UAE

When Indian cuisine meets molecular gastronomy

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“Cuisine is not an old, tired marriage. It is a passionate affair.” – Madame Mallory, The Hundred-Foot Journey

There are diverse permutations and combinations when it comes to using a spectrum of carefully selected Indian spices. Combining these tried and tested recipes with molecular gastronomy, opens up a whole different dimension which I’m afraid cannot be fully expressed using words, though I will try my best.
Molecular gastronomy combines principles of physics and chemistry to transform the tastes and textures of food which results in a different, and sometimes, improved dining experience. Yes, this tier of food and beverage demands creativity.

Tresind has left an impression on me not only because it has pushed the limits of familiarity of flavors, but it has also succeeded at taking the diner on a culinary jaunt; politely and without one’s consent.
The restaurant’s website is easy to access and I do advise readers to take a look at the history behind this brand to understand why the front page of the menu looks like this:

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The chef’s tasting menu is something I’d like to recommend if you’ll be visiting Tresind for the first time. Even though the menu changes with the season (which is a great thing, because that means that they go with seasonal produce), the chef’s tasting menu comes with an option of wine pairing and gives you a glimpse of the pearls of this restaurant.

The kitchen team is trailblazed by the extremely talented and rather down to earth (and quite young) Chef Himanshu Saini. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the youngest chef in Dubai to achieve what he has so far.
The dishes had their own personalities and stories to share thanks to the added ingredient – passion.
Here are the virtual polaroids from our evening at Tresind.

The amuse bouche makes its presence felt through the deconstructed pani puri, which is a fashionable way of presenting one of India’s all-time favorite street food in a single scoop. The spherification of the tamarind water and presenting it along with the puri (deep fried Indian bread) was an astute technique. The zatar pao (bread) that accompanied this was combined with pickled olives, hummus with an Indian twist (naturally) and sun dried tomatoes

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The chaat trolley was packed with both entertainment and edible delights. Yet another popular Indian snack (chaat) was presented in a way I did not expect – using liquid nitrogen.

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The drizzle of pomegranates atop the dhokla (steamed gram flour snack which originates from Gujarat) dipped in liquid nitrogen added a good punch to this dish.

The chef’s tasting menu has been carefully planned to seem accommodating without causing one to succumb to sloth;  a feeling that usually follows from having eaten too much. The wine pairing options are open too for an additional cost of AED 200 (five half glasses, 75 ml each). There is a separate tasting menu for vegetarians and non vegetarians, and yes, it is very vegetarian friendly.

A cup of steaming wild mushroom chai (tea) was served along with the compressed watermelon salad (for my vegetarian friend) and the Andaman tuna salad, which I had opted for. Delightfully curious.

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When you hear kebab, you’d expect something that’s braved the spits or the grills before being plated, with slight signs of charring as battle scars. The potato sphere dahi kebab makes you reconsider that definition thanks to molecular gastronomy.
The dahi or yogurt contained within the crisp potato sphere gently fuses in with the flavour and texture of the outer crisp potato shell. This duet coupled with the muhammara chutney (a smooth pepper paste) is a feast for the senses. My friend’s facial and vocal expressions was the seal of approval.

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Braising lamb shanks takes patience and skills. Though the best way to serve this is usually medium rare (slightly pink on the inside), a phenomenon such as rare or medium rare does not exist in Indian cuisine. Having said this, Tresind still knows how to serve an exquisite portion of braised lamb shanks along with one of their special aam papad chutney (mango leather).

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Another encounter with familiarity in an unfamiliar culinary terrain – dahi bhalla ice cream, nitro cooked potato roasti, chicken shawarma and the amritsari channa kulcha. The contemporary plating style is art by itself, like most of the dishes were that evening. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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“Time to ease things a little in the stomach and prepare for our finale.”, is what we were told as our waiter brought in the khandvi sorbet in these dapper little olive wood bowls. This wonderful amalgamation of gram flour and yogurt as a sorbet was an ingenious idea. The function is simple, which is to cleanse the system for the wave that will follow shortly.

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After roti, the next staple when it comes to bread in India would be pav and it’s amazing how it can be coupled with various other dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the anda pav (stuffed with egg), whilst my friend had the misal pav (comes along with a portion of mildly spicy sprouted lentils). A crispy addition to this was the crunchy papad that could easily leave one feeling nostalgic, if one has spent a considerable amount of time in India.

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Our time at Tresind couldn’t have ended on a better note. I believe the time spent on picking the right dessert is slightly more than picking the mains, and for good reason – it’s the last sense of taste that you’ll be leaving the restaurant with, so you would want to make it count.
As our waiter had brought in dessert, we noticed a slight shimmer as the plate approached us and  we then later realized why.

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Daulat ki chaat – condensed milk foam and soan papdi crumble drizzled with gold dust. I’m glad we took the time that we did to choose our dessert. It definitely was worth its weight in gold; perhaps more?
Generally Indian sweets are perceived as rich, vibrant and sometimes too sweet to handle. In this case, the daulat ki chaat was sweet enough without compromising on the flavour. A good dessert does not make you stop at two spoons, unless the portioning was just big enough to fit two spoonfuls.
In case you were wondering, gold tastes quite neutral.

Before we bid adieu, we were offered some paan flavoured cotton candy – again, truly ingenious.

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One of the factors that influences a culinary experience at a restaurant, is the type of service that comes along with it. The hospitality industry is slowly but steadily making a marked difference here in Dubai and Tresind belongs to the list of fine dining restaurants that believe that the both the food and the people behind it, represent the brand.

The waiting team were sharp, amiable and always knew how to guide a diner through the menu. In fact, food tourism specialists ought to include restaurants such as Tresind to the list of recommended places to dine in. The menu, though minimalistic, can be explained on request. Should you have any dietary requirements, alternatives and suggestions are provided as well to ensure a smooth and enjoyable dining experience. The chefs themselves pop in and out of the dining area to interact with the guests and ask them about their feedback.

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Here’s my take on dining at Tresind:

Ambiance and decor: Excellent
Service: Excellent
Wait time: Excellent
Menu presentation and design: Good
Food: Excellent
Value for money: Excellent
Overall dining experience: Excellent

Don’t forget to visit their website to learn more about their revised menus or to contact them.
Comestible regards,
Judy Sebastian

 

P.S Now you know where to go this weekend in Dubai.

2 Comments

  1. Beatrice Chan

    May 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I absolutely love the name. How incredibly clever, combining a French word and “ind”. I love eating like this – beautifully plated food and great ambiance and décor.

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