‘Punjabi Food Festival’ at Antique Bazaar (Four Points by Sheraton, Bur Dubai)

Antique Bazaar is an experience in itself. Apart from the delicious lineup of very popular Indian dishes the restaurant has to offer, the interiors have the look and feel of a bygone palatial courtyard, complete with intricately hand-carved furnishings and portraits of mythical royalty.

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Book at table around 9 pm any day of the week, and you are in for a visual treat. Antique Bazaar has its very own band of Bollywood singers and dancers who keep diners entertained with a whole array of old and new numbers, and even take on song requests.

Antique Bazaar 4 points by Sheraton Bur Dubai review of the Punjabi food festival by The Tezzy Files UAE food and lifestyle blogger (47)

We have a special association with Antique Bazaar. This is the very first Indian restaurant I dined at when I landed in the UAE 9 years ago. Given my love for Bollywood beats, Hubby booked us a table here on our very first anniversary, and we have also been back for a few birthday celebrations. This time round, we were invited to try out the restaurant’s ‘Punjabi Food Festival’.

Antique Bazaar 4 points by Sheraton Bur Dubai review of the Punjabi food festival by The Tezzy Files UAE food and lifestyle blogger (45).JPG

The Punjabi Food Festival ran from 5th to 21st May, and we made it to Antique Bazaar for the very last day. The restaurant got a Punjabi makeover to commemorate this special menu dedicated to the North Indian state of Punjab. All the decor has been done in-house, and even the staff don Punjabi-style attire.

Antique Bazaar has created a very special lineup of authentically Punjabi dishes for this festival. From Mango Lassi and Kadi Pakoda to Makki Ki Roti and Sarson Ka Saag, the Punjabi menu was available for a limited time only. However, Restaurant Manager Mr. Ravinder (who happens to be a Punjabi himself!) assures us that items from the limited edition menu can still be requested for even now.

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We had a combination of dishes, both from the Punjabi and the regular Antique Bazaar menus.

We started off with sips of Antique Bazaar’s Mango Lassi, a thick concoction of yogurt and mango pulp laced with a hint of saffron. This much-loved North Indian smoothie has a hint of tanginess from the yogurt, but overall it is a decadently rich, sweet treat that you need to sip with caution lest you get too full for your mains.

Antique Bazaar Mango Lassi

 

Another mango-based treat I absolutely devour every time I am at Antique Bazaar is their sweet mango chutney. It goes great with the complimentary papadoms!

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For starters, the kitchen at Antique Bazaar kindly agreed to create a mixed platter for us. It had four appetizers from the special Punjabi menu, as well as Antique Bazaar’s signature Patta Seekh Kebab.

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We got a platter of five different appetizers each. I like how thoughtful the restaurant is in dividing up the portions per person; no fighting over the last forkful here!
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Antique Bazaar’s Patta Seekh Kebab is deliciously moist, meaty treat marinated with delectable spices and fresh green coriander leaves.
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‘Lasuni Jhinga’ is a serving of king prawn, tempered in mustard. It has the characteristic hit of mustard which works beautifully well with the seafood flavor of prawn. A must-try for seafood lovers.
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This is the ‘Patiyala di Machali’, a boneless fillet of fish marinated with a very special spice mix originating from the Patiala region of Punjab. The fish is steamy hot and moist, the spices bold and fiery. Hands down this was my favorite appetizer from the platter. Here’s hoping it earns a permanent place on the Antique Bazaar menu.
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The ‘Murgh Achari Tikka’ is not your average morsel of Chicken Tikka. Deliciously moist with a ‘melt in the mouth’ softness, the marinade has been spiked with a hit of chili heat.
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The only vegetarian appetizer on our appetizer platter, the Tandoori Gobi still managed to shine through thanks to its bold, bright orange hue and masterful mix of flavors on the palate.

 

Nibbling through our platters of appetizers, Hubby decided to do a song request. He asked for the rather morbid ‘Jo Bheji Thi Duwa’ from the Bollywood movie entitled ‘Shanghai’. The singing duo looked rather flustered, but without much ado, the track was tracked down on good old Google, and one of the talented young dancers did an impromptu performance to its beats. At Antique Bazaar, if they can’t sing it they dance it! Even the original track was sans any dance moves!

I almost felt sorry for the young lady, she was doing full-swing twirls which must have felt pretty heady by the end of the four and a half minute long track!

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I caught a click of one of the dancers, lost in poignant thought. Doesn’t she have a striking resemblance to the lady in the painted portrait of the menu? At Antique Bazaar, she magically comes to life!

Towards the end of the evening, I had a far easier request. I asked for the Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore lovey-dovey classic, ‘Deewana Huwa Badal’ and the singers did a great job singing this much-loved peppy number.

The duo seem far more comfortable with classics than new numbers. This is my mother’s all-time favorite track, and I made a mental note to bring her here the next time she visits.

Antique Bazaar 4 points by Sheraton Bur Dubai review of the Punjabi food festival by The Tezzy Files UAE food and lifestyle blogger (26)

 

Focusing back on our table, our main-course was an elaborate spread of Punjabi classics.

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Sarson ka Saag: A Punjabi classic, this is a dish comprising of tempered mustard leaves, pureed into a thick, smooth broth-like consistency. It has a hint of mustard heat, and is laced with the fresh hit of ginger. I was happy to find ‘Makke Ki Roti’ (Punjabi flatbread made of cornflour), the traditional accompaniment to Sarson Ka Saag, in the bread basket.
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In line with the Punjabi Food Festival, the bread basket was also more in tune to the North Indian state of Punjab and featured lesser known flatbreads including Makke Ki Roti, Onion Kulcha and Khasta Palak Roti. The later is the deep green bread that gets its colouring from the addition of spinach. I have never had this bread before, and really loved its unusual taste. It is accentuated with a hint of the Indian spice Ajwain, and I could easily eat it on its own as a snack with tea!
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Baingan Ka Bharta, aka flame-grilled eggplant mashed and re-fried with onions and spices. Everyone does it a little differently, and the one at Antique Bazaar is brimming with spices, and the freshness of coriander.
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Kadi Pakoda: One of my all-time favorite Punjabi dishes, this yogurt-based curry features deep-fried dumplings made of chickpea flour. Growing up, one of my best friends was a Punjabi and I used to sneak into his house at lunch time whenever his mother made kadi. This dish took me back to those fond memories.
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Dhaba Murgh: A fiery hot chicken curry, reminiscent of the curries you would find at the road-side stalls of North India.
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Kachche Mirchi Gosht: A divinely delicious preparation of lamb in a fiery hot green chili base. The curry has a complex hit of chili heat that is balanced out with sweeter spices. We loved scooping this bowl clean with the assortment of breads in the bread basket.

 

We ended our gastronomic tour through Punjabi culinary tradition with a sampler of the region’s finest sweet treats. Our dessert platter included a sinfully rich Gajjar Ka Halwa (sweetened shredded carrots cooked in clarified butter and sprinkled with nuts), a soft, cloud-like Ras Malai and a decadently rich, creamy Malai Kulfi (Indian-style ice-cream accentuated with the texture of ground pistachio).

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The Punjabi Food Festival at Antique Bazaar may have come to an end, but the very accommodating staff are more than happy to whip up one of these limited edition dishes upon request. They also have an interesting lineup of other food festivals planned to keep regulars like us coming back for more, so do stay tuned!

Antique Bazaar is located on the Mezzanine floor of Four Points by Sheraton in Khalid Bin Al Waleed, Bur Dubai. If you want to witness the live performances, I suggest you call them on 04 397 7444 and book a table around 9 pm. Trust me, you’ll want to sit there all night, singing along to much loved Bollywood beats!

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Antique Bazaar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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