Get to know Chef Vivek at Dubai’s Mint Leaf of London
How long have you lived in Dubai? I came on Christmas Day in 2013 so that's a year and a half now.
Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you’re not at work? I usually spend time with my family at home or visit old Dubai. I love exploring the souks and soaking in the sights and sounds.
What’s your top tip for visitors to Dubai? Choose the season carefully before booking a trip - it gets very hot during the summer. Always make time for a visit to Old Dubai and the souks - there is so much of the Emirati culture that is often missed in between the sky scrapers and luxury hotels.
What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven’t done before? Skydiving. My fear of heights has stopped me so far but the rush is pulling me closer every day!
What career journey did you take before joining your restaurant? I always wanted to work in hospitality so when I was 18 I joined a hotel management training programme. Upon completion I worked in restaurants in India and then moved to the UK where I stayed for several years developing my skills. During this time, I got the chance to work with a Michelin-starred chef at a well-regarded Indian restaurant group before joining Mint Leaf of London in Dubai as Executive Chef. When the opportunity to work in Dubai came up I couldn't turn it down, especially with the chance to work at a prestigious restaurant such as Mint Leaf.
Why should Time Out readers try your restaurant? The Indian food that we offer is unique which I think sets us apart for others in Dubai. We serve authentic Indian cuisine with an innovative contemporary twist that provides a fantastic gastronomic experience. We are passionate about the food we serve, the level of service and delivering a welcoming atmosphere in both the restaurant and the lounge.
What’s the best thing about dining at your restaurant in 2015? We are rolling out new food menus for both the restaurant and the lounge, plus we will be introducing a new beverage menu. The new menus have been influenced by suggestions and recommendations from our guests so we can make the experience more unique and tailored for them.
Additionally, there is a new tasting menu paired with a great selection of grape, which gives guests the opportunity to taste nearly every dish on the menu.
What’s your dish recommendation at your restaurant? Adraki Lamb Chops are my favourite - with ginger and romero pepper patted onto lamb chops, grilled and served with minted potatoes is definitely the star of the menu.
However, the dish that has really made me proud is the Aloo Chaat - a simple dish with a very modern twist to it. It is served in a martini glass, with a bed of crispy potatoes pressed and tossed in tamarind syrup and coated with fine gram flour vermicelli.