Restaurant Review: Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor

India’s TV chef brings a taste of traditional North Indian cooking to Dubai
Wednesday , 11 July 2012
Signature’s mod space
Signature’s mod space
lalla mussa dal
Über-creamy lalla mussa dal
Yummy blood orange and 
ginger kulfi
Yummy blood orange and ginger kulfi
Signature’s mod space
lalla mussa dal
Yummy blood orange and 
ginger kulfi

Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor
Meliá Dubai, Kuwait Street, Port Rashid
04 376 7433

With its posh wood- and stone-panelled walls and ceilings, quirky crinkled grey curtains that act as separators, edgy sculptures and mood lighting, Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor evokes a distinct modernist vibe. In delicious contrast to the interiors, the food at the top Indian chef’s newest restaurant in Dubai is proudly old-fashioned. Imagine dishes that are prepared just the way they are in Punjab, the heart of North India – cooked overnight and then simmered for another six to eight hours for good measure. We have to start by giving a big thumbs up to Signature’s decadently creamy lalla mussa dal. It’s a difficult dish to get right, considering the balance of time and heat that comes into play, but the restaurant’s version is spot-on, raising the humble black lentils used in it to a luxe dimension. The rich texture bursts with flavours, including bold lashings of ginger and garlic.

We kicked things off earlier with a Signature mocktail, as we recommend you do. The passion fruit panna is a tangy dance between the fruity zest, spearmint, basil seeds and green chillies – great for parched throats on scorching summer days. Apart from an authentic taste of India, you also get value for money at Signature. Several individual appetisers, for instance, are actually a combination of starters. We fell completely in love with the mushroom galouti, potato sopaipillas and tandoori zataar broccoli combo (listed as one hors d’oeuvre on the menu) that’s served with cute bite-sized ulta tava (upside down girdle) parathas. Chef Akshay Nayyar tells us that the parathas are light because the technique has the oil flowing away from the dough rather than being soaked in it. That earns us a pass to dig into another one! Plus, the mushroom-as-kebab concept is as good as it gets, channeling the legendary original meaty version that was created for erstwhile royalty in the Awadh region. 

Signature specialises in the gharha (earthen pot) style of cooking and you should definitely try dishes on this section of the menu when you’re there. Our pick was the vibrant and succulent sarson ka saag gharha gosht. While sarson refers to mustard, the dish is traditionally prepared by blending the leaves of mustard with spinach. Add lamb to this purée and you have a main course that ticks all the right culinary boxes. The sharpness of the mustard works really well with meat, and the spinach just makes it healthier. We polished off our naans with the saag, and then tried it with rice to find it just as delectable.

Dessert brought the blood orange and ginger kulfi our way, and we relished the cool, milky concoction with strips of almond. If you want more variety in your sweets, go for the gulab jamun, rasmalai and bhapa doi trio. Be warned, there’s no holding back the sugar rush with the latter.

Despite eating a lot more than we’d intended, we didn’t feel stuffed at the end of the meal. Signature’s food has a deft touch that makes it taste even better. Go on, drive down to Bur Dubai and try it. You’ll see what we mean.       

On The Menu…

Crab anari tikki and fried scallops tabouleh with tomato chutney Dhs105
Mushroom galouti, potato sopaipillas and tandoori zataar broccoli Dhs85

Sarson ka saag Dhs80
Lalla mussa dal Dhs45

Blood orange and ginger kulfi Dhs40
Gulab jamun, rasmalai and bhapa doi trio Dhs60

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