I’m reliably informed that Hitchki is currently the hottest restaurant-bar in Mumbai and being somebody with the finger on the pulse of the Dubai food scene (I’m not at all – I was just invited) I thought I’d drop by their pop-up in Bazxar after traipsing through Dubai Mall for two hours, ogling all the items in West Elm that I can’t afford to buy.
I’ve got a tarnished relationship with Bazxar after experiencing a car-crash of a brunch during my magazine writing days, but I’m a sucker for a bit of good, Indian street food and I was well overdue a catch up with a mate who invited me, so it was a perfect excuse to see why it’s creating a buzz back in India.
Hitchki means hiccup in Urdu and Hindi – I’m on the fence with this name, but I guess it’s better than dakaar or khansi (a bit of humour there for my Hindi/Urdu speaking visitors!). As well as their street food, they’re famous for their cocktails, so it was only right I gave their signature “Geeta Babita“ a try; it came looking like an innocent cosmo, but tasted like the balls of Satan – salty and fiery with huge hits of various Indian spices. After the initial shock of it, it actually didn’t go down too badly. I wouldn’t order another, but I could see it appealing to people who are accustomed to generally more spicy cuisine and are fortunate enough to not suffer from heartburn.
On to the grub. I don’t often get lamb at an Indian place, so I thought I’d give their hilariously titled, “Charlie Chapli Kebab” a go. I liked it! It had a nice kick, the lamb was extremely tender and was lovely dipped into the Thecha Mayo. The crispy potatoes (aka. crisps/potato chips depending on what side of the pond you’re on) were a nice touch with the dip too.
I like a nice paneer, so not-knowing-what-the-hell-Bhatti-Ka means (it’s the oven it’s made in apparently!) didn’t put me off. Sadly, I don’t have any beautifully constructed PR images of this dish, but it was just as good as the kebab. The pit-roasted technique made them delectably smoky and flavoursome.
After the starters, I chose the Manglorean Chicken Curry that was served with a delicious flatbread. To the absolute disgust of my fellow diner, I ate it in the traditional manner – scooping up the chicken with the bread and my saucy (not that saucy) fingers into it – not a fork in sight (do as the Romans do I say!). Again, it produced the goods; rich and creamy due to the coconut milk, the chicken tender and smoky and the bread crispy and full of greasy-goodness. The ghee rice was fantastic as well – oh so calorific, but oh so good.
Admittedly, I didn’t sample a huge portion of the menu but the bits I tried were really good. The restaurant was packed at the time of arrival, and there seemed to be a large majority of Indian nationals around that seemed to be enjoying the traditional foods from their home country – which is always good when you’re at a restaurant touting “authenticity”. It is just a pop up in the current Baxzar, and it won’t be around forever – so I’d definitely say give it a go whilst it’s there!
FOOD: 12.5/15 – I enjoyed all the dishes, nice and spicy and the proteins captured the flavours infused by the cooking methods well.
SERVICE: 11/15 – Mostly good, but was a little vexed when a staff member saw my reaction to the first sip of the cocktail and arrogantly exclaimed “you obviously are not familiar with Indian spices” – I should hope so mate, I am a food writer. D’oh.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3/5 – Nothing particularly mind-blowing about their signature cocktails, but at least they’re there – got the standard beers, wines and spirits.
AMBIANCE: 4/5 – The place was full of happy diners. The loud music may put off some punters if they’re wanting a nice discussion, but it didn’t spoil my evening.
DESIGN: 3.5/5 – It’s pretty cool with comfy furniture. Has a high-end, rustic feel.
VALUE: 2.5/5 – For street food it’s kinda expensive. 48 AED for the kebab starter is excessive but then again, 55 AED for the curry isn’t so much more than you’d pay from a curry house and it is licensed, in a notoriously expensive location.
CONCLUSION: Like Indian food? Definitely pop in if you’re in the area for a couple of beers after work and some tasty grub!