DUBAI: As someone from Lucknow - a city that prides itself as the culinary capital of north India - I have always found it difficult to satiate my yearning for authentic Mughlai food.
When these cravings go into overdrive I go to Al Afadil off Al Wahda Road in Sharjah or Tundey, an equally small restaurant in Al Ghusais that serves melt-in-the-mouth gilawat (or Tundey) kebabs named after the legendary 19th century one-armed Indian chef, Haji Murad Ali alias Tundey. The fare at both these joints is pretty good and cheap, but as any food connoisseur from Lucknow will tell you, it's not even remotely close to the gastronomic delights you get back home.
This is it
And that's precisely why Chutney at Mövenpick Hotel & Apartments in Bur Dubai is special. If there's one restaurant in Dubai that can match the aroma, sophisticated flavours and the richness of taste associated with the erstwhile Awadh region, it most definitely is this.
Chutney, for the uninitiated, is a word incorporated into English from Hindi-Urdu describing a condiment used in South Asian cuisines. In this case, though, it's a misnomer, hardly befitting the restaurant's ‘Royal Taste of India' tag line. As I tucked into one epicurean delicacy after another, I wondered why some smart alec didn't think of naming the restaurant after one of its exotic dishes.
For starters, I had Tawa Murgh Rayyan - boneless chicken, marinated in traditional Indian spices and herbs and griddled in a thick tomato-onion sauce. "It has been voted as the best curry by a magazine," the restaurant's affable chef, Hafez Qureshi, told me proudly. It was not hard to reason why. The chicken was so tender, the meat fell apart at the gentlest prodding of the fork.
After their house speciality, chef Qureshi steered me towards the main course - delicious Gosht Korma Avadhi, (mutton curry cooked with almond milk) and what was arguably the yummiest chicken biryani I have had in a while. The portions were very generous but the dishes tasted so good, I polished everything. If I had any more room in my stomach I would have tried their Sumbul Malai Kofta (raisin and paneer dumplings infused with mint and slow-cooked in a cashew and yoghurt sauce) or something from their elaborate dessert section as well. Looks like I will have to go back for more.