When talking about celebrity Indian chefs in Dubai, a few names spring to mind immediately – Atul Kochhar, Vineet Bhatia and Sanjeev Kapoor, all of whom have global followings.
One name that will want to be on that list is Kunal Kapur. The man behind Patiala has hosted and been a judge on MasterChef in India. So far, though, his restaurants have yet to achieve the same recognition as those run by the three aforementioned chefs.
When we arrive, this restaurant is completely empty. However, the long dining room doesn’t feel cold, thanks to a warm welcome and some lively Indian music.
The set-up seems simple enough – there’s a salad bar and a live cooking station, and the rest of the food is brought to the table to share.
Best of the salads is the sweet potato chaat, a perfect balance of sweetness and spices. It’s topped off wonderfully with a mint raita. Somewhat jarringly, there are also Middle Eastern dips.
Next are some small bites that come out to our table bit by bit. Our favourites are the seekh dogs (spicy lamb kebabs with a mint mayo to cool things down). The meat has a good kick and overall they’re playful and tasty. With about eight two-bite morsels coming out one-by-one, each with an explanation from the waiter, we feel like we’re interrupted quite a bit, though.
At the cooking station there is some decent biryani rice, but the accompanying roast lamb is in a sauce too salty for everyone at the table.
The main courses bring with them the highlight of the afternoon – two kulchas, one filled with mutton, the other with potato. More buns accompany the rather too-salty chickpea stew, an excellent keema and a sweeter vegetable stew, which all adds up to a meal that fills us up and makes us thirsty.
As the brunch goes on Patiala gets busier and the atmosphere is great. It doesn’t really matter that all the food isn’t perfect as we have such a good time. But for Kapur to join the ranks of those elite chefs, more dishes will have to be absolutely spot-on.
The Bottom Line
An enjoyable afternoon with some great dishes (among a few that need work).