Before I start, I must preface that I am no expert on traditional Indian cuisine – though I am a big fan!
Therefore, to do justice to an incredibly complex cuisine, one as phenomenally diverse socially, geographically, and historically as India’s – I mean, consider there are 415 living “Languages of India”, so can you imagine how many different variations of dishes there must be! – so I necessarily take the outsider’s approach.
La Porte Des Indes blew my mind away!
The decor is stunning in its modernity and good taste – it was not what I was expecting at all for an “Indian” restaurant.
I now realise that La Porte Des Indes is breaking new ground here. Founded in Brussels, and proudly running in London, the third restaurant in the family, at The Address Dubai Mall, pushes the boundaries right from the get-go.
I wasn’t sure I liked it.
I mean, where’s the “Indian”?
I almost went back out to check the name of the restaurant…
However, Chef Vishal Rane set me straight the moment the food hit the table!
You see, stereotypes abound in our mind.
India is both traditional and modern – and it is at the exact point where these two dimensions meet that you can have a snapshot of a country, and hence of a cuisine.
La Porte Des Indes will wrap stunning tastes from the mighty country of India around your senses, and tease with both traditional and fusion creations, from starters to desserts, that you will reach an understanding of that balance between past and future – that place where all stands still, and the mind focuses in complete concentration on the present – on the taste of the now, where stereotypes do not exist anymore.
And I’m not kidding, either – see these masterpieces from their new menu:
Above, Rubiyan Jhinga – marinated tiger prawns with garlic, star anise and coriander, then smoked in the tanoor oven.
Policha Meen – grilled sea bass marinated and enveloped in banana leaf, served with tomato ‘rougail’, a recipe from the house of Madame Blanc, the “Grande Dame” of Pondicherry.
You see, the French maintained ‘a presence’ in the region of Pondicherry for several hundred years, officially leaving only in 1954, and leaving behind that Creole fusion that brings past and future together. The very same stereotype-destroying fusion already mentioned.
And those were the ‘Demoiselles de Pondicherry’ – king scallops in a mild saffron sauce!
Followed by a touch of Foie Gras…
I strongly invite two distinct audiences to knock on La Porte Des Indes (the door of India):
1. I would like the ‘traditional’ born-in-India people to experience this cuisine, because I really feel it will add yet another dimension to your very deep and native understanding of what the Indian identity is – you are both the past and the future of that great country, and in a sense I think you will find yourself in the creations of Chef Vishal… or maybe find a new part of yourself, that you didn’t even know was there! Come with an open mind!
2. And I would like to encourage the non-Indian fan of Indian cuisine, or even the not-yet-a-fan… give it a go if you love it or if you fear it: La Portes Des Indes is booming in London and Brussels so they know what they are doing! I think that you, too, will reach a deeper understanding of Indian cuisine, as I did. Also come with an open mind!
Too much philosophy here! Let’s eat!!!
Guinea Fowl Chettinad, above. And, to the amusement of the Indian who will recognise this as ‘street food’, a beloved snack served at almost every corner back in the home country, and to me a first-time-taster, a revelation of crispy-crunchy delight for my taste buds!
Before I close, a note on the excellent mocktails and juices that we tried: probably the best-tasting we’ve encountered so far! These were clearly mixed by a trained professional.
In conclusion, I am grateful to La Porte Des Indes, because with a very-well executed concept and brand-new menu they have exposed me to an aspect of Indian cuisine that I had not met with before, and that has expanded my appreciation greatly – thank you, I am truly honoured.
La Porte Des Indes is easy to find and access, here is an interactive map: