Tresind, Tresbien, Trescontente.
Tresind introduces Dubai to a progressive, modernist approach on traditional Indian food, a first for Dubai, and it’s about time! The newly opened restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the Radisson Royal, and overlooks the busy Sheikh Zayed Road.
When I heard that Dubai finally had an Indian restaurant with molecular gastronomy, I was most excited and as you can see from the title of the post, I had an exceptional experience when I was there for dinner last week. For those of you that don’t speak French, allow me to translate the title of my post. Tres ind – a play on words meaning “Very India”. Tres bien – very good. Tres contente – very content. This just about summarizes my experience.
The décor in the dining area is simple and tasteful, not particularly Indian, but representative of modern “progressive” India, which seems to be what they are after. The lounge is somewhat darker than the dining area and has inviting touches of bright colour thrown in, a great place for a date, I think to myself.
While I wait for my friend to arrive the manager suggests I order the aam panna, a light perfectly balanced raw mango based mocktail drink. I find that it tastes somewhat lighter than the traditional aam panna I am used to but I actually prefer this version.
As my friend arrives, we take a quick look at the menu and decide to share a selection of their vegetarian dishes, and request them to serve it like a tasting menu. We are pre-warned that it will be a lot of food, but we have both arrived hungry and are up for the indulgence.
As an amuse bouche we are presented with a deconstructed pani puri which is a bubble of coriander and mint water with tamarind gel served on a soup spoon with miniature puri-like semolina balls on the side, almost like an inside-out pani puri, which is a brilliant combination of sweet, sour and mild spice, a great way to start.
Next, chef Himanshu himself arrives with the Modernist Chaat trolley, and he literally starts painting on a blank canvas with the chutney and yogurt before throwing in the rest of the ingredients: deep-fried spinach bhajia, dhokla freeze dried before us using liquid nitrogen, and several other chaat tidbits. The texture of the freeze-dried dhoklas create an added crunch to the already crispy bhajia’s – definitely a progressive way to serve chaat! It is quite a decently sized portion, probably better for groups of 3-4, but we polish the whole thing off.
Next we are presented with a small portion (phew) of bhaji minestrone soup, a minestrone version of Bombay pav bhaji which has all the elements of a soup but tastes exactly like pav bhaji, served with a small piece of toast, mock peas and a small cube of feta – yum!
The mushroom galouti is exactly what it promised to be and much more with mushrooms of different textures done in multiple ways, sprayed with morel perfume and all coming together seamlessly.
The next dish is one of my favourites - the potato sphere dahi kebab which is a great progression of texture from the crispy fried potato coating to the creamy yogurt centre - firm enough to have the feel of a kebab, yet creamy enough that you can still identify the yogurt. The smoked tomato and pepper chutney adds a nice touch of spice, an exceptional dish overall.
After the starters, we each get a mystery sorbet and are asked to guess what flavour it is– we taste it and cannot believe it is just like khandvi, which is usually a savoury Gujarati snack – very impressive.
The two main courses arrive together. The papad canoli, rajastani kadhi, kachori grits (served as one dish) is in short, like Rajasthan on a plate. It’s one of those dishes you would only enjoy if you like a touch of sweetness in your food, which I most certainly do! The scrambled paneer and spinach curry is not my favourite – I would have liked the paneer to be less scrambled and the spinach gravy to have more flavour, but the lentil wadi is really good and the zeera rice crisp is a nice touch. It is garnished with popcorn, which adds to the visual appeal of the dish, but isn't really a necessary ingredient.
As sides we are served mini bowls of Dahl Makhani, which is spot on, and mini mushroom kulchas with truffle oil butter.
We leave the dessert to the waiter, who suggests the jalebi papad with pistachio rabdi as well as the daulat ki chaat. The jalebi itself is presented in two ways: the first like a papad cone surrounding the rabdi, and the second is shaped like churros and made with paneer rather than wheat flour, which is the traditional way to make jalebi. We prefer the daulat ki chaat, an ingenious use of sohn papdi as a crumble to compliment the gently flavoured light and airy main event, an interesting re-creation of a traditional dessert from Lucknow.
On the whole, the experience was a true indulgence, which I highly recommend. I will definitely be back, but next time will order less!
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Creative, delicious food in a fine dining setting, perfect for a date or special occasion.
Cons: Not a place for vegans.
Price: $$$ (200 - 500 AED)
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