Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor

Indian celebrity chef's new restaurant offers a few surprises 11 Reviews

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On arriving at Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, for a split second I wondered if they were expecting us. The friendly staff seemed to look at us a little expectantly, and it seemed as though everyone had appeared out of nowhere to greet us. We were led passed the minute bar and into a dining room that, on first glance, looked to be swathed in measure upon measure of luxurious Indian silk in translucent, ethereal silver.

On second glance (and after getting close enough to touch it), I wondered if they hadn’t been expecting anyone at all. The ‘drapes’ felt and looked like industrial plastic protective sheeting; the closer I got, the more it looked as though the builders hadn’t left yet. The restaurant was, in fact, in its soft opening, yet still charging full price, so it should have been ready to offer full service too.

Quibbles aside, I quite liked the decor. It was simple and dark, and there was a subtle but clear sense of an Indian aesthetic: the silver of the industrial sheeting was echoed in the glimmering silver rings around the ‘signature’ plates. Sadly, as though we were children not trusted with mummy’s fancy crockery, these were removed and replaced with a less exciting – yet still stylish – batch of white plates. Granted, this is often
the case, but I can never understand why restaurants insist on laying tables with plates they’d rather you didn’t eat from.

The menu was large and full of Indian words (with no English-language explanations). Thrown in among the Indian phraseology, which seemed to spell authenticity, were a few hints of dubious-sounding fusion. Feeling lost amid this mire, we gratefully accepted the help of our waiter, who showed a good understanding of such a new menu, guiding us through our choices and helping to ensure we didn’t over-order.

His kind work, however, was undone by the quantity of free food that landed on our table. First was the crispy, peppercorn-spotted poppadoms with five different and fairly creative chutneys, then the amuse bouche (artfully given an Indian name, meaning ‘beginning’) of sweet chat and a refreshing mint and fruit shooter.

Then the ‘proper’ food arrived: a sharing platter of chicken cooked three ways in a tandoor oven. At the sound of ‘chicken parmesan tikka’, I could feel the cringe spreading across my face – although it actually proved to be rather good. It didn’t taste particularly Indian, yet the meat was juicy and succulent.

The chicken seekhpa took some explaining: we were led to believe this was ‘double chicken’, or rather a chicken leg wrapped in more chicken. I’m still unsure: even after the waiter told me to ‘forget the other chicken’, I still find myself wondering what happened to it. The ‘other chicken’ aside, it was tasty and tender. The neza kabab was also a little odd, and again satisfactorily so. This roll of minced chicken meat stuffed with a creamy, herby filling, was unexpectedly light in flavour and very enjoyable.

Then to the main courses. The rogan josh with Kashmiri chilli and onion gravy was spicy without being over the top, and the large chunks of meat on the bone were well cooked. The menu listed several ‘gharha’, a slow-cooked claypot speciality that is a signature at Signature. We tried the lemongrass butter chicken, which was wonderfully creamy and vibrantly flavoured, and sprinkled with zaatar for a pleasingly local touch. The dish came with a sun-dried tomato and olive naan, which was not unpleasant, but tasted disorientatingly like pizza, and added nothing to the Asian flavours of the dish. The mint paratha was a much better bet.

Suddenly it felt as though we’d been eating for days. Full, well fed and satisfied, but still confused about that chicken, we decided the exciting-sounding desserts would have to wait until another time – possibly accompanied by another confusing explanation.

The bill (for two)
1x Chicken kebab platter
Dhs85
1x Rogan josh Dhs75
1x Gharha chicken Dhs85
1x Steamed rice Dhs20
1x Pudina paratha Dhs25
1x Mocktail Dhs30
1x Large water Dhs18
Total (excluding service) Dhs338

By Penelope Walsh
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Meliá Dubai, Bur Dubai, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 386 8111
  • Travel: Kuwait Street
  • Website

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User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: ehsaas on 25 Feb ' 14 at 04:49
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We went to this restaurant last nite and was not very impressed with the ambience and decor as soon as we entered , lighting is dull, no sofas inside and in winters you cannot sit outside when you are going with small kids. Staff is friendly but service was poor as we had to keep reminding them for straw, napkins, spoons etc . Baby chair and disposable cups and plates for the kids was not available.

Disappointed with a very small portion of starter, one mushroom, one paneer and two broccoli pieces with some kind of chutney in a cone, did not find value for money. taste was ok , not great.
Main course again very bland , Lemon Pappu , sarson ka saag, and tawa vegetables , no spice . Not meant for Indian taste , good for goras, no value for money at all, Was expecting much more from Sanjeev Kapoor as I have been to both Khazana and Options and their food , service is much better and not too expensive like this restaurant.

I am a very big fan of SK and would want him to review this feedback and do some corrections as we have a big Indian community in Dubai who is fond of his food but with this kind of experience I would never recommend anyone to this place.

Posted by: Xavier on 13 Jul ' 13 at 20:12
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

My second visit.....almost 5 months after........this guys are awesome.....had been there at great brands since this lap...but the good thing is they recognise me without a prior reservation.....how come???only one thing i felt.....need some changes in the menu,,,,,,I am pretty sure you can make it better Akshay........had one more gr8 xperience.....thank you Sandeep and your best team.............will meet you soon

Posted by: Kunal leelvani on 19 Mar ' 13 at 20:04
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I dont know from where to start...the food is amazing and so is the service. Chef akshay had met us and surprized with his amazing passion. We will surely visit back...

Posted by: chetna on 11 Mar ' 13 at 09:13
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

This is such a dark and gloomy place. it makes me feel as i am sitting in a cave, the food is so so.expected a lot from Sanjeev Kapoor. Not very impressed.

Posted by: Jay on 24 Jan ' 13 at 20:02
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Great service! Great decor! Great place for a romantic dinner or a family dinner! Food is quite innovative!

Posted by: Xavier on 08 Sep ' 12 at 14:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

never realized that the indian food can be better like this....WOWWWWW............Two thumps up FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM.......apart from the poor construction of the building and the cleanliness of the wash rooms ...GR8 PLACE .............

Posted by: Abhayjeet Kalra on 16 Aug ' 12 at 19:22

This is a well thought place and serves amazing food from different regions of India. Hats off to chef akshay nayyar who pampers the guests so much that they have to return back...! Thanks to signature as it is now the best Indian restaurant in Dubai

Posted by: Mrs. Gandhi on 01 Aug ' 12 at 12:00
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Had the amazing experience of having a lovely dinner at Signature. Totally innovative where fine dining is concerned. A huge salute to chef Akshay Nayyar who is in charge. His personal attention goes a long way in making the guest comfortable.
The presentation of the food is of a remarkable high standard. Thumbs up to the whole staff of Signature.

Posted by: Lisa on 28 Jul ' 12 at 16:15
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Totally disagree with the negative review above.

Ten of us went on at the weekend and all of us had a fantastic time.

We were seated on a table big enough to accommodate us at the back of the restaurant, which was partially curtained off, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves, which was ideal.

The service was great, the waiters attentive, but not overly so. Food came quickly, and all together, so everyone was eating at the same time (I have been to many places in Dubai where the food comes out in dribs and drabs!).

The food itself was very tasty, in fact some of the nices Indian cuisine I have tasted.

We spent quite some time in there and were not rushed out by the staff.

I would reccommend anyone to go and give it a try. We were obviously a group, but it is definitely somewhere I would go with my husand for a romantic meal.

Very impressed and looking forward to going back again sometime.

We spent about 800dhs per couple, but we did drink a lot of wine, which will have bumped our bill up quite considerably.

Well worth it!

Posted by: DEVENDER SINGH on 13 Jul ' 12 at 10:55
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

V WENT TO THE RESTAURANT ON 12.7.12. AMBIANCE WAS VERY DARK. SERVICE STAFF ALSO WEAR DARK CLOTHES. EXCEPT FOR THE STARTERS THE MAIN COURSE WAS LOUSY. ORDERED NIZAM CHICKEN CURRY- THE CHICKEN WAS VERY HARD TO MUNCH. ORDERED FOR CHICKEN BIRYANI AGAIN THE RICE WAS UN COOKED AND THE CHICKEN WAS VERY HARD TO MUNCH. THE EVENING CHEF CAME AND EXPLAINED THAT HE DIDNT COOKED IT FRESH. OVERALL THE DINNER WAS VERY POOR LY MADE A ROAD SIDE CAFETERIA BIRYANI WHICH IS 15 TO 25 DHS IS MUCH MORE TASTY THAN SANJEEV KAPOORS SIGNATURE RESTAURANT. V WILL NEVER THINK OF VISITING AND NEVER RECOMMEND ANYBODY ELSE TO VISIT. NEEDS LOTS OF UPGRADING. HOPE SOMEBODY READS THIS.

Posted by: Abhayjeet Kalra on 02 Jul ' 12 at 13:57
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Excellent food and best in Dubai

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