Mint Leaf of London, DIFC

Mint Leaf of London, DIFC

What it’s like: The rather large lounge and restaurant, wrapped around the best part of the 15th floor of the Emirates Financial Towers building, offers panoramic views of the city through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with an open kitchen, competing with this view. The décor is elegant and subdued – not a speck of Indian kitsch in sight – with the themed mint leaf pattern replicated throughout, accented by studio-style spotlights.

While the restaurant is an import of London, thankfully, you don’t get the diluted British version of Indian curries here – you get authentic flavours, given a fun, modern twist which are designed to surprise the palate. So, for example, an amuse bouche of fried cheese balls may look like an arancini, and come served with balsamic reduction, but when you bite into it, it instantly evokes the flavours of a South Indian vada.

Our starters of lasooni chicken tikka (boneless chicken cubes marinated with garlic) and adraki (ginger) lamb chops, plus the maître de-recommended beetroot pudina tikki (mint-flavoured beetroot fritters) were all delicious, recreating classic flavours but with subtlety – no overpowering spices here! For mains we opted for Punjabi chicken masala, which paired perfectly with a paratha, along with another North Indian classic, bhindi do piaza (okra with onions). Our other protein choice was the malai lobster tail – another delicate symphony of the sweetness of seafood perfectly complemented by a hint of spice. Served with cumin potatoes and slightly charred asparagus, it is a complete meal in itself, but tastes equally good accompanied with a bit of fragrant saffron rice.

For dessert, we were tempted to try the creative takes on brownie (with coconut) or crème brulee (in masala chai flavour), but decided to play it safe with an Indian sampler platter – a mini rasmalai, gulab jamun, and rose kulfi, all eternal favourites and done justice to, in these kitchens. But what left us with the sweetest taste in our mouths when leaving were the complimentary paan pannacotta (although it felt more like a paan ice cream), the classic betel nut leaf-flavoured finale to an Indian meal that we were served.

If you want to go: Around Dhs550 for two (without drinks). Call 04-7060900.

Best for:An elegant night out