Review: Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia serves an elevated slice of home
The farthest corners of India call…
The concept of Atrangi, moulded and blown life into by Indian chef extraordinaire and restauranteur Ritu Dalmia, evokes a picture of a small, rudimentary kitchen; a silhouette of comfort and familiarity – your mother or your grandmother, perhaps – and a profile of flavours one would have been raised on. Such is the sentiment behind the menu, but is definitely not the sentiment behind the rest of the experience.
Chic grandmothers beckon
Stepping into the venue, we are met with tall glass walls and low yellow lighting – a surefire way of adding a touch of the upscale to any space. The interiors of Atrangi are stylish – hints of muted glamour in the velvet sofas, the choice of chic emerald green and pops of colour burnt to desired sophistication.
But there are also Indian touches, in the rattan chairs, the eclectic cutlery and the posters along the walls, featuring pop art versions of Indian grandmothers with swagger for days. The cool grandmothers have a purpose – they represent the home-cooked delicacies from the farthest regional corners of the country, recipes that weather the test of time and course of succession in dog-eared notebooks.
Friday night feasting
As we take our seats at a circular table, (there’s nothing I detest more than having to sit more than an arm’s length across from my dinner companion) the staff welcomes us warmly. For our first round of small plates, we order the pickled doodhi carpaccio, the duck galawati kabab, the beef sukka and the kesar tandoori prawns.
The carpaccio is fresh and acidic, with a myriad of textures with the pickled bottle gourd, puffed rice and spiced yoghurt, while the duck galawati is rich, melt-in-your-mouth goodness with a smokiness that doesn’t overpower – the star of the night. The kesar tandoori prawns don’t have any elements of surprise, but are still flavourful and carry a saffron sweetness. The beef sukka is another winner in our opinion – chunks of tart, sweet, spicy, tangy beef, saucy and oh-so-tender. One, we would order again (and again).
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For mains, we go for the kofta with date and cottage cheese, the wagyu beef jadoh and the lemon chicken with mirchi paratha. The lemon chicken has the typical curry-and-flatbread experience, and features a warm and comforting broth that could do with some more lemon. The paratha has a subtle kick – but just the right amount. The beef jadoh is hearty, thanks t0 the strips of meat cooked to perfection and the herb-y rice, a nod to biryani.
Saving the best for last, the kofta is perhaps the only dish some iteration of which we haven’t had elsewhere. The curry is sweet and fragrant and the kofta is creamy and rich, and together they make for a heavy bite that makes a mark.
At this point, we’ve reached the end of our capacity, but dessert is a must. The shahi tukda, second to only the gulab jamun in popularity in the Western world, is sweet, but a step down from the authentic stuff – the sugar rush is missing. The filter kaapi caramel custard is my personal favourite, an amalgamation of coffee and chocolate that just elevates each element.
What’s On Verdict: Fine and frilly – but not enough to alienate you, Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia will take you through the streets of India – food, hospitality, the works – albeit on a very fancy ride.
Atrangi, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Mon to Sun, 12pm to 3pm, 7pm to 11.30pm, Tel: (0) 55 168 0802, @atrangi.dubai