After recently tasting our way around Krabi and falling in love with Thai cuisine all over again, to the point that I’ve probably cooked 80% of my dinners as Thai food since my return and become slightly obsessed,  I was pleased to receive an invite from Ishita who writes at IshitaUnblogged to visit Patiala, a recently opened restaurant in Souq al Bahar who specialise in North Indian Fine Dining.  We both love food, so usually there’s no need to have a reason to dine out, but this invite was to celebrate Baisakhi which is the celebration of the North Indian harvest festival.  Ishita is Bengali so this visit was a great way for me to experience North Indian cuisine with a Bengali foodie at a celebration which was close to her heart.

I love Indian food having visited India on quite a few occasions and have sampled great cuisine from the spicy cashew nut and coconut flavoured food from Kerala in the South through to more rich and cream cuisine in the North in places such as the Punjab and Rajastan and across to the South West with french inspired cooking in places such as Puducherry and Mahabalipuram.  I realise that’s quite a generalisation as the food differs so much from region to region, from city to city and from home to home too, but there are always common themes running through the heritage of Indian cooking the roots of which are ingrained by both history, geography, trade routes, tradition and religion, amongst many others,  and it would take a life time or more to fully appreciate and understand all of the variations not to mention to taste and sample everything too.

Anyway, back to the our evening.  A quick glance at the menu promised a sumptuous Baisakhi feast where we were given the choice of  dining a la carte or to get a taste of a little bit of everything with a choice of either a vegetarian tasting platter for AED 150 AED or non-vegetarian tasting platters for AED 200.

The menu said “Come, lose yourself in the flavors of Punjab” and that’s exactly what we did.  Not being able to chose between the two menus we were treated to a selection of all of the dishes and so my introduction to Northern Indian Baisakhi specials began in earnest as we sampled our way through the following dishes :

Starters

Achari Paneer Tikka (V) – Pickle spice marinated cottage cheese cook in tandoor

Tandoori Choozey -Spring chicken cooked in tandoor with a yogurt and spice marinade

Mains

Meat Beliram – Traditional Punjabi Lamb Curry

Mogewala Kukkad – Punjab chicken curry with chicken mince & traditional spices

Amritsari Dal (V) – Mixed lentils tempered with garlic, cumin and Kashmiri chilies

Punjabi Kadi Pakoda (V) Spiced yogurt and gram flour curry served with deep-fried gram flour dumplings, tempered with fenugreek seeds and red chilli

Aloo Wadiyan – Dried spiced lentil dumplings and potatoes cooked with onion & tomato masala

Guchhi Pulao (V) – Morels cooked with Basmati rice

Desserts

Gajrela (V) – Traditional Punjabi dessert with slow cooked carrot and milk

Kheer (V) – Slow cooked rice and milk enriched with nuts

Rose Petal Halwa – Dried rose petals cooked with milk, cardamon and pistachios

We finished our meal with a pot of beautifully spiced sweet Masala Chai which had been sweetened by jaggery.  The very first sip immediately took me back in time to my previous trips to India and some great memories from my Indian travels and sometimes, that’s just what I love about food and drink

Hungry yet ? I write, as my mouth is again watering as I check out the on-line menu planning a future trip, and stare longingly at the pictures of the food we tasted….

I loved the Baisakhi menu, the food was rich and indulgent, spiced really well, presented beautifully and I’m told by my Bengali friend and by the passionate Chef Sanjay Bahl (who kindly took time out during service to explain the dishes to us), that it was a truly authentic North Indian experience.  I will definately return to taste food from the general menu, I have my eye on the kebabs and some of the side dishes which are really tempting my taste buds, plus on my next visit I will leave the car at home as they are fully licensed and have an extensive wine and cocktail menu.

You can read more about Chef Sajay Bahl in a lovely article written by @IshitaUnlogged here

You can find Patiala on Level 3 of Souq al Bahar.

Tel: +971 4 451 9151 or Email: [email protected];

For more info, visit Facebook: Patiala Restaurant; Twitter: @Patialadubai or the official website: Patiala

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