Restaurant Review: Dhaba Lane

abhishek@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 2, 2021

(ANITA HARIHARAN)

Relish the authentic taste of India with a culinary journey that is sure to take you down memory lane

So, what happens when you blend a pinch of spice and flavour with raw emotions, straight out of the narrow alleys of a neighbourhood you have known all too well? It’s nostalgia and it is what you get while dining at Dhaba Lane, the newly opened home-grown Indian restaurant in Garhoud.

The first thing that strikes you about the place is its lively atmosphere as if plucked from the hustle and bustle of a streetside food stall in India. So, if you are from India or the sub-continent, then everything here — from the flamboyantly coloured grille of an abandoned truck at the entrance to the rustic wall art — could be a reminder of that little favourite haunt of yours back home. For me, this was like returning to Paranthe Wali Gali or the alley of the famous Indian flatbread in New Delhi, one of the undisputed food capitals of India.

But what good is it if the food doesn’t live up to the promise? So, true to its name, the menu pays a loving homage to the Indian Dhabas — the cult roadside shacks on the highways dishing out cheap but mouth-watering home-cooked traditional delicacies now an inseparable part of Indian food culture. So, sip on their dhaba-style mojito and down their Galli Pani Puri Shots to set yourself up for some classic favourites like a Purani Dilli ki Papri Chaat or Dahi Ke Kebab. Starters done right, the mains should be a perfect follow through with items like Murg Maska Marke (good ol’ butter chicken as you know it), Taka Tak Paneer (smoked cottage cheese in a rich tomato and onion gravy), Dal Makhan Marke (charcoal-cooked and buttered lentils). And for the vegetarians, there’s always the sarson da saag (mustard leaves cooked with butter and spices) and baingan da bharta (smashed eggplant tempered with clarified butter) for a hearty Indian meal. And the best way to finish it off? Order their zauk-e-shahi, a gulab jamun carpaccio served alongside rabri, the classic condensed milk dessert and a gajar ka halwa just as you would get on the streets of Old Delhi, on a wintry Sunday afternoon!

Taste: The food tastes good. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, what makes the grub here special is its ability to also refresh many fond memories. Whether it’s the pav bhaji or the chicken curry, the flavour of home is unmistakeable.

Ambience: It’s the place where you can fight your Sunday blues all by yourself. Great taste here comes in a vibrantly colourful setting that stylishly brings alive the zeitgeist of a time in India long gone by but not forgotten.

Service: Garhoud may be an urbane setting for Dhaba Lane but the warmth and the hospitality that Indian dhabas dish out to anyone that walks in isn’t misplaced here. The people make you feel right at home.

Presentation: Dhaba Lane elevates some of the best known Indian classics with its quirky presentation influenced by India’s huge Dhaba culture blending the retro with contemporary for a very Dubai finish, exactly how we like it.

Covid-consciousness: From sanitising wipes to social distancing stickers, there’s everything to make you feel safe and comfortable dining here in the midst of a pandemic.

abhishek@khaleejtimes.com

author

Abhishek Sengupta

Abhishek is the head of multimedia at Khaleej Times and has worked in radio and television channels before joining UAE's first English daily. Semi-skilled in breaking news and storytelling for visual and print media, he feels he is more comfortable talking than writing. A food and travel enthusiast, he is always busy making itineraries when not producing videos for Khaleej Times.