Dubai is as international as it gets when it comes to dining options. With 200 nationalities calling this ‘home’, it’s safe to bet that you can pretty much nibble your way around the world, in this emirate.
Power lunches and dinners are big business and happen in no half measures. No surprises then that Carnival by Tresind decides to bring the celebration of Indian food to the many cultures that throng the busy corporate hub of DIFC.
And it is no ordinary Indian food! What the team at Carnival calls ‘post-modern era’ cuisine, is basically a culinary journey where the boundaries of gastronomy are pushed to conjure memories of childhood eatings. Why? Because here, everything you pop in your mouth is developed from memories of the team that put this menu together.
Walking into the very dramatic interiors of the restaurant actually already feels like a fiesta but, if that fails to convince you, the unique bubble shower welcome will delight!
I remember my first visit to Tresind and it honestly blew my mind. As impossible as it sounds, Carnival actually takes the theatre of food a notch further with both, presentation and flavour. First on the table was Happy Halloween – a pumpkin stuffed kulchha which made me beg for more. Of course, when you’re staring at a 14 course menu, you realize there’s no space for encores. The next course read Makhan Phal or ‘butter fruit’ – a splodge of avocado and lime cream on top of a cacao butter hive. To serve this in an Indian restaurant is, to me, a brave idea which needs applause. And though I personally have a mild dislike to avocado – I couldn’t help feeling very impressed.
Mixology here takes as much centre stage as the fancy food, so it was exciting to be presented the Goli Soda – classic Indian fizzy and also be taught how to pop it! The Kala Khatta was so much a treat to the palate that I quickly asked for a repeat!
The Tomatina Beverage Soup is something I must talk about! Quite frankly, tomato soup is the thing of nightmares for me, back from the times when we would travel in Indian trains, where someone would come selling a peppery tomato soup, you could smell from a mile away! Well, so judging by the first look I didn’t quite understand whether this absolutely transparent liquid was only just water or really a soup. The menu read ‘tomato essence’ so I convinced myself to take a sip rather hesitantly! That broth was jam-packed with flavour that went well beyond the limits of my imagination. Served with a delightful tomato and cheese breadstick it completely bowled me over!
Then came the Indian Fried Chicken – crispy chicken pakora wrapped in boondi and topped with gold leaf, resembling every bit like a mini motichoor ka laddoo. Every bit desi and every bit delicious. For those who love seafood, you will love the Pullinji – South Indian ginger prawns smeared with palm sugar caramel and finished off with a curry leaf crisp. There’s nothing to fault the dish, but there’s equally no surprise element in there.
The entree was elaborate! Everything from the Mutton Dressed as Lamb to See Food – sous vide scallops served with assam tea dashi, was faultless, but the Dal Phulka – a rather sophisticated take on an Indian staple, served up with truffle ghee and cumin coco was my favourite. It’s easy to turn the volume up on an ingredient like lamb or scallop, but to do it for something as humble as daal and phulka, and to turn the memory of a daily meal into an experience of flair, is creativity in another league. The kind of creativity which happens like an everyday affair in Himanshu Saini’s kitchen.
Come to desserts and I found my show-stopper for the evening. The cold Malai Baraf – litchi granita with raspberry rose water and fresh milk skin, served in an inverted ice cube that doubled up as a shot glass. I haven’t seen a more stunning dessert and it tasted like heaven! Go Bananas – an Indian twist on the classic Banoffee Pie and The Betels – the sweet pan-flavoured version of a French macaron are there too for those who still have room to get to the next on the list!
Overall, the experience is impeccable and yes it is priced at a premium, but then that’s not the thing you’ll really remember when you’re walking out of this place.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4 | Ambiance: 4.5 | Service: 4 | Overall: 4
Meal for Two without Alcohol: Dhs 400 Inclusive of taxes | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Timing Lunch 12-3.30 pm; Dinner: 06.30 – 10.45 pm| Wheelchair Access: Yes
Address: Unit P5-03/01, Level POD, Burj Daman, Dubai International Financial Centre, P.O.box – 27385, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: +971522424262 / + 97144218665
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind