You know that slow day when life seems “flat, stale and unprofitable”? It was one of those days. The only thing that seemed to brighten it every so slightly was the thought of going out to lunch.
We decided to head over to Oud Metha where my spouse had recently dined and had liked the food. Located near Lamcy Plaza, was this normal looking restaurant that didn’t seem to portray that it was housing one of the best tasting meals I’d have in Dubai.
Little finds are curious like that. That’s why I never believe in show-offy exteriors of a restaurant. At the end of the day, we’re there for the food. If the food’s not good, I don’t care if you’re serving it to me on a plate of gold encrusted with twenty pink diamonds.
Golconda Restaurant’s ambience was unimpressive and sleepy on a Friday afternoon (which is a holiday in Dubai). We weren’t even sure if it was open. Noticing the sign that it indeed was open for business, we walked in along with our two excited sons.
I noticed the menu had khatti daal – a Hyderabadi delicacy that I hadn’t had in years. A long time ago, when I was a precocious child myself, one of my mother’s friends who had Hyderabadi lineage, would make these in her home and no matter how hard we tried, we were unable to reproduce the same taste in our home kitchens. So we ordered the Khatti daal, Paneer Chili and the chicken biryani.
The Paneer Chili that I usually have at Indian restaurants is often dry and tasteless. You taste big blobs of paneer more than the spices and as a lover of all things spicy and masalaydaar, I found it a sacrilege. Once upon a time, when I was living in Yemen, we used to frequently inhabit this Indian restaurant called “Mumbai Darbaar” which had awesome paneer and chicken chili. Flakes of spices as well with small bits of pink onions were a part of the crisp bits of paneer. That was perfection, I remembered, one that I could not find in Dubai since ages despite there being no dearth of Indian restaurants that I tried.
A small portion of Hyderabadi chutney (dense liquid with curry leaves and a strong scent of fenugreek) arrived along with the raita (yogurt dip) and salad. I tasted the chutney and immediately realized that I was going to be in for a treat.
And boy, was I.
The khatti daal was absolutely splendid. It took me back to my childhood like Anton Ego was transported to his childhood when Remy makes ratatouille in the film Ratatouille.
You know how some foods just take you back to your childhood? They have the same warmth and somehow it feels like a hug from your mom.
I could have drank the daal, it was so delicious. Tangy and while retaining the essential daal taste. The paneer chili was sublime. Just the right amount of crisp and tender and soft on the inside, with just enough barely-there masala to assist to the main taste. The biryani, served in a steel pot, was filled to the brim and then some. The rice was long and not at all clumpy, which is such a turn-off when it comes to biryanis.
You can find more details about the restaurant by clicking on their facebook page here: Golconda Restaurant, Dubai.
Phone: 04 3979597, 0551278864
Al Nahda: Mai Tower, Beside Partha’s Garment, Al Nahda, Dubai
Oud Metha: Opposite ENOC Head Office, Near Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha, Dubai
Hours: 11 AM to 11:30 PM (Mon-Sun)