Copper Chimney

In Mumbai, Copper Chimney has a bit of a following. Known as an informal spot for drool-worthy kebabs and an inexpensive buffet lunch, over the 30 years it’s been in operation, it has garnered its fans. Recently, the restaurant – which serves up rich curries and other Mughal-inspired fare – opened a branch in Emirates Hills. It’s an odd location. You’d imagine that an Indian restaurant with a reputation would set up somewhere like Karama or Deira rather than in the suburban-type ’hood around the Springs. Even more awkward, the venue is inside the town centre, with the windows looking out at the neighbouring Starbucks and Spinneys. In spite of the sterile mall setting, the place manages to have a bit of atmosphere. Nestled next to exposed brick are walls lined with copper pots, and orange pillows line the booths. Overall, the effect is warm and comforting. Though the place wasn’t exactly full when we visited, there were several tables filled, meaning the location didn’t strike others as bizarre as it did us. Then it dawned on us: Emirates Hills could probably use an Indian restaurant such as this – one that’s informal and welcoming. As we stared out of the window at a cute if manic child dressed as Winnie the Pooh, my date and I tucked into a starter of tandoori chicken chaat. The poultry came out shredded and coated in a powerful spice that had me gasping for water. It was a sneaky heat, unassuming at first; I didn’t feel its presence until it was too late. Alas, the heavy spice coating prevented me from actually tasting the dish. The mahi tikka lasooni was more forgiving. Tender, juicy chunks of hammour came swathed in a thick, citrusy paste. I was thankful that these moist morsels offered ingredients I could not only distinguish but appreciate as well. And this is where the Copper Chimney chefs demonstrate their prowess: their spicing is impeccable. The parda subs biryani epitomise this. The veggie-laden rice arrived buried in a floral waft, and my nose was subjected to gentle lashings of jasmine. Of course, the flavour followed suit. The perfumed starch enriched many of the dishes on the table, including the murg hara masala, made with plump nuggets of chicken breast, heavy lashings of garlic and a thick, clotted fenugreek puree. It’s a rich dish with a lot of strong, assertive ingredients; the sweet notes in the rice helping take some of the edge off. When it comes to North Indian food, the meat tends to be the thing, and as such, my date and I couldn’t leave without experiencing a lamb dish. The waiter steered us towards the dhingri kheema, a rich, wet dish made with minced lamb and chunks of mushrooms that were so meaty, I couldn’t always distinguish them from the lamb. By this point, my date and I were so stuffed we could barely move. Naturally, dessert was out of the question on this occasion. While we have no complaints (or few) about the quality of food at Copper Chimney, it could be said that it is a tad pricey. Sure, a couple could fill up for less than Dhs100. But if they’re not careful, they could also spend close to Dhs300. And though Copper Chimney serves up a decent meal, there are venues just as good in Karama for a fraction of the price. If those in the Emirates Hills community don’t mind driving, it might be worth the trip to save a few dirhams. If they don’t mind a slight premium, however, it does make for a relaxed spot to split a curry. The bill (for two) 1x Large bottle water Dhs12 1x Mahi Tikka Lasooni Dhs50 1x Tandoori chicken chaat Dhs32 1x Murg hara masala Dhs45 1x Dhingri kheema Dhs38 1x Parda subz biryani Dhs38 2x Naan Dhs14 Total (excluding service) Dhs229

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