Contemporary Indian at Peppermill, Dubai Festival City

So being British and having spent 10 years in East London I am a HUGE fan of Indian food. Living so close to the infamous Brick Lane, meant I practically survived on the stuff. But I’m talking about English-Indian food here, you know a chicken tikka masala with rice and chips?! Actually that’s a lie, I’m more of a fan of a lamb jalfrezi with a lovely big peshwari naan but you get what I mean.

Since moving to Dubai I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of really incredible Indian restaurants and experience more traditional Indian cuisines and street food. I’d never tried a lot of the dishes back home and I’ve really found a whole new love for food from this part of the world.

After seeing so much about it on Instagram, I finally got to visit Peppermill last week in Festival City Mall and I cannot recommend it enough. It takes contemporary Indian cuisine to the next level with some fabulous twists and seriously inventive dishes.

The restaurant is set on the first floor of the Mall with views out over the water and the new fountains. It’s divided into a lounge area, a number of beautiful semi-private dining rooms as you walk through the venue and finally the main restaurant which has a stunning balcony area perfect for winter. The interiors are serious goals, with a modern take on Indian architecture. There are huge booths for friends or family gatherings surrounded by more intimate tables for couples or small groups. There are lots of quirky features and even an antiques wall which is really interesting. The restaurant is actually pretty big but is divided up with a number of partition walls so it still has a cosy feel to it.

Peppermill is an unlicensed restaurant but it serves plenty of seriously good mocktails which are sure to keep you happy. They’ve got some great summer coolers on the menu which are well worth a look.

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We began what can only be described as our feast with a mini cheese naan and the Fatoush Ala Indie. Both of these were perfectly light starters to get us going and really hit the spot. The presentation was fantastic and set the bar for our entire lunch. We were swiftly greeted by the Shorba Tomato Soup which was made up of an attractive bowl of butter poached vegetables, raison ratatouille and pao crisps over which the steaming hot fresh tomato and coriander soup was poured. The tastes once mixed together were just delicious and the textures perfectly complimented one another. The last dish of our starters and probably my favourite of the day was the Kataifi Prawns. Crisp fried, pastry wrapped prawns topped with mango chilli salsa. The salsa was lovely and sweet and worked really well with the delicious, perfectly crunchy prawns.

Following this we moved onto our next course, the “Peppermill Chaat Platter”. Chaat is basically street food in India so the huge platter consisted of a number of small bitesize dishes including one of my faves, pani puri, samosas and fried aloo. This was the perfect sharing board as it allowed you try lots of different dishes. It’s pretty big though so do beware!

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So after all that and already starting to feel a tad on the full side, it was onto our mains. Yes MAINS! We were treated first to the Pankhi Kebab. This was a chicken supreme stuffed to bursting with creamed spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts. This was then topped with a safron korma sauce. It was truly amazing!!! Next up the Mateer Paneer. This was Peppermill’s take on the classic. Baked paneer tikka surprise with a delicious lababdar gravy. The dish was beautiful (as they all were) but was even more interesting when the waiter sliced it up to reveal the baked pea mixture in the middle. I’d never normally order a paneer dish but I enjoyed this so much I would definitely have it again. Lastly we tried the Roast Duck Kaliyan. This was a duck roulade, rich musallam gravy with nuts, caramelised onion and black cardamom topped with silver leaf. This dish had so many flavours and the duck was perfectly cooked leaving it really juicy. I actually brought a doggy bag home for my husband as there was so much food left and this was his favourite dish!

Finally, it was time to finish our feast with desserts. Although after eating all that we could only manage the one, lest we actually explode in the restaurant! Luckily it was the dessert I’d had my beady eye on, the Coconut Cream and Peppercorn Panna Cotta. This absolutely gorgeous dish is made with strawberry granita, fennel, thandai milk crumble and star anise flavoured apricot crumble. I was worried that the fennel would over power the panna cotta but somehow it just worked. Although be warned if you don’t like fennel, it’s very fennely! (Not sure that’s even a word!)

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Peppermill really lived up to all my expectations. Every dish was perfectly executed, tasted incredible and they’d really gone to town with the plating. If you like Indian food you really must visit. We tried so many incredible dishes I’d be hard pushed to tell you my favourites, so my recommendation is to go with a group and try them all!

Nicole

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