I hadn’t had the chance to eat at any Indian restaurants in Dubai, so I was pretty excited to be able to sample the Chef’s Tasting Menu at Carnival by Tresind. Located in the Dubai International Financial Centre in the Burj Daman building, Carnival offers ‘post-modern’ Indian, inspired by the various cultures influencing Indian cuisine. It’s all presented with a touch of whimsy, as I soon found out.
Carnival is a sister restaurant to Tresind, an Indian restaurant in the Nassima Royal Hotel. The atmospheric interior contains gorgeous copper colored trees and lots of decorative accents of color. I’ve not been lucky enough to try any degustation menus here in Dubai – although I’ve had plenty in New Zealand. I was keen to see what Carnival had to offer.
Our waiters explained to us that we would be dining from the Chefs Menu, and that dishes would be brought out and explained individually. So far, so good. One of the highlights of the evening was hearing about the inspiration behind each. From the French inspired Pondicherry Fish to the British inspired Tikka Masala (gorgeous!), it was fun to understand the rationale behind each dish. Given the fact that India had over two centuries of colonial rule, the French, British, Dutch and Portuguese all stamped their mark on Indian cuisine.
There we so many courses that I didn’t manage to record all of them, but some of the highlights included:
The Chaat Cart. We walked over to this decorated rickshaw to see food being prepared in front of us. We enjoyed four types of chaat. My favourite was by far the Taco Papdi Chaat, which was refreshing with its sweet yogurt and berry dressing.
Chicken Kurkure. I don’t know how to describe this. It was like eating savory, chicken twisties. Two of my favourite things!
Rib Cage. Perfectly cooked, succulent lamb ribs, served with baby potatoes and covered with the oh-so-Dubai accompaniment of gold flakes.
Prison Break – Fenugreek and spinach bhaji, accompanied by a delicious (unknown!) chutney.
Coq au Vin Masala – A beautifully prepared Tikka Masala, marinated in red wine. It was incredibly tender and flavourful – the best Tikka Masala I have eaten.
Apple Tart – I’m not a fan of cooked fruit, but this tart was full of delicious hazelnut barfii and vanilla mascarpone ice cream. Drool.
Rustoms – A bit of a twist on a mille-feuille, mango ice cream sandwiched between trifle style biscuits and surrounded by meringue and Angoori rasmalai balls.
The menu is updated seasonally, so there is always something new to try. It’s also HUGE. There are many options for you to try, and something to suit all palates. I’m not strong on super spicy food, and most of the dishes were well flavored – rather than purely spicy.
The presentation of the meals is one of the highlights of the evening, and we experience everything from a caged meal, DIY Tiramisu, and British inspired breads served in – what else – a crown. Several cocktails are artfully concocted at our table, with plenty of dry ice to liven the scene.
At 375AED per head, the degustation menu offers very good value when compared to the individual dishes on the menu. It was well paced, and I never felt like we were being rushed. I sampled two of the cocktails, the Hibiscus Sour and The Boiling Skull. While the Hisbiscus Sour was a bit heavy on the hibiscus for my taste, the The Boiling Skull hit the spot.
With so many dishes on offer, every taste is sure to be provided for. If you are looking for a fun, tasty dining experience with a hint of whimsy thrown in, make sure you visit Carnival by Tresind!
Address: Podium Level, Burj Daman, DIFC, Dubai
Opening Hours: 12Noon to 3:30PM, 7PM to 11:30PM
Cost: Approx 250AED for two people, or 375AED per person degustation menu