There was no reason to suspect that Eric’s would be different to any of the other authentic eateries in Karama. It looked clean yet generic, and the menu spanned so many regional styles of cooking from across Asia that my companion began to assume that Eric was a backpacker with a culinary bent.

Not so, we learned. Eric is the Goan owner of this venue, which is why we made a beeline for the Goan section of this extensive menu. Armed with a lengthy list of hot tips, supplemented by recommendations from the waiters, we ordered up a storm.

First to arrive was the fish koliwada: fried pieces of soft white fish in a burning red, lightly crispy batter with a super-soft background of spice. Unsure what to expect from ‘baby corn crisps’, this starter was something of a surprise: it was doused in a fiery red coating with an equally fiery level of spiciness. While it was infinitely too hot for me, my friend revelled in this dish, dubbing it ‘devils’ tongues’.

Next to arrive were the main dishes, which were far more generously sized than I’d anticipated. I rarely take photos in restaurants, yet the colours of each dish were so saturated and vibrant I felt compelled to get my camera out. The dahl tadka was soft and mellow, yet still full of personality, while the bhendi masala was an excellent example of an okra dish, tasting extremely fresh. The aloo methi, made with potatoes and fenugreek, was so creamy and sweet that it almost reminded me of Italian ricotta and spinach recipes. The mushroom mettar would have been a good dish in another restaurant, but here it was knocked out of the league by more impressive plates.

The winner though, had to be the coastal chicken: tender pieces coated in an ultra-fragrant and warm mix of spices, with the sour tang of fresh curry leaves and the nutty crunch of sesame adding the final punch of deliciousness. We mopped it all up with plain rice, good chapatis and dosa, which were not the thin, crispy item we were both familiar with, but sweet, soft and buttery little griddle cakes, with a slightly crispy touch.

As much as this may sound like artistic exaggeration, when the bill arrived and I saw the fantastically low cost of the feast we’d ordered, I gawped in such sudden astonishment, mouth wide open, that it felt as though I’d broken my face. Once it’s mended, very little could stand between me and a second visit.

The bill (for two)
1x baby corn crisps Dhs18
1x fish koliwada Dhs22
1x coastal chicken Dhs20
1x aloo mehti Dhs14
1x bhendi masala Dhs16
1x dahl tadka Dhs8
1x mushroom mutter Dhs14
1x paneer jalfrezi Dhs20
4x chapati Dhs4
1x portion of dosa Dhs5
1x steamed rice Dhs6
3x mint cooler Dhs3
Total (excluding service) Dhs150