Make Sure You Come Very Hungry To This Indian Restaurants Epic Iftar Menu
Journey across India is reflected in culinary creations
Vikas Khanna launches Iftar and book, Utsav
Indian cuisine is well known for strong flavours, deep colours, varied textures and of course… spice
All of these were displayed during Michelin starred Chef, Vikas Khanna’s Junoon takeover.
Vikas was in Dubai, launching his book, Utsav, which was compiled over the space of twelve years. It is a collection of stories and a thousand recipes that Khanna compiled during his travels across India. The Iftar menu at Junoon is a product of his journey, mixing traditional Indian flavours with contemporary presentation.
Come hungry. Really hungry.
Despite eating food prepared by a Michelin starred chef, the whole experience felt very traditional. Mainly because the food did not stop coming. If you’ve ever been to an Asian family’s home, you’ll know that saying “no thank you” or “I’m actually really full” is not a deterrent. The Aunty-on-duty will likely say “Oh, just one more spoon, you’re wasting away!” as she piles a mountain of Basmati rice onto your plate.
Junoon’s Iftar menu is a bit like that, except instead of the normal rice and a chicken tikka masala, you’re treated to everything from fried fruit pakoreh to FOUR types of curries. Not to mention the black lentils and the lamb biryani. And we haven’t even started on the appetisers yet…
So what about the food?
There is a lot of spice. Even the seasoned cashew nuts were pretty hot so the really unusual melon salad was a refreshing contrast. There were a few interesting items to start such as the fried fruit and vegetable pakoreh. While they may not be everyone’s cup of chai, the (unconventional Indian starter) calamari and the papdi chaat were faultless.
Then came the lamb kebabs which, although were delicious, would have perhaps been better with a side of rice or bread. We’re well-versed Asian-food-eaters and have never seen the broccoli and chickpea kebabs but really enjoyed having new and different items to try.
The four main curries were: coconut and cashew chicken, prawns and pepper, mushrooms and paneer. These were accompanied by a basic, but delicious, black lentil dish, rice, bread and a beautifully made lamb biryani. Each dish was flagrant and released a new set of flavours. While diners may not love every single dish, the best thing about the whole experience is the sheer variety and being able to try a load of new items, which you may not have necessarily chosen for yourself.
The two desserts took two classic dishes, kulfi and falooda, and turned them on their heads. The presentation was stunning and a huge contrast to what you think of when you envision traditional Indian sweets. There was no oil or sickly sweetness, just a really well-done combination of flavours.
Not just your average curry...
Throughout the menu, there was balance. For everything that could almost burn your tongue, there was something to instantly cool it. Junoon’s Iftar is not for the faint-hearted. You have to be able to handle spice and it’s probably best to wear trousers with some give. And by some, I mean a lot.
While the flavours range from quite mild to I-need-water-now! It’s not just a typical Indian; Junoon’s Iftar menu presents an Indian experience, where every single dish brings something new to the table. Literally.
If you can handle that, you’ll be in for a proper Indian treat (minus the overly-insistent, but well-intentioned, Aunty).