Farzi Café's Chef Saurabh Udinia talks about food and more to Time Out Dubai.
Name: Chef Saurabh Udinia Job title: Chef de Cuisine, Farzi Café Age: 28 years
How long have you lived in Dubai?
I haven’t permanently lived in Dubai, however over the past two years have spent a considerable time in the region studying its culinary culture and the market.
Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you’re not at work?
I have travelled across the region, exploring it both from a leisure point of view as well as to study its culinary culture and tradition. I quite enjoyed the sand dune Dessert Safari experience which ends with an amazing meal in the middle of the desert as well as the Global Village around Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed road, which showcases the food, artifacts, etc from other countries from around the world. Though I’ve seen most of Dubai, I am yet to explore the Dubai Marina area, which I hear is quite different from the rest of the city.
What’s your top tip for visitors to Dubai? Dubai is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures from around the world, yet has managed to retain its culture and traditions. It is quite endearing to witness the old and new coming together in such a seamless manner, much like the experience we are aiming towards offering our patrons at Farzi Café. My only recommendation for visitors would be to experience Dubai holistically, with the contemporary feel of the region, while also trying out the traditional spaces like the dining experience on the sand dunes, the spice market, etc.
What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven’t done before? Deep sea diving or a bunjee jump off the tip of Burj Khalifa (if it is possible, hehe) are probably the only things I’ve not yet ticked off my list of things to do and something I would definitely like to give a shot at, time permitting.
What career journey did you take before joining your restaurant? I have been associated with the current organization almost since its inception. Post my graduation from one of India’s premiere hospitality institutions – IHM, Pusa, Delhi, I had the opportunity to work with some of the best restaurants and chefs which helped me understand and fine tune my culinary nuances and an understanding of contemporary cuisine.
Why should Time Out readers try your restaurant? To begin with Farzi Café aims at showcasing the robustness cuisine from the Arabian peninsula has to offer. It is for the first time, diners will experience global cuisine with never-before-seen influences from the culinary tradition of the region. We have spent over eight months in research and trials to curate the menu on offer at Farzi Café, Dubai. The dishes served will incorporate not just cutting edge, contemporary cooking techniques such as elements of molecular gastronomy, it also aims to create a truly avant-garde gastronomic culinary experience capturing the five senses.
What’s the best thing about dining at your restaurant in 2016? Farzi Café is all about an avant-garde gastronomic culinary experience, showcasing the robustness Arabian cuisine has to offer. It aims to offer experiential dining unlike any other. It will be difficult for me to put it in words; you have to experience it first hand.
What’s your dish recommendation at your restaurant? (Laughs!) I feel it is an unfair question, as we have worked very hard to develop this curated experiential menu, I will recommend you to try out the entire experience. Having said that, if I had to pick highly recommended options, they would be okra salad in semolina shell, braised prawns #farzified from the Salads, dal chawalarancini, pita golgappas –couscous tabbouleh, labneh kebab, spiked beef toasties and the smoked beef pattharke kebab from our tapas section. There’s also the wagyu slider and the granular soy sliders that one shouldn’t miss out on. In the mains, choose among the charmoula crusted paneer tikka, the #farzifiedshwarma biryani or seared black cod, crab & spinach poriyal. In the dessert section, my recommendation, don’t miss anything.
Aside from where you work, where else do you like to dine in Dubai and why? I quite like to experience the local traditions and cultures of the places I visit or work in. So for me, it will have to be the small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants or the ones sold on carts, which exposes me to traditional dining of Dubai and for something a little more elaborate and exquisite, I would opt for the dessert sunset dining on the outskirts of the region, if possible.
What is the best dish you’ve ever tasted in your life and who made it? It has to be keema stuff karela (bitter gourd) made at home by my mother and fresh burrata salad in Florence.