>

Walk down memory lane at this nostalgic Dubai brunch

Husain Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on September 22, 2021
Photo/Supplied

Shamiana's Friday fare includes delicious Indian starters that will remind you of home.

As Indian expats in Dubai, we are prone to miss what our home country has to offer in terms of our favourite food or activities. For us, it was the short trips to the ‘paani puri vaale bhaiyya’, or the countless stalls lined up next to one another offering a variety of delish items such as schezwan pizzas and burgers that left us wanting more.

The thrill of standing next to the bustling traffic with one puri in your mouth, the other in your hand, and eyeing the third that the vendor almost has ready, is unbeatable.

Still, Dubai never holds back in giving us the best, and every once in a while, a culinary experience takes us back to our home towns. Recently, it was visiting Indian restaurant Shamiana, hailing from the famous Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, that evoked a strong sense of nostalgia. We tried the ‘Nostalgic Brunch’ — a memorable experience for many reasons.

Located on the fourth floor of Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, the lobby preceding the entrance to Shamiana was elegant, as was the contemporary furnishing inside the restaurant paired with jolly Indian music. The venue also boasts of having a terrace overlooking the skyline of Dubai Marina — an Instagammable spot for diners.

The Nostalgic Brunch is a buffet that’s on from 12.30pm to 4pm, every Friday. It offers a variety of pan-Indian starters, mains, desserts, and live stations to satisfy your chaat, tava kebabs, or falooda cravings.

We could not help but begin our nostalgic expedition with our favourite childhood beverages like Kadhi Kairi ka Ras, Thandai, Kokum Sherbet, and of course, the good old glass of fresh sugarcane juice at the live stations. Refreshed, we proceeded towards the chaat corner to enjoy a plate of sev puris (a personal favourite) and were far from disappointed. But, we cannot say the same for the pani puri, another fan favourite snack, that turned out to be rather tasteless and bland.

Next, we had to select from an extensive range of scrumptious starters including Murg Makhmali Tikka, Achari Paneer Tikka, Vegetable Shami Kebab, Ajwaini Jheenga (prawns), and Lamb Gilafi Seekh Kebab. With the right amount of spice, these starters were tasty and quite filling, leaving little space for the mains.

The mains at this pan-Indian brunch are many — from Chicken Biryani, Lamb Rogan Josh, and Butter Chicken to Fish Mailee, Baingan ka Bhurta, Sarson ka Saag, Vegetable Biryani (not really a ‘biryani’) and other vegetarian options. Considering the little capacity left in us to bat, Chicken Biryani paired with raita and Butter Chicken with naan made the cut, forcing us to miss out on the other options. Cooked to perfection, both the dishes turn out exactly how foodies want their biryani or butter chicken.

Lastly, the desserts were a treat to the taste buds, especially the Gajar Halwa. To quote Executive Chef Sonu Koithara, “It reminds you of home.” The falooda and churro live station also added to the sweet afternoon, almost convincing us to check in at the hotel for an impromptu nap session.

With rich and spicy dishes, this nostalgic brunch works best on an empty stomach and the opportunity of a Friday nap after.

Where: Shamiana, Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers

Best dish: Ajwaini Jheenga

Cost pp: Dh175

husain@khaleejtimes.com