This week we embarked on the “gastronomic fiesta” that is Carnival by Tresind, located in the hub of DIFC. Having already been to its parent restaurant, Tresind, to taste their Iftar menu earlier this year, my expectations were surely set high. Well, let me just tell you, that from the moment I stepped into Carnival, I was in awe.
It is no secret, especially from my last post, that I am slightly obsessed with Rose Gold, and entering this room was rather heavenly as I was surrounded by Rose Gold interior decor. Thanks to the spot lighting, the Rose Gold trees in the above photos look as if they are set afire. I loved the addition of carnival masks and bright umbrellas to bring the space to life, and the illusive patterned floor is now officially on my wish list!
After finally overcoming the magnificence of the Carnival interior, my palette was ready for the very same. However, before any dishes were brought to our table, we were given a small welcome gesture that made Baby Z very happy. I do not want to ruin the surprise by sharing this detail, but it is quite the experience to be had!
Small Plates – Appetisers
Our meal began with a Palette Cleanser, the first of which had an avocado mousse flavoured with mango on top and simply melted in the mouth. The other was a kind of bread with a pumpkin filling and was sweet and tangy at the same time. Next up came the Dal Phulka, which entailed of a yellow lentil cappuccino, phulka cookie, fresh truffle ghee and cumin cocoa. The cumin added quite the kick, and I very much enjoyed the contrasting sweet phulka cookie dipped in the dal. I must admit though, that the dal was a little too strong for my liking, but perhaps that is because I’m not quite the coffee drinker. My husband on the other hand knocked it back as if it was an espresso shot!
The dal cappucino was followed by Pulliinji, which are south indian ginger prawns coated in palm sugar caramel and topped with a curry leaf crisp. It was scrumptious. The balance of spicy marinade and sweetness from the sugar was just perfect, and being a seafood lover, I enjoyed it very much.
Next came the Life is short, eat dessert first which is just my kind of life lesson. The dish consisted of jalebi chaat, yoghurt mousse, potato and chickpeas. What’s there not to love about a good old Indian chaat? The yoghurt balanced out the spiciness of the chickpea and potato mixture, and the jalebi was quite a crunchy treat!
The last appetiser, Vada Pav service, was prepared in front of us by Carnival’s own Bob the Builder (well, I don’t think that was his name but he sure dressed the part, helmet and all). “Bob” served us the classic vegetarian snack of mumbai mill workers of a potato filling within bread, topped with all sorts of colourful and crunchy deliciousness. The great thing about this dish was that we could control how spicy we wanted it to be, and exclude any toppings we did not want as “Bob” went through each of them. The tangy tamarind against the mildness of the potato, enriched with the crunchy sev was all gone within minutes.
Once we had devoured the appetisers, the bar tender brought on three amazingly presented drinks, tailored to the our needs as he asked what Baby Z would prefer. Two of them were berry infused, and the third had lime and lemon grass. The skull drink was poured in front of us, and Baby Z was mesmerized by all the fog as it covered the table. All three were equally refreshing and delicious, but the lemon grass mocktail was definitely my favourite.
Big Plates – Mains
For the mains, we enjoyed the East India Company which is a dak bungalow chicken curry with ghee roast potato and boiled egg white with Naan (bread), accompanied by Carta Farta which includes steamed seabass en papillote, malabar style bouillabaisse and lemon rice.
The chicken curry was full of flavour and the chicken was ever so tender. The seabass however was on another level. I loved that the steamed seabass dish is cooked and zip locked, allowing all the locked fragrances to escape only once it is opened up in front of you. The fish was extremely soft, and I loved the authentic malabar coconut undertones. Definitely my favourite main dish of the two.
For the sweet ending, we were presented with Chaat Wala which is a Guava parfait with strawberry chaat masala and caramelized boondi as well as Betel Leaf Macaroons. The aroma of the strawberry chaat masala evoked a foggy array of memories but as I took my first bite of the parfait, I was transported back to the train rides in India that I enjoyed on my family holidays almost a decade ago. It was almost as if I was biting into the chilli powder sprinkled pears served as the train snack by local vendors whilst travelling with my parents when I was a child. As I opened my eyes from that first bite, a satisfied gasp escaped my lips, I kid you not. I looked over at my husband and saw the exact same effect in his eyes, and I knew this was the winning dish of the night. I wasn’t a big fan of the surrounding fruits with the chaat masala combination, but the crunchy boondi was a great contrast to the smooth parfait. For a dish to be able to evoke childhood memories is indeed a very special thing, and I don’t think any other dish I have tasted in Dubai has been able to achieve this.
The Betel Leaf macaroons, infused with a hint of “Paan” was deliciously sweet, though I think I could have handled a bit more of a paan kick, having had many in the past.
Over all, my experience at Carnival by Tresind was exceptional, full of surprises, Oohs and Aahs. My expectations were high but they have definitely been exceeded, and I would highly recommend this restaurant for those looking to enjoy a special experience. Yes, the menu is pricey as expected, but what you get in return is definitely value for money. One must also remember that after entering the rose gold gilded door of Carnival by Tresind, you are not simply paying for food, but for a “gastronomic experience” of delights, and like no other you have experienced before. The service and hospitality was very good, polite and efficient. I was also happy to see the portion sizes for the appetisers were small but enough, and plentiful for the mains. It is a great venue to celebrate special occasions, though I advise you to book well in advance. By the time we left the restaurant, it was packed to the brim, so make sure to place a booking to avoid disappointment.
Note: I was invited to review the menu of Carnival by Tresind. However, all views expressed above are honest and solely my own.