There are many Indian restaurants in Dubai – from cheap and cheerful to upmarket and expensive. But sometimes you simply want good food at good value – with a view of the Burj al Arab.
And that’s where Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s North Indian restaurant comes in. Naya has recently launched their Maharaja Feast – an all-you-can-eat weekend lunch. For only AED150 per person (excluding drinks) on Fridays and Saturdays from 12:30pm to 3:30pm, you can enjoy three hours of princely voracity.
But you won’t find a buffet line here (that’s so un-Maharaja-like). Instead, the food is served on demand, directly to your table.
Head Chef Pravish Shetty has developed a menu that showcases the traditional tastes and vibrant textures of North Indian cuisine. Not to mention, the presentation is befittingly beautiful and colourful. Here’s a plate of tandoori kebabs – lamb seekh kebab, chicken tikka kebab, and paneer tikka with perfect, dainty presentation. It looks small, but it’s all-you-can-eat, so you can order more of whatever you want. Though I assure you – there’s much more food to come.
My favourite starters were the dahi puri chaat – a mini puri filled with chickpeas and a sweet and tangy yogurt – and the fish Amritsari, a spiced and battered fried fish. At 4 o’clock, the aloo methi tikki – potato patties with fenugreek, yogurt, mint chutney and sev (crunchy chickpea flour sprinkles).
The mains comprised the requisite curries, including chicken, prawns, paneer, dal, and a veggie dish. Having lived in India for 3 years, I dislike when gravies are too similar in colour and consistency. In a country so colourful, I prefer my curries to reflect the same. So I tend to order by colour (one red, one yellow, one green).
My favourite curry of the lot was the Naya masala achari subz, a thick curry of vegetables in a pickled spice mix because it was thicker with more substance. The other mains were too similar for my liking, however the restaurant manager, Pratik, took on board my feedback and assures me that they’ve updated the offerings to provide greater diversity. Props to Naya for being so responsive.
Accompanying the curries are a saffron pulao and a selection of breads (naan and roti).
For desserts, a petite and artistically-presented plate of rasmalai, gulab jamun and mango kulfi with a strip of spiced berry sauce painted on the plate for ample artistic effect. But after the feast I’d just eaten, I struggled to finish it all.
It is worth noting, though, that the gulab jamun was superb. Soft, sweet and moreish. And even better eaten with a view of the most iconic building in Dubai.
Verdict: A great all-you-can-eat weekend lunch option for Indian food lovers with big appetites who appreciate decorative plating, beautiful food and the Burj al Arab view. Or the colourful interiors, if you so prefer.
Note to self: The terrace is small and not all tables have the same view, so book your outdoor table in advance!
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Tel: 04 432 3232
Chow for now!