Dubai: Junoon means passion in Urdu/Hindi, and you could tell plenty of it goes behind this acclaimed Michelin-starred Indian fine diner from New York.
From the restaurant’s décor that blends a casual yet urbane setting with the old world Indian artistry to its signature cuisine developed by chef Vikas Khanna, there is nothing about Junoon that is not extraordinary. Even the chairs have a natty side tray for ladies to keep their handbags on.
Food, though, is the star here and the dishes underline why Junoon is so highly rated by its patrons. Take the eggplant chaat for example. Made of thinly sliced eggplant – crisp fried – with tamarind chutney and chaat masala, it’s crunchy, tangy and a dish dedicated to every lover of the humble aubergine.
Then there’s the Piri Piri shrimp. You don’t need to swear by seafood to appreciate this beautiful platter of black tiger shrimps infused with the famous African chilli pepper, coconut puree and shrimp oil powder. Even the traditional murgh tikka angar gets a whole new makeover here with a wonderful charcoal aftertaste accentuated by a hint of garlic and turmeric. An eddo chaat and crispy kale on the side makes it a very international dish.
Among the mains, nothing beats the shrimp malai curry. Cooked in thick coconut milk like they do it in Eastern India, it’s sweetish and indulgent, but the garnishing of onion and pommery mustard – a brand of gourmet mustard from the house of Meaux in France – makes it a class act. Zaatar lamb loin deserves a special mention too. A juicy lamb loin prepared sous-vide (under vacuum), it’s topped with curry leaf, mustard, potatoes, lamb jus and Zaatar for a very local flavour.
Ajwaini bhindi or crispy okra with carom seeds is a must try as as is the Junoon black lentil cooked with tomato cream sauce, red chilli and fenugreek for a very fragrant aftertaste. A carrot halwa with rabri (condensed milk dish), pistachio sauce, chocolate rock and a stunning cacao biscuit is the dessert to end the lavish affair.
Meal for two: Dh1000
Location: Second Floor,Shangri-La Hotel
Contact: 04-405 2717
Timings: 12pm to 3pm, 7pm – midnight
We recommend: Eggplant chaat, Murgh tikka angar, shrimp malai curry, Zaatar lamb loin Carrot halwa