Life & Style | Food

A Thali with a twist at Indego

Vineet Bhatia, the Michelin master of spice, has reinvented the humble lunch platter to dazzling effect

  • By Nyree McFarlane, Deputy Editor, Scene magazine
  • Published: 11:24 October 31, 2012
  • Scene

Vineet Bhatia
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • The menus at Indego by Vineet change every three days so that regular diners need never be bored.
Image 1 of 2

Indego by Vineet
Translating from Hindi to literally mean ‘plate’, a thali is an Indian lunch institution that means one meal made up of many small components (and often served on a steel tray). And, like the true culinary wizard he is, London-based Indian chef, Vineet Bhatia, – who helms Dubai dining stalwart Indego By Vineet – has taken it upon himself to reinvent and elevate the tradition.

The first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star (for his London eatery, Rasoi), Vineet is a spice crusader and is passionate about infusing authentic ingredients and creating subtle (rather than spicy smack in the face) flavour with his food, which is beautifully evident in his new thali lunch.

Sitting down in the regal, plum and burgundy-hued dining room of Indego, our knowledgeable and passionate waiter talked us through the concept. We’d soon receive a glass tower of salads, a bread basket, a selection of curries and some bite-sized mains, which could be eaten leisurely over a few hours, or within 45-minutes for a business lunch – and, the best news, it’s all bottomless, so we could just keep ordering our favourites over and over again (which we sooo did).

We began our bottomless lunch with the fresh and tangy glass tower of salads and raita – which looked like a sculptural, modern tiffin box, and we were blown away by the tamarind and goat’s-cheese-packed salad. Next up were the curries, which were made up of a tangy and delectably creamy Chicken tikka makhani (best mopped up with the mint-sprinkled Pudina naan), an earthy and smoothly textured Dal tadka and herby Methi potatoes. And while these were some of the most subtly spiced and yet flavour-packed concoctions we’ve ever tried, it was the mini versions of Indego’s mains that stole the thali show.

The set menus change every three days so that regular diners need never be bored, and on the day we visited they were offering Vineet’s signature Home-smoked tandoori salmon, a Lamb shammi and a saffron-infused almond rice on the main plate. The Lamb shammi was a tender patty of beautifully seasoned meat with a Beetroot yoghurt adding punch on top; and the mound of rice was a saffron lover’s dream. But it was the Home-smoked tandoori salmon that will linger with us the longest – a exceptionally tender, spice-infused piece of fish with a depth of flavour quite unlike any salmon we’ve ever had before (we ordered about three top-ups of this).

Finishing off our lunch on Indego’s Marina-facing terrace with a refreshing Coconut and lime lassi, a pot of tea, some luxury chocolates and a gold-dusted, saffron flavoured Pistachio gulab jamun rose kheer, we discussed how much the lunch had changed our perspective on a thali. The humble food court option will never taste the same again…

Tasty trio: Set lunches

Hakkasan Dubai
The artful food at Hakkasan is, with good reason, on the pricey side. But visit on a weekday and sample three delicious courses as well as bespoke teas for just Dh120. Starters include steamed dim sum or vegetarian dim sum, while our fave main is the Spicy prawn with lily bulbs and almonds.
Location Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, Dubai
Timing 12pm-3pm, Saturday-Thursday
Tel 04 384 8484

Related Links

Cho Gao
This trendy Abu Dhabi eatery serves one of the most affordable set meals in town. A set lunch costs just Dh50 (or pay an extra Dh10 for unlimited soft drinks or iced tea). When we went they served us up a delicious stir-fried beef and eggplant dish with a seafood soup. Delish.
Location Crowne Plaza, Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi
Timing 12pm-4pm, Sun-Thurs
Tel 02 616 6166

This black and white-tiled deli/eatery now serves a quick two or three-course Milanese lunch that’s served rapido. The menu changes every day, but the Beef lasagne with Parmesan fondue’s amazing. You can opt for two courses for Dh130, or three for Dh160.
Location Armani Hotel, Downtown Burj Khalifa, Dubai 
Timing Lunch 12pm-3pm, Saturday-Thursday
Tel 04 888 3444

Where you need to be


More from friday

  • WH_141024_Lambo_Huracan_STF_Stefan065
    Unhinged Huracàn meets the UAE’s maddest road

    Al Taween. Renowned for its goat s, tiny grocery shops and one of the great est mounta in roads in the world. Ripping up the newly laid tar mac? A Lamborghini Huracán. Buckle up!

  • WH_141031_mywheels_rashed (1)
    Rashed Abdulla Bin Fahad’s double impact

    Ever since he was bitten by a Mustang Cobra, Rashed couldn’t look beyond American cars. So when it came to choosing a pick-up truck and a performance saloon, the decision was easy for him

  • WH_141031_Subarub driven (6)
    Subaru WRX STI driven

    Subaru’s iconic flagship sports saloon is back, and along with all the upgrades comes a welcome price, too

  • WH_141031_SUP_Fiat 500 (2)
    Fiat 500 Cult refreshed

    Fiat’s nifty city car star has been updated for 2015 to keep pace with its small car rivals. Does it still have the magic that makes it a style icon?

  • Jonathan Castle
    Shifting opinions

    In defence of the (gasp!) continuously variable transmission...

More from Wheels

More from aquarius

More from alpha

  • gold-leaf-bath
    Inside Downtown Design

    From chic and contemporary to modern and magnificent home wares, this year's exhibition is nothing short of extraordinary

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

More from insideout