Food review: Anyone for Indian street food that’ll tickle your taste buds?
The Desi-Videsi food fest at Dubai's The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill serves Indian street food with a fusion touch.
It’s been a challenging time for expats craving delicacies from their hometown. The Covid travel restrictions and other safety risks have deterred people from travelling home for a long time. Now, a resto-pub in town aims to entice you and soothe your travel blues with their appetising offer: “If you can’t go home to India, we can certainly bring India to you.”
With the raging pandemic leaving us grounded, we were indeed attracted by the aptly titled offer, Desi-Videsi (meaning local and foreign in Hindi) food fest, at The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill in Citymax Hotel, Bur Dubai.
Now, we don’t always eat food just because of the fancy offerings that attract us to the table. Often, our love for food, especially when we’re out of our home countries, is driven by pure nostalgia. How can one erase the delicious memories of staples from back home — like simple home meals, street food or dishes from popular eateries.
The chefs at Huddle, however, indulged us in a spread that reminded us of the street grub from India, but with a fusion twist. The menu featured Indian favourites that blended international flavours. For instance, their Tundey Kebab Pizza. This famed, succulent kebab species from Lucknow, made of minced lamb kebab was delicately blended as the pizza topping and served on a base of crispy laccha paratha. Their Kakori Kebab Speedies, another nawab-era dish from the erstwhile capital of the Awadh region, was stuffed in a mouth-melting rumali roti and spiced with Kurkure Chaat. Now, how’s that for innovative cuisine?
As we walked into the dimly-lit, pub setting on a Monday night, we were expecting a quiet weekday outing. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find the place buzzing on a routine working day. The place was divided into two sections. One seating area surrounds a large stage, where we assume a live band plays (perhaps on weekends). And the other area, for guests who prefer a tranquil ambience, away from the din. The decor is what you’d expect at any resto-pub — a large counter serving mixes and tables spread out evenly, and service staff were busy on their toes delivering orders.
Being a hot, humid day, we preferred to start off with some thirst quenchers, and proceeded to the festive menu without much delay. First to arrive at our table was the Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza on a garlic naan base. A nice take on the regular pizza, this dish was spiced up with a mildly pungent tikka and was a nice variation. Next up was the Murgh Rogani Naan Quesadillas, which blended Indian, Spanish and Mexican flavours. The burst of different flavours was incredible. It was spicy but delicious. The Dabeli, a scrumptious vada pav like preparation, was nice. The dish featured a stuffing of sweet-spicy potato mixture and sev gathia (Gujarati crackers), placed between buttered pavs (Indian bun) and grilled on a tawa (griddle). It was a delight to try this immensely loved snack, especially in the state of Maharashtra where it is a favourite on long journey trains.
The other notable dish was Kheema Gotala Silder, another popular Mumbai preparation that combined spicy minced meat, boiled eggs and stuffed in a pav. Vegetarians could try the Pulled Paneer Baida Roti, a delicious preparation made of paneer (cottage cheese)-filled tortilla shallow fried with Oman chips or regulars like Dal Makhani and Palak Paneer.
The place also has a regular a la carte menu featuring salads, curries, pub grub, kebabs and some Chinese favourites.
If you appreciate innovative cuisine, courteous service, and Indian dishes with a twist, a visit to the fest should be on the cards before the month comes to an end. The signature dishes will, however, be retained even after the festival is over.
Most of the dishes are priced betweenDh33 and Dh52. The pizzas start at Dh42, and a meal for two should set you back Dh150.