Ah, the Shangri-La Dubai… I have super fond memories living next to this building for nearly three years, and it’s one of my favorite properties (the ladies nights at iKandy…ahem). Thus, when asked to stop in and review Junoon, it was far too easy to say yes.
Let’s peek in on the website and see what to expect:
Junoon, meaning “passion” in Hindi, is an acclaimed, Michelin-starred, contemporary Indian restaurant from New York.
With a diverse menu offering an innovative take on traditional Indian recipes and an extensive beverage list, the restaurant blends a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and old world artistry with sophisticated, modern touches to reflect the diversity of India.
Junoon is dedicated to delivering the best dining experience. Come discover the flavours, hospitality and luxury of India.
And from Chef Steven Hubbell:
“The admission to discovery is asking the question why.”
Deep thoughts for dinner, yes?
Well, I believe Junoon was definitely up to the challenge. In a busy contemporary (and upscale) Indian market (Tresind, Farzi Cafe, Rang Mahal) one must go above and beyond what’s already available. Fortunately, the entire team at Junoon delivers this in spades. Although we could have chosen off the ala carte menu, it was a unanimous decision (of two people) to try both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian Gala Menus. Before I go any further, I have to mention how exceedingly well priced these options are. At AED360 and AED410 per person (with wine pairings!), I would challenge anyone to find a better value for money (regardless of cuisine). For as much food as we received, combined with the outstanding service and overall ambiance…
Since we took a lot of photos, I’ve decided to share a selection of some of my favorite pictures (but please feel free to peruse the gallery at the bottom for the full experience).
Of the (well) over ten dishes we tried, my top three favorites for the evening include the following:
- Eggplant Chaat (crispy eggplant, tamarind chutney, and chaat masala). I think we knew the evening was going to be special when the first dish had us both raving. With lightly breaded eggplant, paired with sweet and sour notes from the chutney and masala, and just the right amount of cilantro, well… You might want seconds. Or thirds. Or how to figure out how to make this at home.
- Peshwari Khumb (crimini mushroom, pistachio yogurt, crispy shiitake, enoki salad). Another vegetarian choice? Yes! Cutting through the mushroom, prepared almost like a little sandwich (as in two halves of the mushroom with a very delicious center), we were delighted by the combination of savory and earthy elements. I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.
- Kulfi Tasting. Like Tresind and Rang Mahal’s fantastical finishes, Junoon isn’t going to be left behind (see below). Using just a few simple ingredients (and y’know, some liquid nitrogen), this spectacle was such a fun way to end the meal. Be prepared to have other tables look on in envy.
While there were perhaps some individual changes I would make in some of the dishes (mostly based on my personal preference), as a whole, the Gala Menu is incredibly filling and, whether vegetarian or more traditional proteins, I think both choices are up to task. With creative presentations and highly professional service, this is the type of restaurant to bring out of town guests to. And, whether it’s the delightful blueberry sorbet palate cleanser, the jasmine scented towels, or the largest selection of freshly made chutneys and achars, let me assure you Junoon thinks of everything.
Hit me up in the comments if you’d like to go check out the lunch menu. 🙂