Restaurant Review: Jodhpur
Avg. Cost per Person:259 Dhs
Location:Jodhpur Royal Dining, Roda Al Murooj Hotel, Downtown Dubai , Dubai
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Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 7pm-midnight; Fri-Sat noon-4pm, 7pm-midnight
04 550 9112
Recreating a restaurant’s signature tasting menu is a lot like reinventing the wheel — especially when the venue in question is the award-winning Jodhpur.
The pressure is perhaps amplified when the legacy of departing chef Pradeep Khullar and his culinary vision chronicled Jodhpur’s meteoric rise on the local restaurant scene, which features a new player entering the playing field on a bi-weekly basis.
However, Chef Shashwat Shivam — who worked alongside Chef Khullar in the Indian fine dining restaurant — puts up a fitting tribute with this new menu, which combines the old flavours that put Jodhpur on the map with new creative insights that brings recreated regional favourites to your plate.
Opting for the vegetarian tasting menu at the media gathering, the evening began with a little tricycle making its way over to our table, loaded with a flaky khari biscuit and the restaurant’s signature chaat macron to whet our appetite. The first bite of that buttery salted biscuit took me back to those childhood summers spent in Bombay (before the politically correct name change), gouging down on the staple monsoon titbit — the only thing missing was adrak chai (ginger tea) as accompaniment. Although, the savoury chaat macron makes for a new tradition, it was gone too soon before a second helping can be had.
With our enthusiasm clearly awakened, the next course in the form of the potato wool chaat was a welcome delight. What clearly took a painstaking effort was Chef Shashwat’s rendition of the famous Indian street food, also tikki. His vision transformed the mundane patty into a shredded crispy potato ball with a white pea mash nestled in its midst. Combine the two flavours with a trio of chutneys and you have a winner on your hands.
To give us a rest before the next main made its way to the table, a tiny mason jar was snapped open to give us a whiff of the layered smoked papad that was richly coupled with spicy green chutney, salsa and finely chopped onions. Never have I eaten a papad with a spoon, but — as the chef pointed out — the layers allowed the papad to retain its crispness, yet allowing us to explore the conventional snack in new packaging.
For those of you who frequent at Jodhpur and have sampled its signature Laban and Ricotta kebab will now find the appetiser as part of its tasting menu. While the idea of chilled laban oozing out of a crispy, warm exterior could perhaps appeal to certain palettes, the warmth of the paneer quesadilla that followed was more welcome to this particular one.
As yet another appetiser made its way to the table in the form of the podi idli, it was interesting to see that molecular gastronomy was well and truly taking a back seat to make way for more earthy, conventional fare. These spicy, pungent mini idlis were perhaps the best meal on the tasting menu, but one could argue that the idea of such basic South Indian fare was a tad too simplistic for fine dining fare.
This debate, which found some takers at the dinner table, though, was soon forgotten when precious little Hawkins mini pressure cookers were wheeled out, complete with a mango sorbet gola or ice lolly to cleanse our palettes before the mains were rolled out.
Truth be, the palette and the stomach was already heaving with contentment, but who could say no to the next array that the chef rolled out for us. As we eagerly dug our forks into the serving of the Tamatar Chaman, complete with walnut paneer perched on a bed of khada masala pulao, the dish — while creatively packaged — was a tad too sweet for our liking. Strangely, yet another portion of rice — plain this time — soon joined its predecessor on the table, this time to accompany the restaurant’s signature faux dal that is a firm favourite from its previous tasting menu. Again, the accompaniment of the anardana or pomegranate raita simply added more sugary overtones to the mains. Thankfully though, the chef was kind enough to replace it with bhurani raita, which provided the balance to this marriage of sweet and sour.
Mushroom masala was also served with a crispy pocket dosa, which was further accompanied with an assorted basket of breads. Unfortunately, a few sample bites of the very rich and creamy dal and several courses in, both of us had to admit defeat, especially if we were to make room for the dessert platter that was surely to follow.
Word of advice folks, the dessert is really the crown jewel of this rich affair — and why not considering Chef Shashwat’s expertise in such sweet matters. The dessert platter we were served included an array of delicacies that ranged from a moist sliver of a banana cake, a rich cassata, kulfi, jalebis and simple chocolate mousse. You simply cannot go wrong with this one.
Heaving at the point and admitting defeat before we were even halfway through the platter, the server slid over to warn us that another course was about to make it way over. Contemplating whether we should make a break for the door, the night finally came to a close with a refreshing paan shot, that works as a palette cleanser and a digestive to complete the night and the rich delights it promised.