You need to try this Indian restaurant with a twist

It’s a real treat getting to eat at high-end restaurants, especially considering that when I was growing up, I would have been happy with a humble plate of mince and potatoes.

So break out the silverware and the beautiful crockery for me, please: it’s nice to be spoiled while enjoying a meal from time to time.

To tell the truth, I’ve had one eye on Namak by Kunal Kapur, recently opened at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, since before it opened.

The Indian celebrity chef and restaurateur is known for his work on MasterChef India and has more claims to fame and accolades in his career than space I have in this article. If anyone has his finger on the pulse of modern Indian cuisine, it’s chef Kunal Kapur, and I can’t wait to see what he has to offer at his new restaurant.

The dimly-lit, inviting venue is livened up with bright, warm colours on the walls that contrast with the velvet sofas and chairs dotted throughout the dining area. The main attraction is the open kitchen that invites guests to watch as culinary creations are crafted with expertise before arriving at the table.

Embracing influences from other parts of the world, the menu showcases the chef’s unique take on traditional dishes with unusual ingredients such as burrata, tuna tartare and strudel making an appearance.

Dishes can be ordered as smaller plates or larger ones to share, and with my guest and I being eager to try everything on offer, we opt for the latter.

The scallops are plump and juicy, served perfectly seared on top of a zesty citrus quinoa, soaked in rich saffron butter. It’s light, delicate and moreish.

If seafood is your thing, then don’t miss out on the katfi fried prawns. Wrapped in a crisp shell, the succulent shellfish benefits from a fiery kick from the pickled chilli cream.

The Oops I Dropped my Chaat is immaculately presented as it arrives at the table, before
being smashed to pieces, and adds a little bit of fun to proceedings. We break open the crisp shell to unveil a medley of textures and flavours with cooling yoghurt, warm crispy potatoes, bitter fruit chutney, crunchy almond soil, a tangy tamarind sauce and the sweet pop of pomegranate seeds all vying for attention. It’s complex but works perfectly.

For main dishes, the black cod is cooked to its flaky best and the delicate flavour of the fish is well complemented by the creamy laksa pilau rice and a tangy, coconut flavour coming from the malvani kokum curry sauce.

The star of the show, however, is the nalli korma. The slow cooked lamb falls off the bone and sits in rich masala gravy, packed with the punch of garlic and chilli. We soak up every last drop of the wonderful sauce with the rich and satisfying truffle naan, an original take on our favourite Indian bread.

One thing is for sure: Namak serves Indian food like I’ve never had it before. It’s modern and refreshingly different, without opting for gimmicks or clichés, and is a welcome new addition to Abu Dhabi’s food scene.

Location: Namak by Kunal Kapur, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
We say: A star among high-end Indian restaurants
Cost: AED 420 for two
Opening times: Daily 12.30pm-3.30pm and 6pm-12.30am
Contact: 02 698 8137, bit.ly/2B49eVB

WORDS Colin Armstrong

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