Bringing old flavours back

A restaurant whose reputation precedes itself, Copper Chimney in Dubai dishes out quintessential North Indian fare in a contemporary setting



By Mitchelle D'Souza

Published: Tue 3 Aug 2021, 2:03 PM

We dined in at the celebrated Indian restaurant Copper Chimney, Millennium Plaza Hotel, Dubai, knowing fully well of its stellar credentials. Established in 1972 in erstwhile Bombay, the restaurant is a name to reckon with in India, having won numerous awards and accolades through the decades.

The glorious institution has fed the likes of celebs and film stars over the years, the late, great cinematic icon Dilip Kumar figuring among its loyal patrons. So unsurprisingly, we sauntered into the restaurant’s Dubai outpost with big expectations, and it’s safe to say we were mighty pleased.

While the restaurant’s cornerstone is serving quintessential North Indian cuisine, its interiors are fairly contemporary, featuring plush seating and bright lighting. Divided into two sections, ground and first, diners will find the eatery’s walls studded with a tangle of photo frames (featuring chefs and one prominent one with actor Dilip Kumar seated next to the owner JK Kapur), and shelves featuring culinary curious.

After taking in the restaurant’s charming ambience and making ourselves comfortable, finally came the taste test. To start off our North Indian gastronomic adventure, we opted for the Kadak Roomali hors d'oeuvres that came highly recommended by the courteous restaurant manager Zoya. In essence a fresh spin on the popular Masala Papad appetiser, the improvised dish left a lot to be desired. Together with its too-hard-for-our-liking roomali base and a confusing flavour profile, the dish just didn’t come together. However, we are not ones to go by the belief ‘first impression is the last impression’, and the second appetiser — Lachedaar Mutton Seekh Kulcha — reinforced our stance. Comprising skewered minced lamb kebabs infused with hand-pounded spices, fresh coriander and long pepper, the dish came served on a bed of crisp, layered kulcha (flatbread). Flavourful and moist, its melt-in-your-mouth texture did full justice to the same kind of nosh served on the food-scented streets of Old Delhi.

After a spike in our appetites, courtesy of the scrummy kebabs, it was time to tuck into the mains which consisted of Mutton Rogan Josh and Chicken Dum Biryani. The restaurant’s signature dish Rogan Josh famously comes with boneless lamb cuts that have been marinated in a secret 21 spice blend for six hours. This slow-cooked stunner of a dish lived up to our high expectations and comes highly recommended if an authentic iteration of Rogan Josh is what you are looking for.

Biryanis often end up being hit and miss affairs, with even 5-star rated restaurants missing the mark. But Copper Chimney hit bull’s eye — its biryani was a classic, together with flavourful, saffron-specked basmati rice, and just the right amount of spice.

A meal should always be rounded off on a high, sweet note, and our dessert of Almond Phirni with Chikki Crumble did just that. The restaurant’s version of the classic chilled dish came with a nifty addition of chikki — crumbled jaggery and nut candy.

All in all, the restaurant scored highly on all important aspects; taste, ambience, and service. Would we go again? Why not! With a whole melange of other North Indian dishes to savour, it definitely merits another visit.


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