Set on the 15th floor in the South Tower of the Emirates Financial Towers in DIFC, Mint Leaf of London boasts spectacular views over the Dubai skyline and has a prime view of the Burj Khalifa through huge ceiling-to-floor windows.
The décor, in keeping with the food, is contemporary. Mint Leaf of London may be a curry house, but it is one with lofty ambitions. Its presentation of dishes is a notch above most Indian restaurants, and the monocrome, minimalist interiors offer a cool, place to spend an afternoon. We’re seated in the lounge, which is decorated with henna-inspired wall carvings and has more relaxed seating than the main dining room. The comfy seats and oversized cushions put us in a laid-back mood, something the waiting staff and kitchen seem to be suffering from, such is the pace of service.
The brunch, which has recently revamped its culinary offering, comprises a six-course menu that is served to your table. This might sound overwhelming, but portion sizes are small and prettily presented. You are, of course, free to order more of whatever you’d like throughout the afternoon, but it’s not a brunch you’re likely to gorge yourself silly at.
Mint Leaf promises “culinary artistry”, and the food doesn’t disappoint in terms of both taste and appearance. Dishes are flavoursome and well thought out, with clear care put into the presentation of everything, right down to the swirls of minty and spicy sauces dressing the plates.
The first two courses are the highlights of the brunch, with a masala chana chaat – spiced chickpeas with tamarind chutney – that is equal parts fresh, light and tangy.
Tandoori broccoli grilled and mixed with cream cheese sounds an unusual combination, but the smoothness of the cheese complements the al dente vegetable. A panko-crusted sweetcorn and cheese cake (mozzarella, again an ingredient less seen in Indian cooking but one that really works) is enhanced by the addition of mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Course three comprises a tasty, but not outstanding, tandoori chicken tikka and a zaffrani Malai chicken tikka (with saffron milk and cream cheese) and a spicy bite-sized portion of skewered lamb mince with roasted red pepper.
The seafood section isn’t particularly noteworthy, though the grilled prawns with roasted garlic paste are nice enough. The main course is delicately served in small silver dishes, with sides of saffron rice and a bread basket. All selections have good flavours, but the matar paneer korma is our favourite. The sauce is light and fresh and studded with bright green peas; a perfect veggie dish. The chicken tikka in a buttery tomato sauce is moreish, but the dal makhni is a little rich for our taste.
Finally, desserts arrive, taking the form of petite, neat rows of afternoon-tea style treats, which come on a slate board that looks almost canapé-esque.
The whole experience, however, is let down by the service. Staff try hard, but are slightly flustered, and food and drinks are not forthcoming. After being seated we wait ten minutes before receiving a menu, and nearly half an hour before our drinks arrive. Then there’s a long delay, bordering on 45 minutes, before our main dishes arrive. We’re all for leisurely brunches, but when it’s a set menu being served, these wait times are slightly baffling.
When the main courses do come to the table, they’re somewhat tepid, which is disappointing – we also asked for some whole-wheat roti, but our plates were clean before it made an appearance.
Mint Leaf of London provides an informal afternoon and a reasonably priced brunch with some interesting dishes, but it’s unlikely to be one we’ll be rushing back to.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs320 (house beverages), Dhs370 (bubbly). Fri-Sat 1pm-4.30pm. Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC (04 706 090004 706 0900).
The Bottom Line
Tasty food but bring your patience.