Last week, I visited a restaurant and café nestled in the brand new community of Bay Square, in Business Bay Dubai. “Tableya introduces Street Gastrologue! Inspired by street condiments, Tableya the latest crave quencher in town will bring to you a menu that is not yet experienced by the epicureans of UAE.” Being a fan of street food, especially of the Indian variety, this place was a must-visit for me. The restaurant promises to combine Indian street food with Arabic inspiration, and this is clearly reflected in their menu.
As you approach Tableya, it is clear that their aim is not to be a Fine Dining restaurant. Providing plenty of space for Sheesha outside, the restaurant is split in two sections; one half for smokers and the other half for non smokers. The smokers area is more like a lounge (pictured above), beautifully decorated with prints and has a very chilled vibe to it. The neighbouring non smoker area (pictured below) is very much like a café in India, with rustic and once again relaxed vibes.
After a quick nibble of the Zaatar bread sticks that were brought to the table, the starters were served. The presentation of every single dish was outstanding and it was clear to see that Chef Radi Manoj has put his heart and soul into each plate. Honestly speaking, for a place that gave off such relaxed casual vibes, I was not expecting the food to be of such high fine dining quality, and each dish was an absolute pleasure!
Amuse Bouche. To be eaten all in one go, this was a mouthful of chaat with plenty of crunch. The perfect first bite!
Paani Puri Shots. Served with 5 waters, the first two being the traditional spicy water and sweet water, and both I love. This is followed by pineapple water and pomegranate water, both of which were rather too tangy for my taste. The last was the Lassi, a blend of yoghurt, water and spices, and was deliciously sweet against the crunch of the puri.
Warm Baba-Ghanoush Cornetto, with Tahini Cream and Churan Foam. So beautifully presented in a mini truck, which Master Z loved, and one of the very cleverly put together starters. The spice of the filling was balanced out by the “cornetto” cup.
Steamed Chicken Momos with Thokku Hollandaise, mulgapodi. I wasn’t a huge fan of these momos, because personally I felt there was far more of the Momos than there was chicken filling. The flavours did not suit me as well as the other starter dishes, so this would probably have to be my least favourite.
Hanging wada-pop, trio chutney. Chef Radi has really pulled it out of the bag with this one! Bite sized portions of the famous street dish of Mumbai, vada pau, and presented so creatively, this dish was a pleasure not just for the stomach but also the eyes.
Tempura Tapak Maaz, rogan-josh glaze, mooli akhrot ki chutney. This was my favourite dish from ALL the starters by far since I am a huge fan of Tempura. The mix of sweet and spice, unusually combined with lamb chops, is just mind blowing.
Butter Chicken Kulchas. Once again served in an extravagant fashion, these Kulchas were filled with a no brainier favourite that is Butter Chicken and ever so soft to bite into.
Turkish Labnah Kebob, gorkari chilli sauce. What’s not to love about cheesy balls served with a tangy sauce?
King Prawns. I would suggest you get stuck in with your hands for this one, because it was rather difficult to remove the prawn flesh with a mere fork. In terms of taste though, with a generous layer of spicy chutney, and being a huge fan of prawns, this dish was lapped up in no time!
And those were only the starters! After enjoying all the starter dishes, Chef Radi came over for a chat so we could get to know a little more about the thinking behind each dish. Though he wanted to be experimental with his presentation, Chef Radi was adamant to not take anything away from the flavour, and thus his main aim was to serve delicious food above anything else.
We proceeded to enjoy three main courses, as pictured below.
Butter Chicken with Butter Naan. A popular Indian dish, cooked to perfection.
Lamb Shank Shuwa, mixed berries Pilaf, smoked desi ghee. With lamb cooked for 7 hours, it was no surprise that the meat simply fell og the bone without any effort and was so incredibly tender. This had to be mine and Mr Z’s favourite main dish of the night.
Smoked Butter Dal. Yet another slow cooked meal, this time with 36 hours, these lentils tempered with butter and smoked with charcoal, makes for a hearty dish that reminds you of your mother’s home cooked food, though she never served it to you in a well! Paired with fresh soft naan bread, it is the perfect dish on a cool winter’s day.
It will come as no surprise that by this point we were absolutely stuffed, but being the sweet toothed person that I am, I can always find ways to indulge in dessert. The show put on by Tableya’s Chef did not stop there as he very excitedly brought forward two sharing platters of absolute heaven!
Citrus Garden. Mandarin Gulab Jamun, Passion Fruit Rasgulla, Mango Rasmalai, candid orange discs, lemon curd and tangerine pistachio moss. This was not dessert. It was a piece of art. Be warned, this combination may be too sweet for some, as was the way for my husband who was not a huge fan of the passion fruit rasgulla. I, on the other hand, absolutely loved the piercing sweetness that makes your mouth curl with a single bite. However, the Gulab Jamun and Rasmalai, we both enjoyed equally, and though we claimed to be stuffed a few minutes ago, this dish was polished off by both of us in no time.
Kunafa Cheesecake. Another stroke of genuis by Chef Radi – Garnished with a sesame sugar glass, the soft and cheesy centre is one for those that prefer their desserts not to be sickly sweet.
Our Experience Overall
Walking in, I was not expecting to be hit with this level of molecular gastronomy, which is why I love this place even more. The venue is so relaxed and casual, but none of this takes away from the quality of food which is equal to that of a fine dining restaurant. What is even more surprising is the price range, as prices for the dishes are predominantly in the AED 20 – 50 range, making this a very affordable option indeed! Since Tableya is in the early stages of exploring a new menu, there are plenty more dishes to come, as well as a range of equally delightful and experimental drinks. In terms of being family friendly, I think more can be done in this respect, if they wish to target this market. However, if you are looking for a casual setting to dine with your friends, I am sure Tableya will soon be the hottest place to be.
Note: I was invited to review Tableya Restaurant. However, all views and opinions expressed above are honest and solely my own.