|In a word: Shiny!|
|Food: Tasty Northern Indian delights cooked up with love by Chef Sanjay|
|Presentation: Deco-wise sleek with Indian features. Food-wise nothing extraordinary|
|Ambience: Rather quiet, definitely relaxed with some chilled background tunes|
|Location: Souk al Bahar|
|Value for money: Justifiably expensive for a really good quality meal|
|Worth a visit?: Yes, a delightful personal dining experience and perfect for a romantic meal for two|
I’d heard about Patiala after receiving an invite from Rebecca at ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller to their media launch way back in February of 2013, and four months later we decide it was about time we dinned at Patiala in the very capable hands of Chef Sanjay Bahl.
Chef Sanjay is a wonderful Indian gentleman with vast experience of the hospitality business and now responsible for running the kitchen at Patiala. Patiala takes its name from the Punjab city of the same name and serves up the best of Northern Indian cuisine with some rather divine, spice-infused Signature cocktails on the side.
The décor is shiny and chic, with little touches of Indian design features. Patiala’s swanky interiors house a lounge bar, separate dinning area, with two private dinning rooms tucked away to the rear of the restaurant and the exposed kitchen. With covers for 55 in the dinning are, the size of Patiala makes for an intimate and rather special feel to your dinning experience.
We turned up early on a Saturday evening, to find the place pretty empty but for a few dinners taking an early supper. This definitely worked in our favour as we had the opportunity to take up Chef’s time; discovering the story behind Patiala, his experience and exactly what we were eating. As the evening progressed, the small dining area was filled with two large parties.
We were treated to dishes from Patiala’s set menu, we requested predominantly veggie dishes and ones that were mild as possible for my chiliphobic partner-in-crime, Chef Sanjay was more than happy to cater to our needs, but insisted that we try a few of their non-vegetarian dishes.
We made a start with a couple of interestingly spiced Patiala signature cocktails; the rum-based Patiala Passion and the Ginger Splash a vodka, Amaretto, ginger and cinnamon delight. To accompany these, a vase of cone-shaped poppadums and chutneys got us started before the arrival of a little amuse bouche to get our taste buds into the swing of things; a lightly spiced pattie, Aloo Ki Tikki.
Next on our table was the Patiala Chat Platter; a rectangular plate with three traditional snacks; a veggie samosa, chat papdi- a little pancake with veggies and a little pile of spiced mixed fruits. I love the thicker, crumbly pastry of the Northern Indian samosas, it takes me back to my days of working in East Dulwich, South London, where i’d treat myself to one from the Cheese Block pretty much every lunch time. Ah, fond memories!
The empty platter was swiftly replaced by four meaty morsels from the Kebab selection; Murgh Makhmali Seekh, Murgh Malai Kebab, Lamb Baraah Kebab, and Fish Amritsari. The minced chicken (Murgh Makhmali Seekh) was surprisingly tasty – the idea of minced chicken didn’t sit well with my brain, but it turns out it sat very well with my taste buds! The Amritsari; crispy fillet of Hammour fish was really good too, however, that taste was spoilt by disappointment that it was hammour- one of the most overfished species in the region. Chef’s rational for this unsustainable choice was that Hammour is the best tasting and freshest available to him, I couldn’t help thinking that that was a bit of a cop out and that there must be alternatives out there.
Next to arrive on our table were tasters of a couple of Patiala’s Signature Dishes – Patiala’s Chargrilled Chili Mint King Prawns and the much talked about lamb Galouti Kabab; Chef Sanjay was so excited by the lamb dish, I just had to gave it a try and was genuinely impressed by this tender little melt in the mouth lamb patty.
The main event for my taste buds was the selection of curries and the biryani that arrived on our table; a light and delicious Butter Chicken, deep green spinach Saag Patiala Paneer, dark and creamy black lentil Dal Patiala, Jeera Aloo, and lamb Gosht Roghan Josh. The curry bowls were accompanied by the chicken Dum Ka Biriyani, buttery naan bread, and Khaas Masala Raita, a deep bowl of creamy fresh yoghurt, to help soothe my partner’s palette from any spicy heat!
We weren’t allowed to leave without a taster of some classic North Indian desserts…and yes, I was more than happy to oblige Chef Sanjay! He started us off with the Patiala Dessert Platter; Rasmalai, sugar poached cottage cheese in a saffron milk, Gulab Jamun, a sweetened milk and flour dumpling, and my favourite, the Rose Petal Halwa – a dish of dried rose petal cooked with milk cardamom and pistachios.
As if we hadn’t already feasted through four courses, we were (quite literally) finished off by the Rabdi Fondue – a traditional slow cooked milk dish served as a fondue with skewers for dipping the fresh fruit and little mithal balls into the milk. An interesting take on a cheesy tradition!
A pot of mint tea rounded off our meal and kick started the digestive system before we (again, quite literally) rolled home.
The surroundings have a sleek luxe feel – glossy black, mat white, Indian influences, little touches of gold, etched and curved glass with interesting lighting. Very tastefully decorated with no offensive bling.
One of the things I loved about Patiala was that you get to see exactly what goes on in the kitchen, something that is usually very much behind the scenes. You’re separated from the magic by a curved pane of glass which allows you to watch Chef and his team prepare your supper.
Everything we ate was nicely presented, especially the little cones of poppadom and chutneys. To be honest, food presentation-wise nothing really wowed me, however, I don’t think it really needed to, it felt elegant with out being in your face blingtastic.
The hand towels at the end of the meal were pure magic! The picture above in no way does the magic justice; the towels start off life as tablet size, grow to about an inch in height with the addition of water and are unwrapped into proper little hand towels. I love little touches like this. I’m tempted to return to Patiala just for this!
Service was really good from the moment we walked in we were greeted with a smile, shown to our table and it just felt like the wait staff knew what they were doing, were passionate about their role in the restaurant and eager to please us.
Having Chef Sanjay entertain us with his culinary knowledge and passion just made the whole experience that little bit more special. I’d recommend you head there for an early supper and take advantage of his generous nature and heartfelt passion for food.
If you want to whet your appetite a little bit more before you visit, check out the menus on Patiala’s website.
During Ramadam, Patiala are running nightly Iftar experiences from sunset until 8pm with a selection of kebabs and birianis for AED 145. Check out their website to see the details.
Value for money:
It’s not your everyday ‘drop in for dinner’ joint, it’s great for a romantic meal and i’d estimate that, with a with starter, main and dessert without booze, you’re looking at AED 500 or so per couple. The quality of the ingredients, level of passion, care and attention that goes into preparation of the dishes is well reflected by the price.
Level 3, Souk al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai
Tel: +971 (0)4 451 9151
12 – 4pm & 6pm – 2am