All you need to know about Rang Mahal at JW Marriot Marquis
Chef Atul Kochhar is famous for his Michelin-starred London restaurant Benares, but his first Dubai venture was a fast-food restaurant, Zafran. Kochhar parted ways with Zafran early last year, but he helped build it into something that, for the price, offers superb food.
Now, with Rang Mahal, located in the biggest Dubai opening of 2012 – literally, it is the world’s tallest hotel – the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Kochhar is going up against two fellow celeb chefs who have taken Indian cuisine in Dubai to a new level – Vineet Bhatia and Sanjeev Kapoor.
Rang Mahal’s high ceilings, dark wood floors, gold and red murals and carved pillars make it one of the more impressive interiors we’ve seen this year, and the addition of a bar and lounge suggests that it is looking to replicate the success of restaurant/bar concepts such as Zuma. The restaurant was full on the Thursday night we visited. A good sign.
But does the food and ingenious spicing match the mastery of the delicate European-style plates of Vineet Bhatia. In one word: yes.
We ordered the “Grazing” menu: three sets of three savoury dishes and three desserts. There were so many dishes and flavours that remembering them all is impossible, but we’ll give it a go. All you really need to know is that the expert spicing and intricate presentation were testament to an extremely talented kitchen team.
First up were a sweet sprouted moth bean and prawn salad, a rich tomato chaat and a dish of gently spiced aubergine and burrata. Then came salmon that had been marinated in mustard to give it a bit of zing, moist chicken tikka and garlicky Kashmiri minced lamb kebabs, followed by a final savoury course of buttery chicken tikka, a sea bass curry and a small pot of creamy, slow-cooked lamb curry.
For dessert, there was a rich chocolate delice, ice cream flavoured with betel leaf, or paan, to aid digestion, and sweet rosewater dumplings, or gulab jamun. It was quite a journey. Book your tickets now.