When a restaurant is too dark, one can instantly harbour the suspicion that it has something to hide 30 Reviews
A special à la carte menu of biryani recipes. Prices vary Timings: 7.30pm-3am (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
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When a restaurant is too dark, one can instantly harbour the suspicion that it has something to hide. As we walked through the intricate carvings and ornate hangings adorning the entrance of Antique Bazaar, our eyes adjusted from the bright lights of the businesslike lobby to the muted, dusky shadows inside. Soon enough, the sight of a restaurant full of diners, rapt by colourful musicians performing atmospheric Indian music on a lambent stage, was enough to allay any premature apprehensions. And we sat on soft, cushioned seats at an elaborately finished table that was perfectly placed for us to discover anything this restaurant may have wished to conceal.
There were no hidden surprises on the menu, which offered a comprehensive range of traditional Indian dishes including a separate vegetarian selection. And the customary fresh, crispy papads and lively dips were fully apparent as we made our choices. The shami kebab appetisers were tidy packages of soft minced lamb and chickpeas infused with boldly flavoured coriander; and the machli chaat revealed tender flakes of hammour that unleashed a squealing cheerleader team of attention grabbing, spice-tinged flavours. So we were eager to share main courses to discover if this fine vein of form would continue in earnest.
The dark, rich minced lamb of the hyderabadi kheema materialised coquettishly before us, and the flavour of the soft, juicy meat was every bit as pleasing as its appearance. Following this faithful rendition of a traditional favourite, the saag aloo offered perfectly tasty spinach and potato, but lacked vibrancy due to a dearth of spices. And our nan breads were like second-rate American wrestlers – stiff, unimpressive and laden with grease. So we consoled ourselves with the murgh pattiyala, which brazenly displayed chunks of chicken that flaked and fell apart among an explosion of coriander and garlic. And none of these flavours were masked by the kurumuri bhindi, which uncovered tangy tomato chunks and crispy okra tickled by subtle hints of herbs and spices.
After our feast we could hardly disguise the fact that we’d had our fill, especially when we were sprawled in our seats and getting drowsy amid the muted tones. This was taken as a thinly veiled suggestion to the waiting staff that we would not be perusing the menu for desserts. But with Antique Bazaar’s authentic Indian savouries and disarming languidness, we’d hardly noticed the difference. We didn’t miss the sweetness, but perhaps the place could have done with a little more light.
The bill (for two)
Shami kebab Dhs39
Machli chaat Dhs40
Murgh pattiyala Dhs48
Kurumuri bhindi Dhs33
Saag aloo Dhs33
Bread basket Dhs43
Basmati rice Dhs36
Total (including service) Dhs272
By Time Out Dubai Staff
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