Patiala by Kunal Kapur

North Indian restaurant in Souk al Bahar
$$
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Time Out Says

New northern Indian in Souk al Bahar shines through the darkly inviting interiors.

This year has seen a wealth of concept-driven eateries open in Souk al Bahar, as well as new Indian venues throughout the city. Joining both trends is Patiala, a restaurant that takes its name from a city in the Punjab and specialises in northern Indian cooking.

Welcomed by a hostess in a sleek black and shiny outfit, an air of nightspot exclusivity set the scene. We walked through a dim and narrow entrance that offered no hint of what awaited us inside, into an equally dark and shiny dining space. Clean cut and jet black, with unadorned walls, a simple gold and black fresco on the ceiling and a light feature of white bulbs hanging low from long black rods immediately set this space apart with understated cool.

While the waiter began by struggling to understand my English, his service skills were excellent. He was friendly, formal, polite and obliging in all the right measures. He had a good grasp of the menu, was able to point us in the direction of signature dishes and to my huge joy, when asked how a dish was made, was able to give us a fluid, relaxed and blow-by-blow account of the stages and seasoning involved.

More impressive was the waiter’s insistence that the spice level of each dish was fairly irrelevant, since he could happily tell the kitchen to make it to whatever level we desired. This illustrated not only good service, but that what we were eating would be made fresh, which we could perhaps have seen in the open kitchen at the back.

We started with some exceptionally refreshing basil breeze mocktails, and ordered the Patiala chaat platter and chilli mint prawn kebab to start. Neither myself, nor my guest, were particularly impressed with the chaat platter, although there were no glaring issues with it. The sweet and soft aloo tikki potato cakes were tasty, but lacked any excitement in flavour, and the tangy, fragrant, spicy fresh fruit mix of mango, strawberry and apple was interesting, fresh and well seasoned, but simply not to our personal tastes. The prawn kebab, however, arrived with drama on a copper contraption that looked like a treasure chest, giving off a woody, smoky aroma and tasted very good. The prawns were mildly and freshly flavoured with mint, with a lovely smokiness to them.

For our main courses, we ordered the gosht rogan josh (lamb curry) and fish cooked on a tawa hot plate, teamed with plain steamed rice and a roomali roti. The rogan josh came charmingly presented in a little black bucket, which managed to look original, yet still with a whimsical sense of the rustic. It tasted delicious, with wonderfully tender chunks of lamb and a beautifully buttery fattiness to the meat. The fish on the tawa, turned out to be critically endangered hammour, which was a major downside. Nevertheless, the softly gingery, garlicky flavour was good, if a little salty. It was teamed with potatoes with a beautiful cumin intensity to them, although they were a little undercooked. The roomali roti were thicker and doughier than others I’ve tried, but very enjoyable with a pleasant sweetness to the dough.

Aside from the hammour, fruit chaat and undercooked potatoes, we were satisfied with the reasonably priced food and the experience. A highly recommended new haunt.

The bill (for two)
1x Patiala chat platter Dhs40
1x chilli mint prawn kebab Dhs155
1x tawa macchi Dhs100
1x gosht rogan josh Dhs120
1x steamed rice Dhs20
2x roti roomali Dh40
2x mocktail Dhs60
2x large water 28
Total (including service) Dhs577

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 04 Jun 2013

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Details

Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
12:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Sunday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMMonday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMTuesday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMWednesday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMThursday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMFriday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PMSaturday: 12:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Show number +971 4 4519151
Dubai, Burj Khalifa Area, Level 3, Souk Al Bahar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd
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