Tresind is a restaurant that sells itself as a modernist Indian fine dining establishment. The very young and talented Executive Chef Himanshu Saini brings a unique concept in molecular gastronomy to Dubai for the very first time.
When my colleagues and I were searching online for restaurants for our monthly business lunch, we chanced upon Tresind, read about it, and got immensely curious about the combination of molecular gastronomy and Indian cuisine.
Tresind – Very India?
Très (French) – adj. very. e.g. très bien: ‘very’ good
Ind – Abbreviation for India; a country rich in heritage, cuisine and culture
Not in my opinion. To be frank, almost all the fine dining restaurants I’ve tried that serve Indian cuisine do not seem to serve authentic Indian cuisine. You just don’t get that wonderful desi flavor in these fancy restaurants. Mostly, the gravy is bland or sweet.
However, that is not to say that we didn’t like Tresind. We loved it! But it is not very Indian because, well, it isn’t very Indian to add liquid nitrogen to your chaat, or sprinkle flowers on your curry.
Deconstructed Pani Puri – A perfect amuse-bouche
This was a very interesting and unique way to present the all-time favorite street food of the Indian subcontinent – the pani puri or gol gappey. In molecular gastronomy lingo, this process if called spherification.
Introduced in 2003, spherification is a technique that makes use of controlled jellification of a liquid which forms spheres when submerged in a bath. Normally, we’d have the hollow puri filled with the tamarind water. Here, the tamarind water is jellified into spheres and then served with cute, little puris. One bite into that sphere unleashes the familiar (for us regular pani puri eaters) tangy taste of the tamarind water.
We were also served the zatar pav (bread) that was accompanied with pickled olives, hummus with an Indian twist and sun dried tomatoes. Delicious!
The Modernist Chaat Trolley
Truth be told, I came to Tresind to experience the chaat trolley that I have so much heard and read about, and it did not disappoint! All of us at the table were highly fascinated and entertained while the chef prepared our chaat – it was as if he was painting on a blank canvas.
That’s liquid nitrogen and frozen dhokla going into the chaat trolley. Very unusual ingredients for your regular chaat, but I can testify that this had been one of the best chaats I had ever had! The reason it was prepared right next to our table was to ensure that the ingredients remained fresh and crisp. Chaat is made using 2-3 types of chutneys and the ingredients can get soggy pretty fast. Well, we didn’t have that problem at Tresind.
Not a very attractive picture, I admit, but this is called Bhaji Minestrone Soup. This appears to be a modern reinvention of Pav Bhaji, which is classic Indian street-food. This was ordered by my vegetarian colleague so I haven’t tasted it myself, but she claims that it tastes good.
In case you’re interested, Sumati Menda has shared chef Himanshu’s recipe here.
The bhaji minestrone soup was served with toast topped with mock peas and a small cube of feta. Beautiful presentation!
This was my order. It’s called the wild mushroom chai. The soup is poured from a glass teapot into miniature cups, with dehydrated mushrooms instead of tealeaves. Morel mushrooms with truffle oil, two of the rare and very expensive ingredients are used in this soup. My tastebuds were confused after the first few sips, but then the subtle flavors – very earthy and warm – eventually grew on me and I began to enjoy the soup.
Braised lamb chops, aam papad chutney, churan fleur de sel. My favorite! Lamb chops were braised in raw mango chutney and served with compressed raw mango and churan fleur de sel. The meat was rich and tender, and it simply melted in the mouth. I believe I ate the most chops that was served.
Mushroom Galoti. This is finely minced mushroom kebab that had a soft and delicate taste. My colleague ordered this, and I remember spending a lot of time photographing this dish from all possible angles until my colleague finally pulled it out from under the camera lens.
I don’t remember what this was except that this was chicken. Sorry! I’m such an efficient food blogger.
The Palate Cleanser
This is called the khandvi sorbet. Khandvi is a traditional Gujarati snack made of gram flour and yoghurt, then tempered with mustard seeds. I haven’t had khandvi before so I didn’t know what to expect flavor-wise. This khandvi sorbet has a nice, refreshing taste, perfect to clean the palate and prepare it for the next course.
The Main Course:
The lamb biryani. Upon seeing the presentation, one of my colleagues thought this looked like qurbani ke teen hissey. So funny!
I’m very difficult to please, as far as biryani is concerned. Hyderabad, the place famous for its fragrant biryani, has been my city-in-law for so many years now, and I’ve tasted home-cooked biryanis that can never be emulated in a commercial kitchen. Tresind’s biryani failed to impress me.
I ordered this. It’s called the Manglorean fish curry. It’s fish meatballs. It wasn’t love at first taste, but slowly and gradually, I began loving the flavor of the fish and spices. And this fish curry was served with …
Appam! Appam is a fermented rice pancake famous in the South Indian coastal state of Kerala. It complimented the fish curry very well.
Roomali paneer tikka, saffron curry, almond biscotti. Thin slices of paneer rolled with nuts and cooked in the tandoor, served with saffron flavoured pumpkin curry. This is a delicate curry that is mild on the taste buds. Not the typical hot curry that you’d expect.
Chicken pepper fry. This South Indian dish was very delicious and I like how it is served with paper-thin and crispy dosa.
This is butter chicken that another colleague ordered. Sorry, I don’t remember the details on this one.
This is lamb curry, if I remember correctly. I can’t believe I call myself a food blogger!
Aamras. We were totally unprepared for when the chef dipped the beautiful red rose in liquid nitrogen, lifted it out for us to see the frozen petals, and then swiftly, he crushed those petals over the mango purée.
Jalebi caviar 2.0. Isn’t this pretty! You get the traditional, deep-fried orange jalebi, appearing as tiny beads of “caviar” resembling salmon roe floating in a pistachio broth, and then topped with saffron foam.
Doda barfi deconstructed black forest cake. The layers include a base of chocolate “soil”, chocolate cubes, coffee caramel cubes, frozen whipped-cream (using liquid nitrogen, of course!), hot chocolate syrup, and the cherries. We all grabbed our spoons and dug in at the same time. It was so much fun, both watching it being prepared and then eating it later.
As you can tell, this place doesn’t serve your regular Indian cuisine. You can also observe how I can’t recall half of the dishes I ate, and that is because I had been enjoying myself immensely. I was also under the impression that I’d find their menu online and will reference to that later. Turns out, there isn’t a complete menu online. Note to self: bring that small notebook and pen next time.
The staff was very knowledgeable and answered all our food-related queries to our satisfaction.
Level 2, Nassima Royal Hotel,
Sheikh Zayad Road, Trade Centre Area, Dubai
12 Noon to 3:30 PM,
6:30 PM to 11:30 PM
AED 500 for two people (approx)