Would you choose Pukka Punjabi food or Pub Grub in Dubai
Well that would depend on what mood you’re in! Find out where to eat Pukka Punjabi food or Pub Grub in Dubai on this week’s Food News broadcasting back from Studio City in Dubai. Hear about the latest gastro pub in the Marina, a great little place for Indian food in JLT, a very French offering in the new Nikki Beach complex and a futuristic Japanese in JBR, Tuesdays from 3.30 to 4.00 pm with me, Mark Lloyd, Stef Burgon and Zahra Soar.
Pukka Punjabi food in JLT
Recommended by a friend of mine who knows her Punjabi food, we visited for lunch. Now the restaurant’s called Chawlas2 or Chawlas squared. Started by a family of the same name in Punjabi heartland state of Ludhiyana, the first and only dish on the menu was Cream Chicken! You had to bring your own container to take it away in as well. That was back in 1960, nearly 40 years later, they added to their repetoire of dishes and now have hundreds of franchises in India and have opened in Canada, Australia and New York!. Their first branch in Dubai opened in January this year in Cluster M in JLT. What do you eat there? I recommend the Peshawari chicken tikka, the onion kulcha AED 10 and the very good fish curry.
A great addition to the menu would be a gaggia coffee machine on the counter, because this is not a light meal! It’s also very helpful if you like your chicken, but there’s ample choice for vegetarians too. Try the creamy kheer for dessert, that’s rich but not too sweet at all and if you mention DoinDubai when you’re having a dine in meal, you can get a portion of this for free. The franchisee gave up work in finance to run Chawlas2 and he’s there doing everything but the cooking so all the best to him and that’s a great one for JLT Gem. Perfect for a tour of JLT, but do let me know if you can figure out how to get from one cluster to another without getting lost! There is a competition meal for Chawlas2 to be won here as well!
New Gastropub JB’s in the Amwaaj Rotana
Loved the contemporary vibe of this place and the fact that’s it’s at street level. Can you guess what JB’s stand for? I recommend you eat the grilled octopus to start with, tender, with very good flavour and good for 3 or 4 if you’re ordering other things, great with drinks. But what’s the secret to this perfectly tender seafood? The answer according to chef James Hitchen is a pressure cooker! Not cheap at AED 75 but very good. I also recommend the king prawns with their lemon chilli marinade with grilled asparagus, they come with rice but we opted for roast potatoes! AED 135. So 2 of the pricier items on the very large menu.
Salad plates are AED 50, we chose kale and spinach that had dates, feta cheese and pomegranate dressing. I also really liked the smallish but perfect for one portion of the mac and cheese, you can build your own, add a variety of extras for AED 7. So great vibe, some pricer items very good quality, but you could eat cheaper.
They are big on their cheese selection and charcuterie, I thought cheeses were stronger than the charcuterie. Things getting confused or could call it the high point, when we saw sausage by the metre, yes the metre long sausage. I’d heard of foot long dosas but not meter long sausage! Plenty of burgers too. Desserts bit too gimmicky for me. I like this restaurant because they’ve said they’re listening to the customer feedback, seeing what’s being ordered, and they’ll adapt accordingly. That’s always a good sign.
So at the moment I think it’s a bit of gastro pub and quite a bit of pub grub too! I’d like to see some soup, a few more veggie options. But I’d go back, eat some cheese with some of the gorgeous bread, maybe have a salad and some of their craft beverages. Happy Hour on every day from 5 till 8, and till 9 on Thursday but you do need to book. And I have to ask you what is Chef James Hichens’ favourite restaurant in Dubai ? Answer is Marina Social! And I have to say it’s definitely my favourite brunch in Dubai after what I experienced last Saturday! There is a whole post on the blog about it including a chance to win lunch for 2 while Jason Atherton is there. I will say one thing about it, Go.
Satine French restaurant at the swanky, new Nikki Beach near Satwa
Not to be confused with Nassimi Beach, Nikki Beach is brand all on it’s own, NOT on the Palm as I originally thought! It’s located in the Pearl Dubai area near what us Dubaians know as the Flagpole, Satine is on the first floor and it’s part of the Nikki Beach complex. She comes straight out of the Baz Lurhman Moulin Rouge movie! But the initial one is in Miami in Florida. Named after the female character in the Moulin Rouge movie, the food is also French/Mediterranean. It opens officially on Friday, but there are soft openings in the evening this week, by invite. I really liked the view from the terrace, the very contemporary style of furniture and lighting again on the terrace.
I especially liked the oversized lamps juxtaposed against the little lamps on the outside tables. I also thought the main center piece lighting was incredible in that it was truly modern and very appropriate for this chilled out, upmarket beach hangout. Last night they had a catwalk that doubled as a proper long dining table and that was a very versatile use of the space.
We ate from a limited menu but I can recommend the burrata with mediterranean mille feuille or layers of vegetables. Very skillful, good flavours and the best burrata I’ve had in Dubai, on par or better than La Petite Maison, not cheap at AED 90, but very shareable. Would have liked more vegetables or a bit of starch with my protein for mains. A great place to have a drink and some bar bites on the terrace on these balmy evenings. Try a drink on the terrace and some bar bites from the lounge menu, AED 35, 65 or 95.
Futuristic, Blade Runner 1920’s Japanese bar, restaurant and lounge about to open at the Double Tree at the Hilton in JBR in a couple of weeks
A private members club in London Ramusake from Kensington is coming to Dubai! It will feature izakaya style sharing plates and a big robata style cooking area in the restaurant. Open in Dubai from 4pm till 2 am, it’ll be set in front of the Dubai Eye, and when are doing Food News from the Dubai Eye?! I’m really looking forward to try some of the tuna sashimi pizza. Will everyone go to see what the fuss is about? Yes I think so, it’s great that it’s located in the walkable area of JBR and the beach, it’s got the view of the Dubai Eye and it’s got that winning Zumaesque style food. So definitely one to watch I think.
Top Tip for today WEDNESDAY as opposed to my usual Tuesday slot is to try the new Ladies Night at Social at the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah. A great sounding deal of 3 courses and a couple of glasses of wine for AED 195. Add to that Heinz Beck’s organisation and Social’s elegant atmosphere then I think you a have a very stylish yet affordable way to enjoy a night out with your girlfriends. I hope to try it out and will do a post on it soon and report back. But here’s my first experience of Social when Heinz was cooking, almost a year ago in April 2015.
PODCAST 11 we’re talking about Chawlas2 Punjabi food and JB’s Gastropub
PODCAST 12 we’re talking about Satine by Nikki Beach and some news about a new Japanese restaurant Ramusake.
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