Tresind doesn’t necessarily offer what you might expect from a restaurant. A progressive Indian fine dining space that twists perceptions and has maintained a strong reputation as one of the best restaurants in Dubai, since its launch two years ago.
Our original experience of Tresind came earlier this year with their Iftar preview. Presenting a menu that quite simply blew us away with its innovation and dedication to upholding the highest standards in quality. Tresind is about more than just food, representing a complete and unrelenting dining experience and one that creates long lasting memories for years to come.
September 2016 hailed the launch of Carnival by Tresind, located just across the busy Sheikh Zayed Road in DIFC. Tresind’s sister restaurant offers up a huge dose of nostalgia, amongst some playful theatrics and quickly became a strong contender as our favourite dining destination of 2016. With the launch of Carnival, one might think that Tresind’s success is waning and that with all the hype surrounding their newer venture that the original Tresind may struggle to compete. This is not the case and Tresind is busier than ever and with Chef Himanshu Saini now running two of Dubai’s most popular restaurants simultaneously. The two distinct venues complement one another and are constantly upping the ante in terms of food and presentation
So, could a second trip to Tresind match the expectations set by our initial visit six months ago? Walking into the space at lunchtime, the restaurant takes on a different appearance by day, far cleaner and clinical than we remember. Chiffon curtains and white leather upholstery set the tone in a space that is light and airy, while the briefest flashes of copper accent the dining room. With all the focus on molecular gastronomy and dinner theatrics, we had forgotten that Tresind is first and foremost a fine dining venue. White gloves, white table clothes and immaculate crockery are what stick in the mind on this occasion, that and the remarkable views of the busy Sheikh Zayed Road below.
Having been invited back to Tresind to preview their winter menu, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Back in the UK – where winters are cold, dark and full of rain – you might expect a winter menu to comprise of warm and hearty foods. Perhaps soups, casseroles and stews. Yet, this is Tresind and nothing comes as you might expect…
Consistency is key and the same levels of attentiveness and detail are presented by the team of enthusiastic staff. Similar to our previous visit, a lone vase stands in the centre of the table. As liquid nitrogen is poured in, a deep mist envelops all, cascading over the tables edge like a misty waterfall and embracing us with a sweet aroma. Once again we are captivated by the charms of Tresind, let the magic begin…
Every meal at Tresind commences with the ‘Deconstructed Pani Puri.‘ A dish that’s prepared for diners at the table and presented in a ceramic spoon to be taken like a shot. A common street food snack throughout the Indian subcontinent, the pani puri here uses spherification to ‘jellify’ any calcium in the flavored pani liquid. A dollop of tamarind chutney is added and then topped with fried puri in a crumbed form. This amuse-bouche is certainly a mouthful but the flavors pop in the mouth, giving way to a cool sensation and then the sweet tamarind to balance the flavors.
Following in quick succession, came the ‘Kadak Pao’ with a house tomato salsa. Similar in concept to an Italian bruschetta, this dish represents a raw cooking style as the ingredients are muddled before you in a pestle and mortar to release the flavors. Served with a hard bread and Indian hummus. Slather or dip, either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Dinner theatrics began to creep into the winter menu with the arrival of the ‘Wild Mushroom Chai.‘ Chai is a very Indian concept but here it’s flipped on its head and presented more like a quintessentially British breakfast tea. Dehydrated mushrooms are first added to the petit china cups, then a sprinkling of truffle milk powder, before the addition of a mushroom consommé (clear soup) from a glass teapot. As the dehydrated mushrooms soften in the hot liquid, they release a rich and earthy flavour, one that is homely and warming and one that we would definately associate with winter.
We weren’t sure what to think when another Italian inspired plate touched down on the table. ‘Baked Burrata Salad With Coriander Pesto‘ is not something you’d necessarily associate with either winter or Indian cuisine. Seasonal produce comes into play here and the light salad, complete with an innovative spray of shorba essence, is both delightful and refreshing. Each mouthful of creamy burrata plays against a burst from the tomato pesto that certainly puts the Tresind-spin onto the notion of salad.
Street food heavily influences this winter menu. With ‘Roasted Baby Corn Bhutta‘ roasted on charcoals at the side of the table. The corn is of a vibrancy quite unlike anything else and we could imagine this dish being a particular favorite in winter weather, as people crowd around the coals in search of warmth and a moorish snack. The coals are oxygenated with a little help from a paper fan, as tiny orange embers crackle and pop (don’t worry, diners are protected by a glass screen). The smell from the charring corn fills the room with a distinct aroma, reminding us of fireworks night and the European festive season. Plated with a garnish of baby radish, micro cress, lemon butter and a peri peri chaat masala, again Tresind are playing with expectations. While the flavors and ingredients may be winter inspired, the finished product has a color scheme and freshness reminiscent of summer.
Surprisingly, it’s not until the arrival of our sixth course that we stray from vegetarian territory. Indian cuisine in general is very vegetarian friendly and we also noted that throughout our entire fifteen courses, we weren’t presented any red meat, which is an impressive feat in itself. ‘Sea Bass Patrapoda‘ arrives on a small grill and is accompanied by curry leaf chutney. Unwrapping the fish from it’s leafy prison, the result inside is one of amazement. The fish is unbelievably soft and retains its delicate nature, while a little heat and subtle flavours are what makes this dish so pleasing. For people who don’t usually eat fish, we would recommend you give this a try. There are no bones and in all honesty, if we’d eaten this with our eyes closed, we could easily have believed it to be chicken.
Theatrics ensue with the arrival of the first meat dish.’Murgh Zamin Doz‘ is a chicken dish that literally means ‘cooked under the earth.’ In this instance the traditional Rajasthani dish has been cooked in the tandoor for a number of hours. Blending the mixture of masala, yogurt and spices into a hearty gravy with a smoky flavour and served with piped mashed potato. This is the hottest dish (in terms of spice levels) that you’re likely to encounter on Tresind’s new menu and one that’s all the better for it.
Moving slightly astray from the Indian and Italian influences, ‘Banarasi Aloo Papad‘ takes inspiration from Mexican cuisine. Presenting a nacho and guacamole dish with a unique Indian twist. Instead of nacho tortillas, the team at tresind present shards of papad. Meanwhile the avocado based guacamole is substituted for wheat and peas. It’s a wonderful combination that my dining companion laughed at, not because of the dish itself but because the only way we could summates it was as an ‘Indian Nacho Garden.’ One minor issue is that the dish is plated with the papad inside the mixture, this causes problems when it comes to eating, as the papad becomes soggy and diners are therefore unable to scoop the mixture. Our suggestion would be to serve the papad on the side. Sure it may not be as visually impressive but it’s certainly more practical.
There’s no fuss surrounding the name of the ‘Butter Poached Prawns.‘ Perhaps there should be? As this was one of our favorite dishes from the new menu. Plump and delicate prawns on a bed of leaves and pimento peppers, were immaculately presented and beautifully balanced in terms of taste. Following the trend set by the Tresind’s Iftar menu, these winter specials are a stripped back affair, sacrificing theatrics for offerings of quality produce and immaculate Indian cookery.
This is the one we’d been waiting for. The ‘Birbal Ki Khichdi‘ seems to be the one dish that everyone is talking about at the moment. Part Indian dal and part Italian risotto, the presentation alone is outstanding. From above, the dish resembles a flower (or perhaps a sun) with each of the petals home to a different ingredient. Each of the fifty eight ingredients are added one by one – banana chips, coconut, mulberry, masala, rose, ginger, chill, pink pepper, coriander, curry leaf, fenugreek (you get the idea). The dish is finished with grated nutmeg and a little water, before being stirred and the beauty of eating it, is that each bite has a completely different flavour and texture. A remarkable dish that can be added to the ‘Hunters Lamb’ as a ‘must have’ menu item for anyone dining at Tresind.
Feeling absolutely stuffed, we could barely manage the ‘Pressure Cooked Chicken Stew.‘ The most obvious winter dish on the menu and probably the one that we enjoyed the least, despite the theatrics of the pressurized steam being released at the table. The combination of chicken, roast potato and carrot has little wow factor and the gravy was a little too watery for our liking. This may be down to personal preference and it’s certainly not a bad dish, it just didn’t excite as much as anything else on the menu. Though the accompaniment of z’atar naan bread was wonderful in it’s blend of Arabic and Indian cuisines.
The ‘Palette Cleanser’ arrived in a wooden egg with the sorbet placed to resemble a yolk. While the dish was the same concept as the one we had during Ramadan, in the winter menu, the Arabic ingridients of saffron and cinnamon have been replaced with that of a lassi. Creating a hit of nostalgia to our travels through India in the summer of 2006.
Tresind’s winter menu presents a trio of fantastic desserts. Whenever we review Indian establishments, we always mention how we’re not a fan of the milky, syrupy and overly sweet desserts associated with the cuisine. Thankfully, the menu in Tresind only displays a little bit of this. We start with ‘Traditional Jalebi‘ wrapped in paper and presented on a traditional scale, complete with weights and overs of jalebi will not be disappointed by the crisp mixture of sugar and flour with it’s typically sticky exterior.
For us, the winner was the ‘Ghewar Mille Feuille‘ a typically Parisian patisserie item that has been give the Tresind twist. Indian flavours abound, as the mousse element derives from pistachio, while the brilliantly red sorbet is flavored with rose. Digging through the milky pastry layers typical of an Indian dessert, a surprise of sliced lychee awaits in the middle. A refreshing interior element that adds an additional texture in a dessert that could well be the most Instgrammed of winter 2016 in Dubai.
Marking the finale of our preview, was the ‘Chini Ka Paratha.’ The perfect dish for winter due to its dense nature reminiscent of hearty home cooked food. The breaded base is topped with scrambled milk, a spun salted caramel nest and adorned with petals. A dish like this goes someway to changing our perceptions of Indian desserts and for that we are grateful.
No trip to Tresind is complete with mentioning the drinks. With the presentation of beverages being just as exceptional as the food, wether you’re drinking cocktails or mocktails. The Ramadan ‘Lava Lamp‘ has been re-tooled for winter and much like the sorbet, relies on the same execution but with different ingredients. The large glass ‘lamp’ is filled with green apple juice and liquid nitrogen. This reaction causes the concoction to bubble and fizz, so when blackberries and red currants (typically winter fruits) are added to the mix, they dance hypnotically like a lava lamp.
The newest mocktail to be launched at Tresind is called ‘Storage.‘ Presented in a wooden box, inside you’ll find a conical flask home to a blend of orange, peach, thyme and blackberries. One that is distinctly refreshing but begins to separate if not consumed quickly. Finally for those drinking alcohol, we indulged in the ‘Cocktail Of The Day’ a fruity blend of pineapple juice, whisky and of course… liquid nitrogen.
The name Tresind derives from the French adjective ‘Très’ meaning very (as in tres bien / very good) and ‘Ind’, an abbreviation of India. The name therefore means ‘Very Indian’ and is a complete summarisation of this unique concept, combining a progressive fine dining approach with traditional Indian cuisine. With pristine attention to detail, Tresind offers a one of a kind experience, that will tease your taste-buds, engage you visually and change any preconceived notions you’ve ever had about Indian cuisine.
Writing about a restaurant twice can often be a bore but not so at Tresind, where you literally want to share your findings with the world and encourage diners to visit. This is a signifier of not just s good restaurant but an exceptional one and with an ever-evolving menu there are always new dishes to entice even the most regular of diners.
We can’t recommend Tresind (or Carnival for that matter) enough… Is it too early to be excited about their summer menu for 2017 already?
The sharing menu at Tresind is available for lunch and dinner daily and costs 400 AED (soft drinks) or 425 AED (with alcohol).
Better still, Tresind have just launched a fantastic lunch menu that runs on weekdays only. For 99 AED diners get the three amuse-bouche, unlimited starters from the menu, three main courses to select from and two dessert choices. For anyone who has always wanted to dine at Tresind but been deterred by the price point, this is a MUST!
Location: Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayad Road, Trade Centre Area, Dubai
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 12pm – 3:30pm / 6:30pm – 11:30pm
Phone: 04 448 9523
We were invited to dine at Tresind. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.