Now one of the biggest challenges for any chef after opening a restaurant that has garnered rave reviews is to live up to the billing second time around. When Vikas Khanna with whom I have had chances to interact to on a few occasions and a person who probably has on occasion read what the food hulk writes and great guy over all opened Junoon in New York, he was a relative no body an upstart young Indian chef with nothing to loose. But when he opened his Dubai outlet it was a different story altogether he was a face the world knew and the Indians adored. A chef that had appeared on countless editions of master chef, published books, cooked for the most powerful man in the world and praised by none other than our very own prime minister the stakes were through the roof and it would certainly be a very tough act to follow. So as a bit an admirer there was no way in hell I would pass up the chance of visiting Junoon.
So when I was basically going out for a meal with a very dear friend and her husband who I was meeting for the first time. I knew he like me was a very fussy man so and the fact that he thought I had great choice in food I had to take him to Junoon and see what magic Vikas Khanna and his team could put out for us. On the out set I am making it super clear that I do know Vikas Khanna on a personal capacity but this is not going to come in the way of this review and yes we paid for our meals… I seem to have lost the bill but ill be happy to show you my card statement showing I paid for it.
On the outset I must comment the whole service experience was A grade and they do take their Atithi Devo Bhava ( Guest is God ) saying quiet seriously… Very few places greet you with such warmth and sense of importance even when you get there with out dropping names or telling them you are a blogger is refreshing to see. After a brief descriptions and explanations by our server we were ready to order… Here is how the meal went
Whilst we hadn’t ordered the first dish our server insisted we try out their signature egg plant tempura chaat. Whislt I am not to big on eggplant I still decided to give it a try and quite frankly for someone who hates egg plants this was pretty decent over all nice and creamy yogurt with chutney and the right amount of chaat masala to get you excited. I hate eggplants in fact but i still enjoyed it.
Our drinks were served with poppadum’s that were quiet interesting to the palette I couldn’t nail down what they made of but they were so good we ended up eating 3 portions of them with a few chilled brews.
Next up was Junoon’s version of a lamb boti I can’t seem to quiet recall the name of the dish but it was absolutely perfectly cooked lamb boti kebabs with parsnips and parsnip puree… in short nothing less than food heaven and dare I say orgasmic… these are the kinds of dishes every food dreams and chases much like the magic dragon… when something is made soo well one is truly at a loss for words… it’s just April this year and surprisingly my last good fine dining meals have turned out dish of the year contenders. All I can say eating is believing and I’ll fly back to Dubai just to have the lamb again. It was cooked so well I have attached a picture to show you good it looked…
For the main entrées I stuck to the classics
Had a Chicken Tikka Lababdar from which I can have absolutely no complaint thick tomato onion gravy with fugekreek just the way you dream of it in a wet dream… Perfect nothing fancy just honest and perfect no pretentions what so ever
The same can the said of they “ special Junoon dal” which is nothing but dal makhni cooked and served the way it should be. The one thing I appreciated about Junoon was in this meal the food came minus the showsha and somehow had an air on being honest if that’s possible… It wasn’t what I expected but pleasantly surprising it just goes to show if you can cook really good food it doesn’t need bells and whistles to prove that its good.. not that I am against it but in this case the quality of food made me ignore that it was served like another Indian restaurant.
Whilst not being a big dessert person we decided to skip desert for a glass of wine but our server insisted that we have something sweet before leaving as it would plain rude in Indian culture if the guest leaves with out the customary Meetha ( sweet) and decided to bring us the something called rasmali pearls which are basically shot size pieces of really tasty rasmalai… the right mikylness and the perfect amount to sugar again just simple and easy though this time they turned up the presentation factor.
Over all it was a great meal in my opinion because the combination of service and food really left me happy which isn’t always the case… Plus I didn’t get too many opportunities to nitpick at their food which left we disappointed in a good way… because when I am at places that are rated this highly my fault detection sensors are usually on high alert and this time they went up unsatisfied but I went home with satisfied with a smile on my face and sometimes that’s all one needs.
The place was a reflection of Vikas Khanna, simple, uncomplicated, and hospitable and knows what they are doing… Special shout out to Chef Swaraj and his team great going guys!!! Am sure Tumne Vikas ka Sar Uuncha kar diya !!!
Kudos !!! Enough with this love affair overall rating 10/10