Car­ni­val by Tresind

WKND - - Fine Dining - 30 septem­ber 2016

You could oc­ca­sion­ally be for­given for think­ing that in Dubai the party never stops. Whether it’s the steady stream of con­certs, club nights, award cer­e­monies or even just the crowds out and about on a week­end evening, if it weren’t for the des­o­late Fri­day morn­ings, this town may just have the cre­den­tials to lay claim to New York’s sec­ond most fa­mous moniker: ‘ the city that never sleeps’.

It is this at­mos­phere that the new, quirky, yet dis­tinctly Dubai chic, In­dian res­tau­rant Car­ni­val by Tresind at the Burj Da­man, DIFC, wishes to har­ness. And from the first step into the artis­tic for­est cum Wonka’s choco­late fac­tory cum Ca­nary Wharf bistro, one gets the feel­ing they have suc­ceeded. Greeted with a warm wel­come, din­ers are led to their seats where they are then treated to an in­di­vid­ual “bub­ble bath”. Don’t panic, bathing suits are not nec­es­sary. The ex­pe­ri­ence con­sists of the server filling the air above the ta­ble with bub­bles from a ma­chine. Such a bizarre in­tro­duc­tion any­where else may ap­pear out of place, but here, feed­ing into the res­tau­rant’s ethos, not one per­son in the al­ways- packed din­ing room will bat an eye­lid.

So, fully cleansed, it was time to em­bark on the highly an­tic­i­pated culi­nary jour­ney. Car­ni­val’s sis­ter out­let, Tresind, is al­ready a firm favourite. Per­haps a lit­tle more for­mal than the es­tab­lish­ment be­fore us, its ex­per­i­men­tal molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy menu set loose on Dubai a cou­ple of years ago was, in our opin­ion, a game changer. Un­til then, Dubai had done con­ven­tional In­dian fare par­tic­u­larly well; yet, at Tresind, the mélange of cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant in­gre­di­ents from around the world, dif­fer­ent takes on clas­sic dishes and, yes, liq­uid ni­tro­gen in some of the recipes, pro­vided the shot in the arm this city’s food scene re­quired.

Car­ni­val ob­vi­ously wel­comes Tresind’s meth­ods although it in­jects its meals with touch of jovi­al­ity. Dishes with ti­tles in­clud­ing ‘ Thai Tanic’ ( a Thai chicken bhur­jee with sweet basil and lime pav), ‘ Don’t Be Shell­fish’ ( spi­der crab leg, tomato pickle cream and crispy lo­tus stem) or ‘ Buck Off’ ( eight hours cooked veni­son in red chilli curry) are just a few ex­am­ples of what we’re talk­ing about.

Handed a tast­ing menu, we had the op­por­tu­nity to sam­ple a smor­gas­bord of what’s on of­fer. Spoiler alert: ev­ery­thing served ranged from good to ut­terly su­perb.

To avoid a lengthy dis­cus­sion on the mer­its of each item ( there is not suf­fi­cient room on these pages), here are the high­lights. To kick off is the very first course on the carte — ‘ Life Is Short, Eat Dessert First’. This sweet jalebi chaat with a yo­ghurt mousse, potato and chick­peas is an in­no­va­tive ma­nip­u­la­tion of reg­u­lar chaat. Its thick, sac­cha­rine con­sis­tency is not over­pow­er­ing as a re­sult of the man­age­able por­tion size. An­other en­trée that tick­led the palate was the dal phulka. Again, in essence, this is dal. Ex­cept here, it is served as a mock cap­puc­cino in a minia­ture cof­fee cup, a tiny phulka cookie made with truf­fle ghee and cu­min co­coa rest­ing on the saucer. We were more into the pre­sen­ta­tion of this one, though the flavour lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tion.

For the mains, a por­tion of the afore­men­tioned Buck Off ( some of the most ten­der meat sam­pled to date), and the piece de re­sis­tance, Air­line Chicken. Ar­riv­ing on a wooden tray in the style of an in- flight meal, the tan­doori chicken curry served with a small crois­sant was a com­plete triumph. It com­pletely epit­o­mised Car­ni­val. It was out­landish, fun and, above all, de­li­cious.

What we liked: The ambience and the divine Air­line Chicken What we didn’t like: The lo­ca­tion is a bit out of the way Cost for two:

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