As we turned the corner into La Porte des Indes, the hostess braced herself for my reaction. “Wow!” I said, dazzled by the bold blue lighting and clubby music. She laughed and pointed to a spot on the ground, “Our guests always say that when they reach this point!”
It was a word I would repeat often that night, as this decidedly non-Indian Indian restaurant continued to surprise me. As the second off- shoot of the brand (the original is in London with another location in Brussels), the Dubai version has been designed to suit the big, bold and blingy tastes of the emirate.
Once we settled in with the menu, our eyes were easily drawn to the usual suspects, but the section titled “India… A Voyage of Discovery!” held the nicest surprises. My adventurous spirit led me to order a starter of Tandoori Broccoli: the unlikely veg had been marinated in lime, lemongrass and cheese before being roasted on the tandoor and served with a few drops of curry sauce. Here comes that word again, “Wow!” The Demoiselles de Pondicherry (king scallops with a saffron sauce) were buttery smooth and another popular dish at our table.
In love with this voyage I was on, I ordered Rougail d‘ Aubergine and was pleasantly surprised at the puree of earthy flavours that arrived in a little bowl. Whether eaten on its own or as little scoops sandwiched between bits of naan, this rich dish provided an interesting contrast to my husbands Chicken tikka masala (in a surprising yellow hue), and my companion’s duck breast in a spicy tamarind sauce.
The desert menu held particular appeal to my Indian friends, who gave high marks to the venues rasmalai and mango shrikhand pannacotta. I surprised even myself by ordering the decidedly non-Indian cinnamon and chocolate fondant, but it was warm and satisfying and like everything else, left me with a “Wow!” feeling that La Porte des Indes seems to excel at.