An Aromatic Afternoon at Mahec
Mahec means ‘fragrance’ or ‘pleasant smell’, and in the case of the restaurant I’m visiting, it’s also an acronym that stands for Modern Authentic Hindustani Evolved Cuisine. Located in the Meridien Village Square at the Le Meridien Hotel in Garhoud, Mahec has been part of Dubai’s fine dining landscape for a while, but has recently re-launched itself with a brand new lounge area adjacent to the dining room. The whole space has a simple, clean look to it with a dark palette that’s contrasted by blue backlighting in the lounge.
After the usual poppadum and chutney assortment to get things going, there’s an amuse-bouche of papdi chaat, a small dumpling of crisp fried dough stuffed with a spiced potato mixture and coated in yogurt and vermicelli. It’s served with a shot of lemon water topped with chaat masala. The tangy flavor of a good chaat is always a great appetite builder, and this is no exception.
The appetizers are, for the most part, really good. The weakest link for me is a pea and potato stuffed samosa, which is nice, but fairly standard. Bharwan Mushroom, a mushroom cap with a cheesy potato stuffing, pops with little hints of spice. Malai Broccoli, coated in a cinnamon and nutmeg spiced cream, has a unique flavor, as does the Paneer Asparagus Roll, which is a great variation on the standard paneer tikka.
One of Mahec’s specialties (especially for their business lunch on weekdays) is the thali. They add a modern touch to the presentation, swapping out the round metal plate and bowls for square china. It’s an efficient way to sample some of the restaurant’s specialties, which include Dal Makhani (classic Indian lentil dish), Kadai Paneer (spicy stir-fried paneer with tomatoes and onions), Mushroom Makai Palak (creamed spinach with mushrooms and corn) and Shahenshahi Kofta (broccoli and paneer dumplings in tomato gravy). The thali also has a raita (spiced yogurt dish), a vegetable biryani and a poppadum. There’s not a bad dish on the plate, and I find myself immensely satisfied by the end of it. The thali hits every possible flavor note and does so very well.
For dessert, I have the Bombay Pudding, a glass of creamy custard mixed with dried nuts, brownie pieces and pieces of gulab jamun. It’s a bit too sweet for me, and I’m generally a lover of desserts.
Mahec lives up to its acronym for the most part, serving traditional Indian food with a few modern touches that don’t take away from its authenticity. The new lounge is a great addition, making it a good evening hangout as well.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Great environment and atmosphere, great flavors, friendly service
Cons: Dessert wasn’t that great
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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