I envy the people working in Bay Square, they are so spoilt for choice with foodie options. I’ve found myself revisiting this urban hub a number of times in the past few months, each visit for a totally different cuisine. Recently, we were invited to Masala Pot, a familial name that screams of fiery curries, biryanis and other subcontinental delights. They have a few branches scattered around the UAE, but I have never been and wasn’t sure on what to expect.
The restaurant has quirky-cool interiors, taking inspiration from newspaper cuttings. The walls are marked with tongue in cheek Hindi-English quotes relating to food, and everything here has a pale orange halo, so in tune with curries and the saffron hue of Indian patriotism. The restaurant looks more like a chic café, and the pricing here is definitely in line with this. A meal for two at Masala Pot will suffice under AED 150 easily.
Masala Pot had a fixed menu ready for us. We started off with their signature Paan Lemonade. I don’t know of anyone else offering paan as a drink, and I was intrigued. The characteristic hint of paan flavor is evident with every sip, and my husband and daughter really relished this drink. I for one found it a tad too sweet for my liking.
For starters, we had Masala Pot’s Mixed Platter, a generous serving of succulently soft meat, chicken and fish, each marinated in a different mix of spices. My favorite was the Fish Tikka, so moist, soft and flavorful.
For the main-course, my little one was delighted they had Butter Chicken, this is her favorite Indian curry of all time. The one at Masala Pot has that hint of sweetness that I crave in Butter Chickens, and the gravy wasn’t overly creamy either.
However, my favorite curry from the night was their Paneer Tikka Masala, a spicy-sweet gravy with a capsicum and tomato base featuring chunks of marinated cottage cheese. We swiped both curries off our plates with fresh, hot naan bread.
Just when we thought we were done, our host comes up with the Chicken Biryani. I was too full for more, but the quirky style of serving got me click-happy and before long, I was piling my plate. The biryani here is served in mason jars accompanied with raita (a cucumber and yoghurt salad) and a lassi (a yoghurt drink). Loved the lassi, such a cooling respite from all that over-eating! The chicken in the biryani was well marinated and flavorful, yet the rice was a little bland. I would have liked to see more ‘masala’ in that pot! The ‘chicken gravy’ on the side was the saving grace, bringing the pilaf to life.
We ended our meal with moreishly sweet servings of Gulab Jamun. Again, the serving style was so quirky-cool! I love the idea of having the syrup served on the side. I am one of those people who like to squish out all the syrup I can before I delve in.
Overall, Masala Pot is a great place for a value Indian meal. Love the funky interiors and the clever style of serving. My favorite dish here was the Paneer Tikka Masala, a great option for a quick, satiating lunch. Masala Pot is still a relatively new concept, and I am keen on seeing what they have in store for us in the near future. They definitely have that quirky cool streak I love!