and flavour, but it was excellent, since the aubergine slices were wonderfully sweet and beautifully married with the salty cheese. We also tried the kadhai murgh patiala (chicken with spices and peppers), which was a touch spicy for me, but it was a good dish and the sauce had a nutty richness to it. With the main courses, we opted for the tandoori bread basket, containing a selection of naan, kulcha, paratha and roti, which were excellently made: buttery, chewy, soft and crisp all in one. My only query, was why a one-portioned sized packet of butter was served pushed into the top of the bowl of steamed rice we ordered.
Entirely satisfied after dinner, the waiter encouraged us to opt for a dessert, but we couldn’t have eaten another bite. It’s a shame, since the sweet selection contained inventive creations such as mango and green cardamom infused crème brûlée, although this will serve as encouragement to make a return visit.
Memsaab fed us well. We ate hearty, tasty food and it was also affordable. Here, obliging, swift and knowledgeable service in an attractive setting sealed the deal, to make this a great independent newcomer.
The bill (for two)
1x poppadum Dhs8
1x Memsaab grazing platter Dhs36
1x memsaab chicken tikka Dhs28
1x kadhai murgh Patiala Dhs28
1x gosht saagwallah Dhs34
1x grilled eggplant Dhs18
1x saag paneer Dhs22
1x bread basket Dhs12
1x basmati rice Dhs12
2x mint lemon Dhs24
3x small water Dhs15
Total (excluding service) Dhs237
Time Out Dubai,
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