DUBAI: There’s something perceptibly royal about the Indian city of Jodhpur, a former princely state known for its glorious palaces, forts and temples. No less regal is eating out at the Al Murooj Rotana fine diner by the same name, as I found out recently over a special degustation menu created by their ingenious chef Pradeep Khullar for an iftar set menu this Ramadan.
The man from Delhi calls his style ‘retro-inventive’, one that recreates culinary nostalgia using modern techniques. I got a fair sense of what he means after a bite of his amuse-bouche - a macaron chaat replete with hung yoghurt, lime powder, onions, coriander roots and all the seasoning, niftily presented on a miniature cycle rickshaw. True to the essence of molecular gastronomy, you experience a whirlpool of flavours as soon as you pop the cult street food in the form of a tiny dynamite in your mouth.
It also sets you up nicely for the three course meal where starters include beef short ribs, braised for eight hours and then tossed in delectably tangy reduction made with aam papad, tamarind and chilly paste. You could however choose the chicken tikka and chestnut kulcha as well, stuffed with caramelised onions and served with sumac raita topped laban for a very regional finish. For vegetarians, the top starter should be the laban and ricotta kabab – a cold platter made of hung curd and creamy ricotta cheese with a crispy coating of rose ash. Simple ingredients but among the most unique, unusual and tastefully creative kebabs I have ever tasted.
Cleanse your palate next with a mango, cranberry and kaffir lime sorbet before gorging on the mains - a lamb shank nihari that comes with an exceptionally sweet sesame bakharkhani for the meat lovers and a garlic butter seared pao and bhaji served with vegetables chips made in house. A chicken tikka biryani (there’s a vegetarian version as well), burhani raita and dal makhni to be had with another cult roadside favourite – the churchur paratha (shredded Indian bread), kind of completes the very special iftar. End it with a rasmalai or the specially crafted kesar malai kulfi topped with toasted almonds slivers.
We recommend: beef short ribs, laban & ricotta kabab, lamb shank nihari, pao and bhaji, kesar malai kulfi
Meal for two: Dh250
Location: Al Murooj Rotana, Downtown
Contact: 04-355 9846
Iftar timings: sunset – 1.30am