Shahjahan

Culinary folklore dictates you shouldn’t trust the restaurant tout standing outside with a menu – and never follow him inside. It’s a lesson that every tourist (the world over) learns, and has become a universal truth among restaurant-goers. So imagine my anxiety when the path to Shahjahan appeared to be littered by menu-toting touts. In reality, there can’t have been more than two waiters, yet my guest and I appeared to cross paths with them more than once as they followed potential punters around, making it feel as though they were everywhere. Granted, it’s a long and winding walk from the Habtoor Grand’s main entrance to Shahjahan’s door. Even so, I thought, this can’t bode well. The interior was a simple and unobtrusive setup of dark wood and saffron-coloured curtains. Yet considering the restaurant was newly opened, it seemed strange that Shahjahan had already managed to acquire the sort of dated, jaded-looking decor that usually comes with impressive levels of authenticity at some of the older spots in Deira. Even at first glance, the menu made an impact: my guest used the words ‘wow’ and ‘pricey’ within seconds of opening it. Shahjahan specialises in royal-style Indian cooking, known as Mughlai. Presented, as it was, as a supremely premium product, perhaps the high prices were to be expected. Nevertheless, the menu also made a negative first impression on me: it was long, unwieldy and unending, to the extent that once we’d chosen a dish, we could barely remember where we’d seen it or what it was. We shared a starter of bharwan aloo (potatoes stuffed with nuts, raisins and paneer), which arrived with some ceremony as it sizzled on the hot plate, before being ladled onto our plates rather elegantly by our waiter. Unfortunately, it was a little too sweet and cloying – my guest (half-)joked that it tasted like instant mashed potato. Our main courses arrived and again, every item was graciously dealt out. We’d been keen to try the exciting-sounding okra dish made with dried mango, but the waiter was insistent that we shouldn’t pass up on the murgh makhanwala (butter chicken), and eventually we relented. When the butter chicken arrived, a familiar aroma hit me; I realised it smelled just like Heinz tomato soup – and tasted just like it too. It was indeed very smooth, buttery and rich, but it was nothing special. The badami gosht (lamb with coconut and almonds) also looked and tasted average, and the meat was pretty tough. On the other hand, the baigan bharta (roasted aubergine) was a winner, a rustically textured yet creamy paste with plenty of garlicky flavour. The final judgement came courtesy of my guest: ‘I could get this sort of thing at my local takeaway – only much cheaper.’ The waiters took the plates away as stylishly as they had arrived. By this stage, it had become a little laughable: one waiter bent back deftly, as if he was playing limbo, in an effort to take all the plates without moving his feet. There was an uncomfortable look of disappointment on the waiter’s face when we declined another bottle of water, and then dessert. It had a slight whiff of desperation about it that made me feel uneasy, and almost a little guilty. Considering how far this restaurant is from the front of the hotel, we were rather unpleasantly surprised when the hotel receptionist refused to stamp my guest’s valet parking ticket, in a rather rude and abrupt manner. For some, this might have soured a great dinner. For us, it was only the icing on a disappointing cake. The bill (for two) 1x Murgh makhanwala Dhs90 1x Badami gosht Dhs90 1x Baigan bharta Dhs55 1x Plain rice Dhs25 1x Masala kulcha Dhs30 1x Bharwan aloo Dhs45 2x Large water Dhs50 Total (including service) Dhs385

Places Near Shahjahan

Grand Grill Bar
Grand Grill Bar

A great find, this outdoor bar at the Habtoor Grand’s South African steakhouse is the perfect destin...

i2
i2

Before it was forced to shut with the closure of the Metropolitan Hotel, I2 was renowned as an alter...

Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai
Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai

Villa Romana is the latest in a slew of über-exclusive European club brands to arrive, franchised...

XL Dubai
XL Dubai

In Dubai, bigger means better, which is probably why the Habtoor Grand’s beach club is called XL. No...

Al Basha
Al Basha

The sun beamed its brilliance onto the terrace from an azure sky. Birds twittered in the trees and c...

Fish Bazaar
Fish Bazaar

As I meandered towards Fish Bazaar, through the twinkling fairy lights of the Habtoor Grand gardens,...

Luciano’s
Luciano’s

From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2010Luciano’s isn’t as good a restaurant as it thinks it is. A ‘pools...

Summer Place
Summer Place

It’s never advisable to tinker with the ingredients of a tried-and-tested recipe – an extra dash of...

Elixir Spa & Health Club
Elixir Spa & Health Club

Enter Elixir at the Marina-based Habtoor Grand hotel and you’ll find six treatment rooms, a dry floa...

Fish Bazaar and Salamar
Fish Bazaar and Salamar

Fish Bazaar is located amongst an oasis of palm trees, this beach facing traditional Thai restaurant...

Al Manara
Al Manara

Al Manara is the resort’s relaxed beachside bar with chilled beverages and snacks to keep you satisf...

The Underground Pub - Habtoor Grand
The Underground Pub - Habtoor Grand

The Underground Pub is open and moving fast! A lively meeting place in the style of the Metropolitan...

The Underground Pub
The Underground Pub

The underground resonates to the vibrant beat of London and is just the ticket for an evening ride....

Horizon Lounge
Horizon Lounge

Prepare to broaden your Horizons with breathtaking, unobstructed views of the Gulf. The Horizon Loun...

Salamar Restaurant Bar
Salamar Restaurant Bar

Immerse yourself in the lush tropical gardens surrounding Salamar Garden Lounge & Bar. A hidden gem...