It was a difficult time for expats in search of delicacies from their hometown. Travel restrictions from Covid and other security risks have long deterred people from returning home. Now, a restaurant-pub in town aims to seduce you and appease your travel blues with its appetizing offer: “If you can’t go home to India, we can certainly bring India to you.
With the raging pandemic leaving us with our feet firmly on the ground, we were indeed drawn to the aptly titled offer, Desi-Videsi (which means local and foreign in Hindi), at the Huddle Sports Bar & Grill at Citymax Hotel, Bur Dubai.
Now, we don’t always eat food just because of the fancy offerings that draw us to the table. Often our love for food, especially when we are away from our home country, is motivated by sheer longing. How can you erase the delicious memories of the staples of your home, such as simple meals at home, street food or dishes from popular restaurants.
The chefs at Huddle, however, gave us a spread that reminded us of Indian street food, but with a touch of fusion. The menu featured favorite Indian dishes that mixed international flavors. For example, their Tundey Kebab pizza. This famous and succulent type of kebab from Lucknow, made from minced lamb kebab, has been delicately tossed as a pizza topping and served on a crispy laccha paratha base. Their Kakori Kebab Speedies, another dish from the nawab era of the ancient capital of the Awadh region, was stuffed in a melt-in-the-mouth and spicy roti rumali with Kurkure Chaat. Now, how’s it going for an innovative kitchen?
As we entered the dimly lit pub on a Monday evening, we expected a quiet weekday outing. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find the place busy during a routine working day. The place was divided into two sections. A seating area surrounds a large stage, where we assume a band is performing live (possibly on weekends). And the other area, for customers who prefer a quiet atmosphere, far from the noise. The decor is what you would expect in any resto-pub – a large counter serving mixes and tables evenly distributed, and the service staff were busy delivering orders.
Being a hot and humid day, we preferred to start with a few thirst quenches, and moved on to the party menu without too much delay. The first to arrive at our table was the Tikka Masala Chicken Pizza on a Garlic Naan Base. A nice take on regular pizza, this dish was spicy with a slightly tangy tikka and was a nice variation. Then there were the Murgh Rogani Naan Quesadillas, which mixed Indian, Spanish and Mexican flavors. The explosion of different flavors was amazing. It was spicy but delicious. The Dabeli, a delicious vada pav type preparation, was nice. The dish featured a stuffing of a mixture of sweet and spicy potatoes and sev gathia (Gujarati crackers), placed between buttered pavers (Indian bun) and grilled on a tawa (hot plate). It was a pleasure to try this immensely loved snack, especially in the state of Maharashtra, where it is a favorite of long-haul trains.
The other notable dish was Kheema Gotala Silder, another popular Mumbai preparation that combined spicy minced meat, hard-boiled, and stuffed eggs in a paver. Vegetarians could try the Pulled Paneer Baida Roti, a delicious tortilla mix filled with paneer (cottage cheese) fried with fries from Oman or regulars like Dal Makhani and Palak Paneer.
The place also has a regular a la carte menu that includes salads, curries, pub food, kebabs, and a few Chinese favorites.
If you appreciate innovative cuisine, courteous service and revisited Indian dishes, a visit to the festival should be on the schedule before the end of the month. The signature dishes will however be kept even after the end of the festival.
Most dishes are offered between 33 and 52 Dh. The pizzas start at 42 Dh, and a meal for two should cost you 150 Dh.