Aamchi Mumbai

It says a lot about the average British curry enthusiast when their heart sinks at the mention of a vegetarian curry restaurant. Sadly, I am one such curry eater. As much as I love authentic Indian samosa, paneer papadi and gobi chapata, the Brit inside me longs for a chicken kadai and even – whisper it – a mind-blowing vindaloo. So it was with mild disappointment that I discovered Aamchi Mumbai on Bank Street is, you could say, an authentic north Indian restaurant. Meat has been banished from the menu, and my date and I were left to contend with a long list of largely unheard-of (unheard of by me, at any rate) vegetarian dishes. It was no wonder, then, that we ordered the easily pronounceable ‘corn basket’ for our starting dish, along with the comically named paneer cheezi kebab (at our friendly waiter’s recommendation). Ironically, we were richly rewarded for our somewhat unadventurous choices. After grazing on popadom and mint dip (wonderfully embellished with chat masala), we were confronted with two fantastically exotic culinary creations. The corn basket could best be described as a hollowed-out samosa, filled with fresh sweetcorn and topped with shredded cheese. The result was an enticing juxtaposition of smooth (courtesy of the cheese), crunchy (the sweetcorn) and soft (samosa) textures that were justly represented with spicy, sweet and creamy flavours. The paneer cheezi kebabs were equally rewarding: minced cottage cheese had been packed tightly with shredded bell peppers and rolled into bite-size, kebab-shaped pieces. My meat angst was quickly forgotten, though my date and I were becoming more and more perturbed by the omnipresence of the waiter, whose friendly chitter-chatter was fast becoming annoying (there’s only so much you can say about the UK tax system mid mouthful). After the striking starters, our mains had much to live up to. Our garrulous waiter had guided us towards the vegetable handi and the paneer garlic masala – my date opting to supplement the latter dish with steamed jasmine rice, while I chose to scoop the handi up with crisp, piping hot garlic naan. Now, there’s no denying that both dishes were perfectly presented and executed, though if anything their full-bodied flavour and multi-tiered textures only served to bring out the British in me and make me long for a chicken breast or mutton chunk to be thrown into the mix. This, of course, is by no means a negative reflection of either curry, which were both excellent in their own right, just a finicky cultural bias that I think it necessary to share. However, those not hindered by such carnivorous appetites – or anyone wanting to experience yet another of Dubai’s authentic Indian gems – are encouraged to visit Aamchi Mumbai. Guests should keep in mind that on a quiet night they will be expected to keep the waiter entertained with small talk – a small price to pay for the quality of the food. The bill (for two) 1x Corn basket Dhs22 1x Cheezi kabab Dhs24 1x Vegetable handi Dhs24 1x Paneer tikka masala Dhs26 1x Naan Dhs6 1x Steamed rice Dhs14 1x Large water Dhs5 Total (excluding service) Dhs121