Having visited the ‘old’ Tresind and recently dined at the revamped version (and having tested brunch and dinner Carnival by Tresind), I was delighted to be invited to the newly launched Tresind Studio. Due to a hectic schedule this month, I was relatively late to the mix, and, having seen other foodie friends visit, had been looking forward to our meal for weeks.
Located in Nassima Tower, guests of Tresind Studio enter through the Tresind restaurant. Knowing the team at the bar (led by award-winning cocktail artist Sherine John) have an excellent selection to choose from, Hubs and I stopped first to enjoy a quick drink first.
Now, before I go any further in this review, in my push to see Dubai recognized among the other top global dining destinations, my take on Tresind Studio is going to be more critical than I would with other restaurants in the UAE. I feel the need to be upfront about this fact, because I do want our best F&B institutions to be taken more seriously on the global stage. With a few tweaks, there are certain teams, chefs, and venues who have the capacity to make this jump, and thus I’m going to judge them a bit harder than everyone else.
Finishing our drinks, we let the team know we are ready to start our dinner. A sign in the same design as the primary logo marks Tresind Studio, and guests enter through a separate door. If we’re really picking things apart here, I might have gone with a different fit out or material. I only mention this because I think the potential of the venue is exponential, but when doors look cheap, it starts the experience on a step back, rather than a step forward. Fortunately, the interior of the Studio is bright, contemporary, and completely unique. Overlooking Sheikh Zayed Road, the twenty or so seats are broken into mostly cozy two tops, but larger groups can be accommodated for. Because of the relatively small size (huzzah!), the seating is instantly intimate, in a way that almost no restaurant in Dubai is (although I’ll pause to pour one out for my buddy Reif, and the now-closed Experience by Reif Othman). Furthermore, the design leaves the kitchen mostly open to everyone. It’s quite interactive (on purpose – which I’ll get to later).
Attention to detail is everything here, and waiters stand apart by the unique design of their garments – a more formal approach than those in Tresind. I, for one, approve. The elevated approach adds to the overall experience.
So, what about the food? No surprises, it’s all lovely, well portioned and, even though we chose the non-veg menu, there are still a number of vegetarian courses (which I sincerely appreciated). As one would expect from Chef Himanshu and team, a creative blend of textures, plating, and level of heat are highlights. What were our favorites?
- Mushroom ravioli. Playing on one of my all-time favorites from the main restaurant (the mushroom chai, a must order), this delicate bit of pasta (made masterfully with liquid inside) worked well with the savory, rich broth — all bursting with depth of flavor and notes of truffle (which fortunately, was not too overpowering). This plate is 100% going on my favorite dishes of the month in November.
- Chicken + shisho. I can only imagine that building anything on a leaf is difficult, but talented Chef Himanshu makes it look easy. The curried chicken on top of the crispy leaf is nothing short of delicious.
- Lentil (+ flavors of India). Honestly, this showstopper is brilliant. High in concept, the delivery is everything. Taking diners into the kitchen, prepared in front of us, we understood how all of India contributed to the dish. A simple bowl of lentils, made better (and better!) by the inclusion of high-quality ingredients from around the country, I also loved that no utensils were required. Honestly, dining out is the act of being fed by another — no matter what the caliber of restaurant. The experience was humbling, and I hope it remains as a permanent fixture on the menu.
- Petit fours. Desserts are always a highlight from the team, but genuinely stand out at Tresind (no matter which side of the wall you are on). Simple in presentation, each of these gorgeous little bites was dainty and delicious.
So, onto my suggestions. My recommendations have less to do with the food or service (both are fantastic), and more with the overall experience. Let’s get started, shall we?
- One of the biggest challenges I see is the ability to differentiate from the already high levels of the regular service/tasting menu. That is, while the entire experience at Tresind Studio is an incredible one, the tasting menu inside Tresind delivers on a very similar level. Which is a weird dilemma to solve. I think that the diners at the regular restaurant deserve to have an amazing and highly creative meal, however, does the quality of the restaurant directly compete or distract from the Studio? (Honestly, I’d love to discuss this further with those who have been to both).
- On this topic, the price difference isn’t all that different between the two. And really, the value for money inside the restaurant is phenomenal (AED375 for a very filling multi-course in the main dining room at Tresind).
- The all-inclusive non-veg menu at the Studio rings in at AED475 (AED450 for vegetarian). While there are certainly more ‘luxurious’ ingredients used in the Studio, the main restaurant presents plenty of excellent fare.
- So, if you can’t make it to the Studio, there’s an excellent option waiting for you in the main dining room. Why, then, as a diner, are we motivated for the Studio experience? I don’t think I know the answer.
- I’m not quite sure why a wine pairing (or drinks pairing) of any kind isn’t offered. If we look at above, one way to differentiate would be to have a wine/cocktail/drinks pairing. While I realize certain cuisines might not always cater to a having a sommelier, and really, there’s no rule that says you *have* to, I will mention that most of the World’s 50 Best/Michelin rated venues I’ve been to *do* choose to include a pairing of some kind. Only because the cocktail menu at Tresind is so next level, it seems a strange choice not to offer some sort of pairing. Again, I’m being critical because when judged against global fine dining outlets, generally a wine pairing (sometimes two different varieties) are offered.
- Personally, I didn’t think the music was a good fit. I point this out because I noticed it, and not in a good way. I’d love some lounge covers, someone like Washed Out, or, really, the playlist at Off Radio (my all time favorite station). Either that, or playing to the cuisine, up and coming Indian artists/DJs or traditional Indian classics.
- Finally, and I think this has more to do with us having to dash to another event after our meal had concluded, rather than any oversight by the team — I would allow diners to review a menu at the start and end of the meal (perhaps even offer a menu to take home). While I loved the simple approach to the style of the menu, it would’ve been nice to review when we finished.
- As a nod to some of the best restaurants we’ve been to – considering wrapping up some of the petit fours to give to guests as they leave.
As is clear from this blog, food is subjective. None of my suggestions stopped myself or Hubs from having an absolutely incredible meal — one of the best we’ve ever enjoyed in Dubai.
Would I go back to Tresind Studio? In a heartbeat.
Who is Tresind Studio best for? Serious foodies. Vegetarians with high expectations. A fancy date night.
A to Za’atar was a guest of Tresind Studio. opinions are my own, just ask my husband.
One of the best restaurants the UAE has to offer!