Dear Mr. Vineet,
Forget your two Michelin stars. Tonight you’ve been awarded a Kawkab. You’ve got literally two stars and a whole planet as of now.
After sensing a bit of heavyheartedness in Kawkab’s spirit, my favourite peasant in the world spontaneously organised an Indian dinner to let the spice make it all nice, and let that Naan make Kawkab’s blues gone. Much appreciated from someone who doesn’t eat spicy food, but knows of Kawkab’s fondness for Indian cuisine. We couldn’t have been more ready, after having watched “The Hundred-Foot Journey” the night before. The film features Helen Mirren with a fake French accent, as a restaurant owner with a cold, villainous exterior and a heart of gold. Mirren, who owns a classical French restaurant, is at first dismayed when an Indian family moves across the street to open Maison Mumbai as her competition. The film starts off with an amusing rivalry between the two sides of the street, but then develops into a predictable compilation of cliches. Surprisingly, it’s produced by Steven Spielberg, as a collaboration with the obnoxious Oprah Winfrey. There’s a video of the two of them online, giggling like amateurs who just finished their first film school project. At one point, Spielberg remarks: “I was always terrified of the phone ringing to say that somebody lost the tip of a finger”. This is from the man who brought you Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Minority Report.. to name a few. Kitchen scenes were a whole new frontier for him.
Look at your tante rant. You have to stop me when I do, peasants. This is not a review of this mildly pleasant, mediocre movie. This ought to be a review of the mouthwatering dinner at Indego by Vineet restaurant in the Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai Marina. We ordered a feast, and it was all impeccable to say the least. The Almond Tikki made a good vegetarian starter, as a combination of crisp almond crusted green pea tikki, Punjabi chickpeas, and sweetened yoghurt with tamarind chutney sorbet. The butter chicken was the best I’ve ever had. I dare you not to lick every drop of that buttery sauce, after you’re done with the pieces of chicken. If you don’t, I’ll invite you for a reviewable Kawkab dinner (if only out of curiosity to find out what’s wrong with you). We also shared the chef’s signature dish of Coastal Jhinga, which is basically chargrilled coconut-curry leaf jumbo prawns poached in lime-coconut sauce. All was delicious, especially the usuals: Black Dal, a mix of Naans and Raita. Ask for the special coconut & raisins Naans to go along with your Dal. As much as we were full, we didn’t pass on dessert. We ordered the Chocolicious Indego platter to share, and boy did my silly diet get a scare. It’s chocolate with an Indian twist, that you can only understand when it’s in your mouth. So work on getting it there.
If you’ve read some of my reviews, you know I have a hard time enjoying a meal when the food is great, but the service is not. Here, the service was just as fantastic as the food. The waiters were all very pleasant and helpful and they too get the stamp of “Kawkab”. As the great Elissa of Lebanon once said “I don’t tanks to tanks”, but tonight I must: Thank you my favourite peasant for thoughtfully organising. Thank you my birthday-hating friend for joining. Thank you Chef Vineet. Thank you India.