Moombai & Co. has been doing the rounds lately, with the majority of the food influenzas (and a few legit friends!) flocking on down for some free food. I thought I’d give it a few weeks for the insta-hype to die down and took a new acquaintance along on a Monday night to see what the whole “Parsi” thing is all about.
According to Wikipedia, Parsis are a group of Indian followers of an Iranian prophet, so I was expecting a flavoursome, Indian-style affair with a bit of a Persian twist.
Upon entering the restaurant it was a nice surprise to know that they have an expansive outdoor area; they pull-off a luxurious-but-cafe-like feel well inside and the walls are decorated with vintage Parsi movie posters. The terrace area is a bit basic, but does the job in the good weather.
We sat down outside and the jolly host came over and gave us a bit of an intro into the whole Parsi concept. I queried as to whether it was authentic Parsi or made for the wider audience Parsi and he did admit that things are toned down a little for the general public – I appreciated his honesty and perhaps it’s a reason why a couple of my friends, more accustomed to this type of cuisine were left feeling a little flat about their experiences.
While we were thinking about what to order, we were brought over a plate of mini poppadoms with some dips – they actually looked more like prawn crackers but were crispy and tasty with the three dips. It’s always nice to have a bit of a nibble whilst looking at the menu, so it was appreciated by both of us.
I left the power in the hands of our server and he recommended the Keema Pao for me and a Paneer Pao for my vegetarian guest with some Onion Bhajis. My boy, the Paos were good. The bread was executed supremely, deliciously soft inside and tasted fresh out of the oven. The keema was also very flavoursome and my guest enjoyed his paneer. A minor complaint would be that the ratios were way off with the keema, the dish either needs double the amount of pao (which would make it more of a sharing starter) or half the amount of meat (which would make the dish rather expensive) so that could be something that they could address. I hate needless food wastage!
The onion bhajis had a pleasant crisp and were perfect for grazing alongside a Kingfisher beer, reasonably priced at 35 AED for a small bottle.
Next up, I was brought the Chaap Lababdar (marinaded lamb chops) – my favourite dish of the evening. The lamb absolutely melted in the mouth and was packed full of rich spices, an extremely tasty plate of food. Shortly after I’d finished the lamb, my butter chicken curry was brought over and was also very enjoyable with some rice and the tandoori naan. The chicken is also cooked in the clay oven, giving it that delicious, smoky, charr-y taste.
After the mains we tried a couple of desserts but as most of the times when I go to Asian restaurants, I won’t bother reviewing as they just aren’t to my taste! I do try at least!
Overall, it was pleasantly surprising. I’d go back for a curry and to sit out on the terrace no doubt, I can understand why a few traditionalists might resent them “messing with classics”, but I’m ignorant to it all – and to my English tongue, it was good for me!
FOOD: 12/15 – I didn’t have a bad dish so gotta mark it well – it perhaps wasn’t absolutely mindblowing (other than the lamb!) but as somebody who loves Indian food, it ticked my boxes!
SERVICE: 12.5/15 – All the staff we dealt with were efficient and friendly and recommended us appropriate dishes to our needs. Natives to the cuisine is always welcomed in a restaurant and you could tell the passion when describing certain dishes.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3/5 – A decent mix – they have Kingfisher, a perfect beer for a curry and a few cocktails.
AMBIANCE: 2.5/5 – We went mid-week so it was understandably quiet, but the energetic authentic-but-with-an-added-modern-spin music was fun to listen to.
DESIGN: 4/5 – The inside is coolly designed, the terrace could just do with a wee bit of jazzing up to match.
VALUE: 3/5 – I guess this is one objection people have who are native to the cuisine as it is expensive for “street food” but it is in a 5* hotel , the floor below Okku so I can’t imagine their rent is cheap. I’d have been annoyed if the food was crap, but it was enjoyable.
TOTAL: 37/50 – Both my guest (a hotelier) and I commented how pleasantly surprised we were at the efficiency of the staff and quality of food, so ticks all around!
Note: All images were taken from Moombai & Co’s instagram page, as I was with a special guest, and didn’t want to do the whole “wait for your food to go cold while I get a killer shot” thing.