Goodness, we are spoiled, are we not? In the category of contemporary Indian, we certainly have a difficult decision when it comes to a night out. Rang Mahal, Junoon, Farzi Cafe, Tresind, Carnival, and Jodhpur are all in one city. Hearing nothing but great things (and seeing some fairly amazing photos on Instagram), I was only too happy to accept an invitation for lunch.
Although it’s been AGES since I’ve been to the Al Murooj Rotana (which, incidentally might have been the first place I ever went out to eat in Dubai — at MORE Cafe), I was happy to reacquaint myself with the property. Passing through the lobby, we walked by the pool, up the hill to Jodhpur (should you be wearing heels or have mobility issues, be sure to wait for a golf cart). Located in a two level building (with an interior a bit less modern than I prefer), we are seated downstairs by a window. I’ve seen better fit outs in venues, but honestly, the decoration does little to do anything to lessen my experience (and overall, it’s a better than the claustrophobic design of Tresind).
We are greeted quite warmly by Chef Pradeep Kulchar (and this was a trend throughout the meal) and were immediately impressed with our two small amuse bouches — one, a puff pastry and the other, one of the best macarons I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. As the chef explained it, the small bites were a way to open the palate. Not only was the chaat macaron stunning in its simplicity, both dishes were also delivered in a fun and memorable manner. It was a creative way to set the tone for the meal.
The remainder of the menu is equal parts tasty and filling, with a few fun surprises thrown in. While I don’t want to give everything away, I will say how much thought has gone into each dish and the meal as a whole. I will also mention what a charming host Chef Pradeep is. He was genuinely interested in our opinions and had plenty to tell us about his menu. And no, my dining companion and I were not getting special attention simply because we were there for a review. He spoke to everyone. I thought he was exceptionally aware of Dubai as a market (and what the trends were), but also kept true to his style of cooking. While I do not come from an Indian background, nor did I grow up with some of these dishes, what I could relate to is a chef connecting with a simpler time and the city the restaurant is named for.
As with many of my meals recently, my best advice is to come hungry and let yourself be entertained. My particular favorite was the chicken and chestnut kulcha, which was perfect portioned, utterly delicious, and also a thing of beauty. On a final note, make sure you have the Lotus dessert, which fulfills the need of any sweet craving you might have.
In a busy market with lots of great dishes, this was a memorable meal. I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
Having dined at so many wonderful Indian restaurants, it is interesting how unique each of the venues are. Depending on what kind of night you wanted and who you were going with, I could make recommendations for any of them.