“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
Guest Foodie: Liya Varghese
In the post-modern Indian experience of Carnival by Tresind, every dish has been derived from a blend of the revival of ancient Indian cooking methods and the memories of the team members attached with every ingredient. It will take you through a journey filled with memories, games, history, desires and numerous other incitements. Every dish in the menu will evoke a memory of whatever you have tasted, learnt, or witnessed over the years – all captured in their truest gastronomic essence and presented on your plate.
Catering to the myriad of cultures that flaunt the bustling corporate hub of DIFC, Carnival by Tresind is a celebration of Indian food, where Indian food comes of age to shed its erstwhile glamorous modern avatar and take leaps ahead to enter the post modern era. Dining at Carnival is a gastronomic fiesta that pushes the boundaries of fine dining to transcend into a nostalgic culinary experience which revokes childhood memories and takes you back to your days of yore.
Getting called by the PR team for reviewing Carnival, I almost squealed with joy! This and Tresind has been within my radar and in my wish list for a very long time. Carnival by Tresind opened in Burj Daman in Dubai International Financial Center around two to three months ago. 5 mins car/ cab ride from DWTC MS (Dubai World Trade Centre Metro Station).
Carnival is a Post – Modern Indian Cuisine which focuses on molecular gastronomy (The application of scientific principles to the understanding and development of food preparation. Molecular gastronomy experiments have resulted in new innovative dishes like hot gelatins, airs, faux caviar, spherical ravioli, crab ice cream and olive oil spiral.)
Walking into Carnival, the first thing I noticed were the beautiful rose gold, lit up copper trees and the velvet seatings. The theme of carnival is very obvious and is shoved in your face – I’m not complaining! Shout out to our amazing server, Vipin (If I’m not mistaken). He came to our table and it was bubbles everywhere!
We were bought our drinks first, after which the 15 course menu followed. My friend was served with Mystery Tea; which was not a tea based drink but had one of the worlds best Vodka, dried raspberries, sweeteners, mystery portion etc making it one of the most interesting drinks I have had in a very long time. While I had a non – alcoholic drink with a mixture of berries! It was delicious. Later in the evening, my friend had a five spice wine and I had a hot orange juice based drink with spices in it as I was coming down with a cold.
We started our evening with Sita Phal – which was from the bread family, which was extremely soft and filled with sweet and sour pumpkin and had a jam like consistency. [3.7/5]
Next, Makhan phal, which was my least favourite among all things I tasted that night. It was a tiny bite of cocao butter hive with avocado cream served on top. To me the dish did not taste like anything much, just a relatively strong sour taste in the avocado lime cream. Beautiful presentation though, with the liquid nitrogen. [1.5/5]
Dal Phulka, was a delicious – innovative way of eating the general daal, rice, chapati.. whatever it may be. The yellow lentil was served in a small coffee cup which had such a beautiful lasting taste of truffle ghee topped with cumin cocoa. I cannot explain how delectable this was. It was served with a crumbly cookie (pulka) on the side. [4.5/5]
Life is short, eat dessert first; this reminded me so much of chaat – just that with a smart addition of jalebi crunch to it. The chickpeas in the dish were perfectly cooked and the yoghurt mousse was just delicious. Try eating this in one go, the burst of flavours from each individual layer and condiments will really blow your mind away. [4.5/5]
Thai’Tanic; don’t you even dare asking me my favourite dish that evening because I am torn apart. Ever had khema pav? So this dish is a lot like it, just that the minced chicken is cooked the thai way with flavorous of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. I was awe struck at this dish as I was expecting a very different flavour all together. [4.5/5]
Pullinji – I think I’m going to come off as a person who is super biased towards the reviews just because I am invited there. But I cannot help it! This dish along with a fish curry which I am going to talk about later on could probably be my favourites of the favourite. So when I cut open this prawn dish, I was a little bit unsure, the coating of the prawns was crunchy and was so flavourful, however the prawn on the inside was plain. But when you have it as a whole.. this will literally make you speechless. Pulinji plays a huge part in South Indian festive food- made with tamarind jaggery and ginger and chillies. [4.7/5]
As I’m allergic to red meat, our server got me fried palak and paneer. Butter paneer with crumbled pieces of paneer was served on a soft – melt in your mouth bread with fried palak on top. A very typical indian dish served in such a fun and innovated way.. I absolutely loved it. [4.5/5]
Was served the Chilli chicken instead of utterly butterly. A very generic malabar chilli chicken with right amount of chilli but a little excessive salt. I wish the salt was a little less which would make this dish taste even better. The dish was served in a small hen look a like tray. Uber cute! [4/5]
Vada Pav was the next on the menu before our smooth transition to the main course. I love it how everything is so over the top and exaggerated here! Makes it so fun! So the vada pav was made for us at our tables and all the condiments for it was in a tool box! The bread was so soft with the right amount of chutneys and spices and well cooked potatoes. A favourite of the mill workers! Kudos to the team to transforming a street side favourite to a fancy dish served. Highly filling! Here is when I actually started feeling fuller and fuller 😛 Little did I know, main course was yet to follow! [4.3/5]
Malai Baraf was basically crushed ice with flavoured syrup, rose water and milk skin. I personally did not find this any great or even necessary. But apparently it was given to us as a palate changer so that we would be ready for our main course.
Main course; Carta Farta is honestly a must try at Carnival. I cannot stress enough on how amazing the Malabar style fish curry was! This and Pulinji Prawns were my most favourite in the entire winter menu. Could be the best fish curry I have ever tasted in my 22 years! This dish consisted Steamed Seabass en papillote, malabar style bouillabaisse, lemon rice. The lemon rice as told by our server went so well with the curry. The Curry came in a plastic packet to contain all the flavours of the fish curry before we devoured it. The fish pieces were made to perfection and was soft and tasted beautiful! [5/5]
Chicken Biryani; not a big fan of biryani but this was quite delicious. Long grains of basmati rice with pieces of chicken and chunky salad on top made it super appealing though by this time we were full beyond words. [4/5]
Gajak; been waiting forever to try out this again, over the top, extravagant dessert from Carnival! Gajak has always been one of my most liked winter sweets. Gajak is a dry sweet made of sesame seeds , and Ground nut, as they are known in Hindi, and jaggery. The til is cooked in sugar syrup and set in thin layers, which can be stored for months.
This dessert was made our of different sauces such as caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, then crunchy peanuts, brownies, ice cream, white chocolate, chocolate soil and so much more. The most fascinating part is not these different things but the whole idea of it being made at your table in front of you! The best part however is when the white chocolate sphere is filled with liquid nitrogen, making it brittle, and then picking it up and breaking the sphere and then adding chocolate sauce to top it all off! There is no way two of you can finish this so don’t even try. Get a group of 5 or 6 to lick your whole table clean – no, really. [4.7/5]
Betels – this was paan flavoured macaroons. I don’t like macaroons in general so needless to say I didn’t like this much either. Not their fault, just not a fan. However, another innovative way of indirectly serving us pan – most Indians finish their meals with a bite of paan.
Palate changer is truly an experience like my server said. It was served with a small bite of the magic berry which you keep in your mouth and not chew it. You swirl it in your mouth for about 30 to 45 secs after which for the next 10 to 15 mins, your taste buds will act loco and all sour things such as lemon and berries etc will taste sweet. No lies there. What sorcery is this! 😛
To conclude my experience at Carnival by Tresind I would not say much.. but just that ‘what a massive molecular gastronomy experience this was!’ How a very simple, generic item is turned into such a fun experience. You know how some places serve you with average tasting food with extraordinary presentation to just make up for their short comings, this is not the case here. The price you’re paying is for a phenomenal experience, amazing hospitality and very palatable and delectable food.
The service was amazing. Not just towards us, but I noticed other servers doing a very good job with other tables as well.
loved; Pullinji, Carta Farta, Gajak
not so much; Makhan Phal, Betels
Reach them:04 2759071
Find them: Podium Level, Burj Daman, DIFC, Dubai
Ambience: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Service: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Pricing: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Eating Experience: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Over All: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦