Last weekend my little family and I were invited to try out the brand-new menu at Carnival by Tresind. This restaurant ranks high on my all-time favorites in the city, and never ceases to amaze. From the magical interiors to the spectacular dishes, all served with the frills and thrills we have become accustomed to when it comes to the Tresind label, I always get a tad too excited when dining here.
The new menu pays tribute to Colonial India, a time when the British reigned the country and had a significant influence on its traditional cuisine.
In sync with the theme, the staff are dressed up in Vasco De Gama sailor attire, the tables feature interesting cutouts from the era including an antique cover page of the British Indian Passport, and as a special ode to the then-capital city of India, a real vintage ‘thela’ (pulley cart) from Calcutta has been installed at one end of the restaurant, and from it guests are served interesting variants of popular chaats.
Love Bengali Roshogulla? At Carnival by Tresind, the popular dessert is turned into a ‘chatpatta’ chaat, complete with a tangy tamarind syrup and toppings of crispy ‘boondi’.
Mexican tacos get a desi twist as the ‘Taco Papdi Chaat’. The tacos are made crisper with a papdi batter, stuffed with potato and mung beans, and topped with tamarind, yoghurt and spicy mint.
Then there’s the Ghugni Chaat (aka spicy chickpeas). This is traditionally made fiery with a hit of mustard oil, but at Carnival by Tresind they add the heat with a crunch thanks to wasabi peas.
And not forgetting the much-loved Bhel Puri, Carnival by Tresind gives it a facelift by combining it with guacamole and freeze-drying it with liquid nitrogen. This ensures the crunch stays longer, and the cool hit with the spicy goodness makes it a real winner.
While we indulged at the chaat trolley, my little girl was enticed with the Butter Chicken from their Kid’s Menu. It is her all-time favorite curry, and we were mighty impressed by just how much she devoured here!
Back at our table, we were served our first appetizer; the Chicken Kurkure. Just look at the presentation! The chicken comes in a nest of its own and features delectable bites of boneless chicken in a semi-dry spiced mix. The dish is given an element of crunch with the addition of the ever-popular Indian Kurkure chips. Absolutely delightful.
Next came the Double Roti Dahi Kebab. Here’s an interesting fact… before the British reign of India, traditional breads were the flat pan-fried rotis or rich Mughul parathas. It was the British and the Portuguese who introduced yeast and other preservatives to Indian cooking. The addition of yeast ‘doubled’ the traditional roti by rising the batter, and hence the term ‘Double ka Roti’ was born.
This Double Roti dish takes inspiration from the Mexican Empanada and is crisp in texture. It is stuffed with a thick, spiced creamy yoghurt mix, drizzled with tamarind chutney and garnished with fresh pear and walnuts.
One of the things that make the dining experience so special both at Tresind and Carnival by Tresind is the drama of having a dish assembled at your table. The Rib Cage was presented as a slab by the chef, who expertly carved the absolutely ‘falling off the bone’ piece onto our individual plates and garnished them on the spot. He makes it look so easy!
The meat is unbelievably soft, to the point that it even has some bone left in that can be eaten with ease. The barbeque sauce lining the meat has an undeniably Indian masala taste that I loved, and the crushed, sautéed baby potatoes on the side added to the deliciousness of the dish.
Before we moved on to our mains, a palate cleanser was served. This zesty Orange Sorbet was a refreshing treat, and I’d love to have this in bigger quantities as a dessert on its own.
The main-course featured flavors from different corners of India. There was the rich, aromatic Coq Au Vin Masala (a posher version of the ever-popular Butter Chicken cooked with red wine), a deliciously tangy-spicy Pondicherry Fish Curry, the Carta Farta (Prawn Biryani cooked in a food-grade friendly ‘Carta Farta’ plastic bag that enables the dish to get more steamy and really allow for the rice to absorb all that flavorful spicy goodness), and a platter of absolutely soft, mildly spicy Beef Kathi Kebab.
It’s hard to pick a favorite as each dish outshone on its own terms. The beauty of each dish is that they remain altruistically Indian, yet cleverly employ global and modern culinary techniques.
A meal at Carnival by Tresind is never complete without an order from their drinks menu. Bar Manager Sherine John has outdone himself with a total of 9 new cocktails and 1 new mocktail, and yes we tried them all!
- Rich N’ Happy: I started with the Rich N’ Happy, afterall who doesn’t want these two attributes, right?! This is a creamy liqueur-style cocktail featuring cognac, crème de banana, crème de vanilla, amaretto and bitter.
- Red Light Negroni: Inspired by Amsterdam’s infamous red light area, this heady, strong drink is a mix of Campari, martini and the rim is encrusted with dark chocolate and citrus dust.
- Robust Zacapa: A beautiful take on an African classic, this drink is smoked with apple wood, and is a heady mix of Ron Zacapa 23 years, bitters and citrus perfume.
- Popcorn Spritzer: At Carnival by Tresind, you can actually drink your popcorn! And boy did it make my little one jealous 😊 This spritzy concoction is refreshingly light and fruity, and consists of white rum, aperol, grapefruit and prosecco. You are actually encouraged to snack on the salty popcorn to entice a thirsty palette to take bigger sips!
- Perfect Harvest: This drink is almost too pretty to drink, and pays ode to the harvest season (hence the sack and the dehydrated sliver of sweet potato). The drink is light and has a floral hit of lavender owing to the lavender infused vodka.
- Be Eat Root: Being a huge fan of beetroot, I was rather intrigued with this drink. It has the characteristic shade of deep, vibrant purple and even smells rather earthy. This drink features beetroot and house spices infused in tequila and served with passion fruit. I loved the hint of Indian spices in this one.
- White Apple Tea: This pretty glassful is a delicate mix of white apple tea infused with gin, elder flower and bitter perfume.
- Flamingo Sling: Move over Singapore Sling, Carnival by Tresind makes it so much prettier!
- Zobo Sour: This clever concoction is Carnival by Tresind’s award-winning drink created by bar-man Avelino Cacayen. This cocktail features Jack Daniels, bitters and a home-made zobo mixture, and bagged the second prize at the international Jack Daniels mixing awards this April.
For those who want to stay sober, the brand-new addition on their mocktail selection is the Mast Mango. It came to the table with two tubes. These are actually interconnected so when you sip from one, the other goes down in unison. It has a ‘chatpatta’ hit of raw, tangy mango and fresh coriander. A refreshing take on an Indian classic.
The dessert round was no less extravagant. We had a revamped version of the all-time favorite Apple Tart that features a caramelized apple sitting atop an apple tart filled with hazelnut barfi and topped with mascarpone ice-cream. The pie crust is crumbly delicious, and the filling is full of nutty goodness. Loved the mild sourness of the apple as it cut through all that barfi richness.
Who said Fruit Trifle is a light option? At Carnival by Tresind it is presented as a rich pistachio cream-filled slice, coated in white chocolate and served with a coconut barfi on the side.
If you are looking for a lighter dessert option, the Aam Sutra is for you. This dessert features a coconut rasgulla sitting atop a very delectable mix of lemongrass espama and frozen aamras. Fruity, creamy goodness at its best!
The drama of desserts doesn’t end there. Our table is taken over for the Gajak, where drizzles of caramel, chocolate and peanut glaze are expertly squirted across the table and a large white chocolate pot is smashed onto the table to reveal a filling of warm brownies, caramelized peanuts, chocolate sauce and the much-loved gajak (Indian peanut brittle).
A booking at Carnival by Tresind is always nothing short of magical. The clever take on fusion Indian that still manages to stay true to its roots is exemplary, and the presentation makes for Insta-worthy clicks. We were served by a young man by the name of Gangadhar who proved to be very well-versed with the menu options and provided us with many anecdotes from his Indian upbringing. The service is fast, friendly and amicable and keeps us coming back for more. Very interested to see what they have in store for Ramadan!
Carnival by Tresind is located in Burj Daman, DIFC Dubai. For bookings and more information, give them a call on 052 242 4262.