Did you know that the world’s largest pepper mill can be found in an Indian restaurant in Dubai? Yep, this very tall pepper mill sits proudly inside a restaurant called, you guessed it, the Peppermill, that prides itself in serving colonial-Indian era cuisine.
The Location and First Impressions:
This fine dining restaurant is located in the most unexpected place: tucked away in the corner of a two-story mall, next to a supermarket. “Are you sure?” ask my colleagues upon learning that Peppermill is situated besides Lulu Hypermarket in Al Barsha. However, once you step inside the restaurant you will be instantly transported back in time, and you’ll forget all about the supermarket.
We arrive for lunch on a weekday, without prior reservations. A charming lady welcomes us with a bright smile, and as she leads us to one of the cabins, we walk through history basked in the soft glow of the golden lights: the dark wooden floor, ottomans wrapped in colorful fabric, pictures of nawabs and rajas of India, pretty candle holders and other antique artifacts, and ceiling fans.
There are two options when it comes to the seating arrangements: the regular chairs and tables in the main dining area, and cabins draped with curtains, providing some sort of privacy. We immediately choose the cabin, and here are pictures to show you why:
How could we not feel like royalty dining in a setting like that?
The Food and Drinks
What is a colonial-Indian era cuisine? From the restaurant’s website:
“The British Raj was in awe of the amazing spices that India had to offer, specifically the pepper, which was grown on the coast of Malabar and was considered as the master spice. During the various invasions of India, with each new ruler and with each new invader, Indian cuisine changed. You can taste the hints of all these flavors in our cuisine at Peppermill. Sometimes if feels a bit Turkish, and there are some spices which invoke memories of the Greeks. There are hints of French, Portuguese, Arabic, and of course, British flavors in all the dishes that we serve here at Peppermill.”
Colorful condiments: delicate onion slices, sweet and sour papaya slivers, lemon pickle, and yogurt-mint dip.
The staff is knowledgeable about the food that they serve, and this truly helps us in deciding what to order. We are impressed that the waiter assigned to our table knows the ingredients used in each dish. Once our orders are taken, complimentary papad is served. The thin, crispy crackers keep us occupied while the chef prepares our meal.
For starters, we order Dhum Corn, simmered tender corn-on-the-cob with a hint of butter. AED 15
Murg Malai Kebab, chicken marinated with cashewnuts, yoghurt and green chillies cooked in tandoor oven. This is pretty mild and did not succeed in tickling our taste buds. AED 45
Badshah’s Delight. Chicken breast stuffed with almonds, apricots, cheddar cheese, bell peppers and spices braised in curry sauce. This is what the waiter suggests when I ask him to recommend something that doesn’t contain turmeric. I like this the most. It’s creamy, mildly spiced, with melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken pieces. However, now that I’m checking their website out, I notice that the Badshah’s Delight looks entirely different! I now wonder if the picture above is actually malai makkhani. AED 45
Murgh Biryani. Boneless pieces of chicken infused with spices and herbs steamed to perfection with long grain basmati rice, saffron and topped with onions and fresh mint. I do not eat this, but the Hyderabadi husband said it’s good. AED 48
We also order garlic and butter naan, which arrive on our table warm and fresh from the tandoor. My mouth is watering just thinking about these soft heavenly bread! AED 8 each.
For drinks we order banana-strawberry lassi and saffron-rose lassi. Both are really good, and I highly recommend them. However, remember that they’re heavy and if you drink them before the food arrives, you won’t be able to eat anything. AED 14 each.
Shahi Tukra. Toasted raisin brioche topped with saffron pistachio ice cream and pistachio biscotti. The presentation is really impressive! I’ve never eaten a shahi tukra with ice cream before, and this combo is really interesting. This dessert is too sweet, and I think that two to three people can easily share a serving of this. AED 18
Desi Tiramisu. Coffee flavoured Ras Malai layered with vanilla mascarponeand dusted cocoa powder. I love this! As expected with tiramisu, this is bitter-sweet in just the right way. I enjoy it so much that I forget to photograph it. The picture above is taken off Peppermill’s Facebook page. AED 32
The World’s Largest Pepper Mill:
The world’s biggest pepper mill, standing tall at 13.5 metres. Behind it are around 75-odd pepper mills from across the world gracing a wall of the restaurant.
If you are looking for a place to experience Indian cuisine for the first time, want to try something mild yet flavorful curries and kababs, or have friends and visitors you want to impress, Peppermill is the restaurant. The friendly staff will gladly tell you a bit about the place or the huge pepper mill, and will even offer to take your pictures!
You can also read Geordie Armani’s review of Peppermill here.
First floor, Lulu Hypermarket Al Barsha