We head to Bur Dubai for some home cooking 2 Reviews
With the promise of finding yet another unknown ethnic gem in Old Dubai, my companion and I headed to Mama’s Restaurant in Bur Dubai to try its selection of northern and southern Indian dishes. Ignoring the cartoony logo and neon signage, we headed inside, past the nondescript budget-hotel-style reception, up the stairs and into an equally ordinary dining space, where the greatest visual gesture to greet our eye was the kitsch water feature at the top of the stairs.
Nonplussed by this simplicity, we headed to a table and dived straight into the menu. It was difficult for us to discern what each dish was because most of them were described only by their Indian names. Perhaps a sure-fire sign of authenticity – or at least a mainly Indian clientele.
Our waiter for the evening was friendly, smiley and honest (he stopped us on the brink of over-ordering), so we turned to him for recommendations. And recommend he did, though communication difficulties meant he wasn’t quite able to explain to us what the suggested dishes were.
One of the best of these recommendations came when we ordered roti. The roti themselves were good: thin yet dense little breads. Alongside came the recommended appam: hot, sweet and buttery little pancakes with an icy-white, frothy cobweb-like consistency, somehow matched with a sponge-cake softness, and a little wafer-thin crunch towards the end. Sadly, the miscommunication over the recommendations fell down at the fruit chat, which was an ordinary fruit salad dressed in a subtle masala mix. It was refreshing and not unpleasant, but cinnamon-doused grapes made a strange interlude between courses.
The mixed platter of tandoori kebabs was largely a success: the chicken was particularly juicy and flavoursome, although the sausage-like lamb patties were a dry, dull affair. The bhindi masaledar (okra) was well prepared; likewise the spinach kadai was an enjoyable dish that was mellow yet still full of earthy flavour.
The meat in the nadan beef curry was too tough, yet the curry gravy was thick and sweet, and the overall effect made for good eating. Sadly the ghee rice was much too greasy, and the smell of hot-dog stands was compounded by the slivers of fried onion.
The star of the night was the fish molee. The sight of the intense, saturated green colour of this Keralan fish curry could only be matched by the equally vibrant taste – the fish itself was tender, and pockets of sourness burst amid the coconut sweetness of the sauce as we chewed on the curry leaves in the dish.
Mama’s wasn’t quite the earth-shattering and unearthed treasure we’d hoped for, but it’s a nice place, serving food that measures up to the standards elsewhere in town. Worth a visit if you’re nearby.
The bill (for two)
1x tandoori mixed platter Dhs35
1x nadan beef curry Dhs20
1x fish molee Dhs25
1x kadai Dhs20
1x bhindi masaledar Dhs18
1x murg punjabdar Dhs22
1x fruit chat Dhs12
1x rice Dhs12
6x breads Dhs12
2x fresh juice Dhs19
1x large water Dhs4
Total (excluding service) Dhs199
Time Out Dubai,
- Previous reviews
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.