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Their motto is “Indian Food with Global Footprints”
If you are in the mood for Indian food but want more than butter chicken or tandoori platter, then there is a brand new place in town that offers much more. You can in fact experience “the flavors of Indian cuisine paired with bold plating and some unique gourmet combinations and cooking techniques from around the world.”
This is how Namak – which translates to ‘salt’ in Hindi- defines itself. This new restaurant located inside Dusit Thani in Abu Dhabi, beside Urban Kitchen, is an Inspired Indian Kitchen by celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur.
If you haven’t heard about Chef Kunal Kapur yet, he has played host in many television shows such as Masterchef India, Pickle Nation, Thalis of India & My Yellow table. Chef Kunal Kapur has already won several culinary and television awards and received The Indian Television Academy Award for the Best Jury/Anchor on television for Junior Masterchef India, and was also awarded Best Food Entertainer of 2017 by Living Foodz.
Chef Kunal Kapur was at Namak Abu Dhabi the day we were invited to visit – training the whole kitchen team during the soft launch – and we were lucky to meet him and get a taste of the menu he has curated for Namak Abu Dhabi.
Before getting into details, the reasons why this place stands apart from the rest is that it serves Indian cuisine with a twist, modern presentation and fair pricing.
How is the decor?
The restaurant is divided into two main spaces. One room has bright and warm colors, from yellow, orange to pink, with comfy velvet sofas and Indian trinkets displayed on shelves. The second room is decorated with cold colors, mostly green and blue, and guests face the open kitchen and a long bar counter.
Let’s move on to our tasting experience!
We had a special tasting menu allowing us to taste the various options on the menu in smaller sizes. So our images below won’t reflect the real portion sizes but may will make you drool over Namak’s dishes.
So, the starters menu include different salads and starters, soups, main courses, and a vegetarian corner and of course, desserts.
We started off with a crispy amuse-bouche called Shake Shake (40AED, vegetarian). Prepared with crispy lotus stem chips (our first time tasting these), it was topped with chili dust, fox nuts, aam-papad ketchup, and ranch raita.
We got to taste warm starters that we would certainly order again, even as a main actually, especially for the sea bass.
– the tempting butter poached prawns (75AED) were soft in texture and served upon a black garlic sauce mixed with activated charcoal with mali foam.
– the grilled Chilean sea bass (95AED) was one of our favorite. Perfectly cooked in a tandoor and topped with different herbs, it was light, juicy and served with a strawberry chutney and a Kasundhi foam sauce that worked well together. Kasundhi is an Indian mustard coming from the Eastern coast of India, in the region of Kolkata/Calcutta.
Among the vegetarian options, we enjoyed the Saag burrata, creamy spinach which surprisingly came served with burrata in the center. To be fair, we would have liked it as much even without the Italian burrata.
B for Baingan looks very appealing and is fairly priced at 45 AED. It is a pan-fried slim aubergine topped with a sweet tomato chutney, garlic yogurt adding a fresh touch and green apple salsa.
The Haleem Kebab (75AED) is quite playful. The patty is a 12-hour slow cooked lamb full of flavors and spices, served with sheermal flatbread aside. You can prepare your kebab yourself mixing the patty, figs and passion fruit chutney with the super thin saffron flatbreads.
We also tasted two of their main courses in mini portions. The Roganjosh struddle (110AED) was a first for us and came deconstructed as the lamb loin was wrapped with a struddle pastry and the quite spicy gravy on the side was poured over the lamb.
We definitely enjoyed the reinterpretation of the Prawns Moily curry. Our waitress poured a flavorful sauce over the prawns that was prepared with coconut curry and curry leaves (135AED).
To finish on a sweet note, don’t hesitate to order the Mango Lassi Icecream (35AED) which was very refreshing and comes with basil seeds, pistachio dust, and saffron.
We were told the restaurant would very soon be offering their dishes in different sizes so that guests can have the opportunity to order, share and try more varieties. A concept we quite enjoy, especially the first time we visit a new spot.
The restaurant is currently in soft launch and is already quite busy at lunchtime. The official opening will be the second week of November 2018.
Lunch: 12:30 – 15:00 hrs | Dinner: 18:00 – 00:30 hrs (Last food order at midnight)
NAMAK BY KUNAL KAPUR | DUSIT THANI ABU DHABI | +971 2 698 8137
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