New Opening: Mint Leaf




Being of Indian heritage myself, I’ll admit that I am highly critical of eating Indian cuisine in a posh restaurant, it tends to be overrated and truth be told, I have never really considered Indian to be a fine dining cuisine. Yes, they are popping up everywhere, but in my experience, you only have to go to a dhaba meaning the hole-in-the-wall type eateries, or where white Formica tables take centre stage complete with fluorescent tube lights in Karama, to get the true taste of India.

Mint Leaf’s sweeping and rather grand interior is an upscale trifecta comprising lounge, restaurant and bar. It’s immediately evident that no expense has been spared in the construction of this opulent restaurant which is situated on the 15th level in the DIFC, offering magnificent views of Downtown Dubai’s breathtaking skyline through its floor to ceiling windows. Dark slate and henna inspired carvings feature throughout and the open kitchen allows you to take in a culinary show, as the chefs prepare dishes with flair.

It is a beautiful spectacle to absorb before perusing the menu, and this is made easy due to the lack of diners, allowing you to roam freely. However, this means that the atmosphere is somewhat subdued. On the up-side this means that you are the subject of undivided attention from the waiting staff, who offer real Indian hospitality and ensure that you’re comfortable in every way, serving up killer cocktails made with freshly muddled concoctions and juices which are made in-house and bubbly varieties that are infused with liquid gold.

Focused on contemporary Indian dining, the menu offers a few twists and turns to familiar favourites. First up, no Indian meal in a restaurant is complete without a grilled meat selection. Enter the seekh kebab, lamb chops and the chicken tikka. The kebabs are perfectly seasoned and spiced to perfection. Similarly, the lamb chops, marinated with traditional flavours like ginger, yoghurt and coriander are a melt-in the-mouth affair, although served unconventionally with a side of minted mashed potato, which by the way, is delicious. The chicken tikka doesn’t fare as well – I am used to this dish being made with breast meat, but this version using the thigh is slightly fatty and inedible in some parts, which is a shame – one, because we are one of three couples dining there, and two, because overall, the flavour is spot on.

Mains of Rara Ghosht (lamb curry) do not disappoint. It’s a homely dish, and when enhanced with a spicy chilli naan, will leave you with a warm, pleasant, glow rather than an all-out sweat. Another stellar choice is the Kerelan Jheenga; baked jumbo prawns in a beautiful coconut sauce, served with beans poriyal. The prawns are amazing but the beans are out of this world, possessing a nutty, creamy and moreish texture. I would never have thought of serving beans this way. I think I am quite liking this contemporary side of India!

If dessert is on the agenda, don’t leave without sampling their signature dessert, the potted mint leaf. It’s like a twist on trifle with layers of coconut brownie, cream, butternut sauce and raspberry compote, which is served in a small authentic clay pot. The Indian sampler is also another way to go, with famed Indian desserts like rasmalai served in shots and gulab jamun accompanied by fragrant rose kulfi.

In a nutshell, Mint Leaf is a hidden gem in the city; an Indian version of Zuma that is yet to be discovered. Let’s not make any bones about it, if you’re hungry and you’re after good Indian food, save your pennies and head to Karama, but if you’re after good food that’s more of an event, Mint Leaf is an experience you won’t mind splashing out for.


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