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‘Do you have the cold-curing one I got mid tuck-tuck race in Katmandu?’ we imagined demanding. ‘Or how about the one I picked up at that Full Moon Party last year in Kao Pan Yang?’ Much to our gimmick-seeking dismay, we were soon informed that their menu actually touted cuisine from a variety of Asian regions, rather than all of them. Although our satiated stomachs certainly weren’t too upset after we’d sampled a few.
Once we’d located its whereabouts in Dubai’s very own Palm Strip (clue: it’s opposite Jumeirah Beach Park heralded by a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf sign), it dawned on us that we were headed directly to what was formerly Noshi Noshi, our favourite tiny Thai tip – home of reasonably-priced fare, a tucked-away spot and modish, orange-heavy interior. Could Curry On carry on the Asian legacy in Noshi’s wake?
Inside, the boutique, single-floor venue certainly seems to have inherited some of the features of its earlier incarnation. Decked out in neutral, fresh hues, it’s all contemporary cleanliness complete with sepia photographs of international smiley people, lending it the we’re-all-the-same-really feel of a Benetton ad. But despite their indoor efforts, the sheltered courtyard-style wicker seating outside won our backsides’ vote – just as it had on previous Noshi Noshi outings.
As soon as we picked up (and dropped, and bounced about) the quirky 3D cube-shaped menus, an eager waiter was at our side, ready to guide us through the Curry On concept. Ideal for the indecisive, each option is made up of four samples. Thus, our appetisers included not only prawn-tail wontons (divine) and spiced lamb satay skewers (pleasantly light) for myself, but also duck and eggplant spring rolls (steaming fresh) for my partner, along with Thai beef and glass noodle salad (light), with black popadoms (nose-wrinkling) and a spiced chick pea dip (nose-smoothing).
Our appetites now whet rather than drowned, we dove straight into the main courses – tasting, nibbling, sucking and savouring our way across Asia like carefree backpackers with nothing but an indiscriminate appetite to our names. In around half an hour we managed to swing by Dehli, KL, Kuta and Srinagar via Malay king prawn sambal, Indian tikka butter chicken masala, Balinese duck, pumpkin red curry and Kashmir mint chicken kofta curry.
Thankfully, servings were sparing, served in dinky pots alongside perky balls of rice and the coconut-flavoured naan we’d gunned for. Unlike other currythons in the city, emphasis was focused on taste rather than phenomenal quantity – with the Balinese duck and chicken kofta scoring particularly highly in strong flavour.
Flagging somewhat after our intrepid culinary adventures, we moved on to desserts. Yet again the ‘one dish covers four’ rule applied. The Curry On sundae jostled three fragrant flavoured scoops of homemade ice cream, including sweet saffron honey and a tasty coconut banana frozen yoghurt.
Offering more spices than there are cows in India (almost), this Jumeriah eaterie winningly matches creative twists with ancient flavours and budget-friendly prices. Like avid referees at the side of an eating contest, we heartily cry ‘Curry on’.
The bill (for two)
1x Prawn tail wontons, lamb skewers & crisps Dhs22
1x spring rolls, Thai beef and glass noodle salad & poppodoms Dhs22
1x Dehli & KL Dhs38
1x Kuta & Sri Lanka Dhs36
2x Basmati Rice Dhs24
1x Fresh Coconut Naan Dhs7
1x Curry On Sundae Dhs18
2X Masafi Water Dhs8
Total (excluding service) Dhs175
By Jeremy Lawrence | 24 Mar 2008
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