Impress your business partner at these two authentic dinner hotspots
Culinary enthusiasts who have travelled to Mumbai, or natives from the state, may be familiar with this restaurant and its offerings. Set on the 15th floor of Dukes Dubai, Khyber, the Indian eatery that’s well-loved amongst celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney and Brad Pitt, back in Mumbai, offers stunning views of the Palm Jumeirah from a bird’s eye view – it can be seen by the naked eye or through the rustic telescope kept in every nook and corner of the restaurant.
The menu at Khyber, we were told, offers signature dishes and classics that have stood the test of time, making a mark for the brand over the years. Sharing-style dishes are served, and we began with a bite into a tender shrimp with a beautiful charred flaky crust, tandoori broccoli, and a mild spicy chicken tikka packed with flavour that were all eaten with chutney and pungent lotus root pickle. The lamb raan has always been spoken off with rave reviews, with the Mumbai outlet often selling out the dish within a few hours of opening. The lamb leg is marinated with spices and highly recommended eaten on its own, as each strand of meat melts gorgeously upon touching your tongue.
What’s an Indian restaurant without a great curry? Khyber impresses with prawns masala in a spicy red semi-gravy and thick and indulgent dal makhani (black lentils with cream, butter and tomato puree) devoured with freshly baked naan. The highlights, however, were the robust Nihari with depth and smoky bone-sucking meat, and creamy paneer korma – a dish Sir Paul McCartney sneakily requested the recipe for. The slightly sweet vegetarian dish comprises homemade cheese and cashew sauce and is quite heavy, although, hard to resist. Desserts play a significant role within India’s dining culture, so you can’t head out until and unless you round off the meal with gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa with almonds and sweetened milk) and kulfi (homemade ice cream), followed by a cup of hot Masala chai.
Need to know: Open for dinner service, call +971 4 393 9456
Training with top chefs including Ferran Adrià at elBulli and Marco Pierre White, and launching Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London, gives you an overall understanding of the Food and Beverage business. Jason Atherton gained plenty of experiences from these culinary stars, launching his own restaurant group, The Social Company and picking up a Michelin star and accolades for his flagship outlet Pollen Street Social soon after.
The brand has since been operational in Hong Kong and Shanghai, with the next natural step being the Middle East, and where better to launch than in Dubai? The InterContinental Dubai Marina is home to the Social Room, an elongated dimly-bit bar with perfect fruity and classic cocktails, with the sprawling dining outlet Marina Social set towards the other side. Atherton’s creativity comes through with the starters featuring substantial portions of goat’s cheese churros with truffle honey and a chunky succulent beef tartare with egg yolk jam, mixed tableside, and served with a dollop of horseradish cream.
Up next, we dug into shredded chicken dumplings with crisp chicken skin, sunk under a moreish seductive foam with white onion and tarrago, to enhance the aromas and flavours. Chunky cloud-like pieces of potato gnocchi were served with mushrooms and a full-bodied wild garlic puree that gradually creeps up. The Munchies tasting menu followed on with a tear-apart slow-cooked BBQ veal short rib accompanied by mashed potato, perfectly done Yorkshire pudding and honey glazed carrots that offered a bite with nutty texture from the crumble atop. The delicate juicy duck breast is best enjoyed as one big morsel with the baked kohlrabi and truffle creamed savoy cabbage beneath it.
New dishes have been added to the menu showcasing seabass with coco beans and green asparagus with a two-hour slow cooked egg. Desserts feature a chocolate coated banofee-style bar and gelati accompanied with a fun guess-the-flavour game. The mango, banana – tastes like pudding – lemongrass and parsnip were our favourites. A dessert trolley rolls around as you are about to depart, to create a complimentary box filled with jelly, brownies, tiramisu macarons and marshmallow, to take home. It’s a lovely little touch that makes the meal even more memorable.
Need to know: Tasting menus range from Dhs325+ with grape pairing available. An a la carte menu is also available. Call +971 4 446 6664