One of Mumbai’s top restaurants opens in Dubai, but does it live up to the hype?

It’s safe to say that outside of the Indian subcontinent, Dubai is one of the curry capitals of the world. In fact, we have a friend from Udaipur who swears he had the best south Indian meal of his life right here in the UAE (at the Spinneys mall on Al Wasl, no less).

So, cracking the market of curries and spice-filled food is a tough ask in this city, but it’s a challenge that new restaurant Khyber is keen to take on.

You’ll find Khyber in British hotel Dukes Dubai, and if you’re from Mumbai you’ll have heard of the brand (the Khyber in Mumbai has fed the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Richard Gere).

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The restaurant is spread over one floor of the hotel and has a bar area, a terrace, many seating booths and a huge private dining room, which is a great option for big groups that want complete seclusion.

It specialises in food from the northwest of the subcontinent, near the Khyber Pass.

The food is excellent – and while the flavours are very good in many other Dubai Indian restaurants, the flavours here are better rounded. Not a single spice powder is used in its kitchen. Instead, everything is ground, pounded and fried from scratch.

Order the fragrant reshmi prawns (Dhs115) and the coriander-coated, perfectly cooked lamb chops (Dhs105) from the tandoor. Another must-have are the pleasantly bitter and punchy corn patties, or makai ki tikki (Dhs40) – the mix of cumin and green chillies makes these far more interesting than your average corn fritter.

A surprising favourite was the butter chicken (Dhs105) – this wasn’t your usual tomato soup-like disappointment. The boneless tandoori chicken-filled curry has a variety of spice that makes the mouth tingle.

The vegetarian standout was the shahi kofta (Dhs95) – the cottage-cheese dumplings were silky soft, and the levels of cardamom in the cashew gravy added interest without being overpowering.

Other top tips: order the delicious coconut and lime lassi (Dhs40) and make sure to eat the lime pickle with the poppadoms. It’s a flavour explosion.

We left Khyber stuffed to the brim with paratha and grills, pleasantly surprised by the food and making mental note of the private dining room for the next time we’re planning a birthday bash.

Khyber’s food has managed to make a name for itself in Mumbai – a city fairly well covered when it comes to Indian restaurants – so maybe it has a shot on Palm Jumeirah, too.

Dukes Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 5pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 455 1111. Taxi: Dukes Hotel.