Photo courtesy: Indego by Vineet
I don’t go out to eat Indian food that often. When I do, its usually to the neighbourhood joint, something cheap and cheerful. In all honesty, Indian food reminds me of home food. Sure, the country has about 50 different cuisines (more or less?) and yes, mum’s cooking doesn’t cover it all. But still – its “Indian”. And why would I do that when there’s so much else to eat out there?
Then you come across a restaurant like Indego by Vineet that totally blows your over. Hits it right out of the ball park. Excites, delights. Thinking about that meal from two weeks ago still makes me smile. Not since Tresind have I been awestruck eating Indian food. The restaurant is not new to Dubai. In fact, it’s been a part of Grosvenor House for 11 years but for reasons mentioned above, it wasn’t high on my priority list.
When Chef Vineet Bhatia was in Dubai recently, I had the privilege of meeting the man-extraordinaire to taste some of the new dishes on his menu (all brand new to me!). If you haven’t heard, he’s a multi award-winning chef who made history in 2001 as the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star for his restaurant, Zaika in London, followed by a second star for Rasoi in 2009. Since then, he has opened restaurants around the world and has also created in-flight menus for British Airways and Qatar Airways – clearly, the sky is not the limit for this man! Super-stardom aside, he’s one of the sweetest little guys I’ve met. Friendly, down-to-earth, with absolutely no airs about him. In just a few minutes, we spoke about Mauritius (he runs a restaurant in Lux Belle Mare called Amari by Vineet), about cooking for taste buds at 35,000 feet, and I even got a a selfie with him – one for my wall of fame!
And boy can he cook. Everything that passed through our lips that evening brought lots of oohs and aahs around the table. His passion and love for his trade shone through in each dish that I, for once, was proud to celebrate the cuisine of my “home” country. If you’re up for a culinary experience that is simple yet soulful; no tricks here, just clever use of familiar ingredients that are cooked from the heart, flavour combinations that you dint think to put together but Chef Vineet does so with such flair, and if you’re looking for a meal that will be most memorable, you should head down to Indego by Vineet.
Here are some of the new items on his menu.
Khandvi avocado paste chutney, corn chaat, lassi granita. Wonderfully refreshing avocado, slight tangy flavour of the chaat, and a cooling buttermilk granita. What was Chef thinking putting all these random elements together on a plate? One word – GENIUS.
Konkani lobster with pohe, upma and burnt lime. Pohe is a flattened and dried rice dish, and upma is a porridge made from semolina (rava) – both usually eaten for breakfast. Chef’s interpretation by adding the king of crustaceans to this dish is so unusual and works like a dream.
Malai fish tikka, coconut khichdi, beetroot moilee, pineapple chaat.
Dhaba chicken with pav bhaji and a pea sphere. This dish has all the tastes you’re familiar with – tandoori chicken, pav bhaji – just with a lot of finesse.
Coffee and jaggery lamb chop served on a bed of mushroom sauce, with a goats cheese samosa. One of my favourite’s that evening.
On to dessert, we tried a chocolate and chikki delight with caramelized nuts and saffron foam (no photo).
Chef Vineet’s signature warm dark and white chocolate samosa, served with gajjar halwa and coconut kulfi.
Coconut rasmalai served in a tender coconut shell. Flesh of the coconut is made into noodles. Simply divine and a fitting end to this decadent, almost royal meal.
My photographs do no justice to this man or his creations. Do go and see for yourself. Sure it doesn’t come cheap with starters priced at AED100 on average, and mains over AED 200. However, if there’s one Indian restaurant in Dubai that you will splurge on, Indego by Vineet should be it!
LOCATION – Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
DISCLOSURE: I was a guest of Indego by Vineet but as always, and all opinions are my own.