Royal Kitchen Kuisine

Quirky Marina venue serves international fodder in Zen Tower
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Time Out Says

Royal Kitchen Kuisine is the unlikeliest of restaurants in the unlikeliest of places. Located in the last bastion of civilisation, just before the Marina gives way to a forest of pylons and a sea of desert, RKK is difficult to find, to say the very least. The fact that this area is still in the throes of construction doesn’t help (to get there, guests must run a gauntlet of sand traps and waylaid building materials), nor does the fact that the area appears to be completely devoid of humanity. On a number of occasions I was close to turning back simply because it defied logic that someone would set up a restaurant here.

I persevered and eventually found RKK tucked under the foot of Zen Tower. Once inside, however, I felt as though I’d just stepped into a small family-run Karama eatery. The eclectic decor is basic at best, aside from the huge flat-screen TV that sits to the right as you enter. Elsewhere, tinny silver platters adorn the wine-red walls and a dark, empty bar occupies the far end of the relatively small interior.

I took a seat at a booth and was quickly joined by a small boy in a Chelsea shirt. After studying me for a few seconds, he hopped off his seat and scooted over to the stereo. Before I knew it, this small, empty restaurant had come alive with the sound of Beyoncé’s ‘All the Single Ladies’. The place has character, I’ll give it that.

I had been told that RKK was a Pakistani restaurant, but it soon became clear from scanning down the menu that it served more or less everything: Pakistani, Indian, Arabic… the manager even told me that they could prepare Chinese and pasta dishes on request. Oh dear. It was one of those restaurants. I thanked him for his offer, but decided it’d be safer to stick to sub-continental cuisine, and ordered a chapli kebab, murgh handi, palak paneer and a helping of roghni naan.

The chapli kebab arrived just as Beyoncé was imploring all the single ladies to raise their hands. This was speedy service to say the least, though the chapli looked to have suffered because of it – the meat patty was ill-shaped and the accompanying tomato slice and limp lettuce leaf did nothing to help whet the appetite. But looks can deceive and, to my surprise, it was pretty good. The meat was tender and the coriander and parsley could easily be discerned.

My mains appeared from the kitchen just as Beyoncé was warming up for another chorus (my pint-sized friend had put the track on repeat). Both the palak paneer and murgh handi were served in modest portions, and while the former lacked sufficient cheesy chunks, it was saved by the puréed spinach and a welcome hint of mustard. Meanwhile, the handi’s lack of sauce rendered it a disparate collection of ingredients rather than a coherent dish.

Judging by the small cross-section of dishes I sampled from RKK’s menu, it’d be fair to say that the quality of the food is as varied and eccentric as the decor: there’s simply no rhyme or reason to it. While this lends a certain charm to RKK, it’s an inconsistency that will ultimately discourage customers from making the journey to the far reaches of New Dubai.

The bill (for one)
1x Chapli kebab Dhs16
1x Palak paneer Dhs22
1x Murgh handi Dhs24
1x Roghni naan Dhs5
Total (excluding service) Dhs67

By Oliver Robinson  | 21 Sep 2010

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Show number 04 399 7738
Dubai, Dubai Marina, Zen Building - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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