Tresind has set the bar when it comes to Indian dining in Dubai. A post-modern take on the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent achieved via bold flavours combinations, playful plating, innovative beverage pairings and table-side theatrics. Yet none of this results in gimmickry, for the food is front and centre at the Tresind experience.
Having broken down barriers when it comes to the perception of Indian fine-dining, each new menu (or season) is curated by culinary mastermind Himanshu Saini and has allowed the restaurant to reinvent itself, upping the ante on each occasion to a point where it felt as if there was nowhere left to go for the popular dining spot in the Nassima Royal Hotel.
Following a refurbishment during the summer of 2018, which lets be honest, brought life to what was a relatively non-nondescript space in its previous guise, Tresind is back with a surprise! Situated at the rear of the restaurant lies a white and unassuming door, behind which lies Tresind Studio, a twenty-seater private dining room in which Chef Himanshu and his army of proficient staff have created a dining experience quite unlike anything else.
The notion of an intimate Chef’s table is by no means new for Dubai but while previous projects such as the remarkable ‘Experience by Reif Othman’ have since shut up shop, Tresind Studio takes the baton and runs with it! With rumors of Michelin looking towards Dubai in 2019, it’s only a matter of time before Tresind and its sister restaurant Carnival are recognised on an international level.
Entering into the compact studio the feel is very different to that of the main restaurant space. White walls gives the impression of an art gallery, allowing the food to remain the focus at all times, though pops of colour can be found in the yellow upholstery and the skyline views of the Sheikh Zayed Road and the towering remains of its skyscrapers.
Chapter One: The Journey is the name given the 16-course tasting menu that has been developed to launch Tresind Studio, reinventing some of the classic dishes from both Tresind and Carnival, while also adding some exciting new additions into the mix. It wouldn’t be Tresind without a unique take on pani puri and the first course reinterprets the dish from Carnival’s third season, presenting a multi-textured dish in a bowl constructed from ice, bursting with flavours and elevated by just a touch of sweetness via the inclusion of tamarind.
While Indian cuisine is renowned for bread, the only time it appears at Tresind Studio is with the arrival of the second course, a small disc of crisp chickpea roti accompanied by a quenelle of freshly churned butter that is simplicity at its best. The bread course is followed in quick succession by chaat, a complete surprise given how many times popular street food snack has been re-interpreted, refined and presented to Tresind’s guests over the years. This time around it’s in the form of canapé sized tartlets presented on a striking gold plate, which are both bold in terms of flavour and visual presentation.
Chef’s Himanshu’s mushroom chai is easily one of his most popular creations (it still remains our favorite dish) and the dish which was formerly served out of a porcelain teapot like a cup of chai has been improved even further within the confines of the studio. This time we’re treated to a mushroom stuffed ravioli served with a rich and flavoursome mushroom consommé that we can easily see making it onto our list of 2018’s best dishes (watch this space…)
The white-fleshed John Dory forms the basis of the fish courses and is served upon a rice cracker to represent the traditional Indian dish of rice and fish, while the cracker brings a nice texture, it’s the punchy accompaniment of mustard that really brings this course together. A Goan preparation of curried chicken follows next, presented upon a lightly tempura’d shisho leaf before segueing into course seven, a delightful combination of prawn, watermelon and feta cheese that presents a slight floral element from the marigold into this South Indian rasam soup made with clarified butter.
Course eight is another highlight and brings together a black pepper lamb chop served alongside a guacamole stuffed dosa, with yellow gunpowder and curry leaf powder. The tender tandoor cooked lamb slathered in a black pepper masala is a dish that has really made its mark and has already become a firm favourite since Tresind Studio’s inception.
An exciting palate cleanser brings the underused ingredient of buckthorn to the fore, served inside scallop shells on-top of a chunk of coral and adorned with popping candy, the dish does more than neutralize the palate, it becomes a talking point throughout the restaurant and it’s pleasing to note the gasps of delight as a course like this touches down on each diners table, re-emphasising the fact that food is emotive.
Colour combinations come into play with the arrival a Wagyu steak accompanied by a tasting of five curries, meaning each bite presents a different range of flavours, though it must be said that we found this course to be the least honed, with two of the curries being quite forgettable.
The eleventh course is the final savoury course and while we’d become accustomed to table-side plating during the dining experience, we were personally invited into Chef Himanshu’s kitchen for this particular show-stopper. The khichdi is a rice and lentil dish eaten through India and here the team pay homage to India’s National Dish. Presented upon a visual representation of the country, lie twenty-nine individual ingredients (one for each state) that are explained before being added into the hearty khichdi mix, providing diners with not only a vast range of spices and flavours but an education in Indian geography and cuisine at the same time.
Our pre-dessert of coconut pudding and pineapple carpaccio feels almost ceremonial and is presented Thali-style upon a banana leaf alongside poppadom crisps and a savoury pickle. The unexpected flavor combinations could result in a divisive dish for diners but for us it was truly appreciated. The chocolate and cherry dish that follows is a crowd-favourite and a re-invented version of Tresind’s black forest dessert.
A trio of desserts end the meal in a playful fashion with a sweet saffron and milk cake served beneath a camera lens that allows diners to magnify the dish. We were then treated to a wooden box stuffed with delightful petit fours (if you only have room for one make it the paan bonbon) providing an accompaniment to the final course of tea, served from an ornate silver urn – the choice of blends is seemingly endless.
Service has always been a strong point at Tresind and here inside Chef Himanshu’s Willy Wonker-esque Studio, much like the food, the service has been taken up a notch. Staff are attentive and friendly and the result is one of the most well-rounded dining experiences you can have in the city. The price point is even more impressive, priced at AED 450 for the vegetarian menu and AED 475 for the non-vegetarian menu Tresind Studio also represents exceptional value for money.
The private chef’s table represents the natural evolution for the Tresind brand and with reservations for a space in the intimate Studio in high-demand, dining at Tresind has once again become an event. The sheer delight on diners faces with the arrival of each course must fill the team with sheer delight, yet it’s the precision, intimacy and innovation that should be commended. For such an exclusive dining experience we’re left with a feeling of inclusion rather than pretension which is rare for a city like Dubai. With the expansion of group owner Buphender Nath’s Tresind concept having recently opened in Mumbai, we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next…
Out & About UAE were guests of Tresind Studio. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.