Urban Tadka Restaurant

Karama street food snack stop to try in Dubai
  • 2

Time Out Says

Urban Tadka is not on a main street, but it’s not hard to find. Duck behind Trade Centre Road and ask any passerby where it is and most likely they’ll be able to point it out. For the Indian restaurant is a bit of an institution in Karama. Pass it at night, and you’ll find the place buzzing, with Indian families and singles perched outside to snack on pani puris and raj kachori. This had prompted Time Out to feature the restaurant’s offerings in our recent street food issue, but it occurred to me that we’d never eaten inside the restaurant. So I called up a curry-loving friend and we headed down to Karama one sleepy lunchtime for a main meal.

Urban Tadka has a different feel during the day than it does at night. Because so much of its clientele loiter outside in the evenings, it can’t help but feel bright and convivial. The place is much quieter during the lunch hour, though it still manages to fill a few tables. The interior is dark, but charming and friendly, with a handful of Hindu idols filling in various nooks and a helpful waiter willing to make recommendations. We started things off with a masala papad, a large popadom sprinkled with fresh cut tomatoes, coriander, onions and a sprinkling of spices. It made for an addictive and refreshing opener.

Mains, however, didn’t possess the complexity that this simple starter had in spades. Although my date and I ordered two separate dishes, there was a sameness about them. His palak cheese kofta, gooey balls of melted cheese in a thick spinach sauce, had similar characteristics to my vaguely named Urban Tadka special. The signature dish consisted of chilis and cauliflower wrapped in a dumpling-like skin and topped with a green (presumably spinach) sauce and a milder, sweet tomato sauce. Both dishes packed a lot of heat, but once the spices subsided it was hard to hold on to any distinct taste.

We finished things off with a delicate sampling of gulab jamun, a dessert that proved Urban Tadka’s credentials when it comes to smaller, less complicated dishes. In the evenings, their chaat, or snacks, are brilliant to eat and, also, brilliantly priced. I will definitely be back to dine at the corner side restaurant, but next time I’ll be loitering outside, stuffing my face with a variety of street-side puris.

The bill (for two)
1x Large Masafi water Dhs4
2x Sweet lassi Dhs20
1x Masala papad Dhs5
1x Urban Tadka special Dhs26
1x Palak cheese kofta Dhs24
1x Onion kulcha Dhs6
1x Naan Dhs4
1x Gulab jamun Dhs8
Total (including service) Dhs97

By Daisy Carrington  | 29 Jun 2009

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Show number 04 396 1395
Dubai, Al Karama, Ground Floor, Al Falaknaz Building, Near Naresco Building, Al Karama - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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