I was gliding in the depths of ignorance up until a year back. To think that Indian cuisine was the most standardized and predictable cuisine – HAH! Imagine the heights of stupidity I was thriving in! It was around then that TresInd happened to me. Followed by Farzi Café. And now by the time Carnival has happened, I have almost started worshipping the Goddess of Indian cooking, combined with the Prophet of molecular gastronomy and the Saints of progressive techniques.

Carnival by TresInd opened its doors to public on September 3rd. Before all that, some of us bloggers got the privilege of visiting the restaurant to try out their 14 course taster menu. I know some of you (Mom, I’m talking especially about you if you are reading this!) would be quick to judge right about now. But let me assure you, there was absolutely no trace of gluttony involved in this scenario. I’ll let the pictures talk portions.

We settling into our seats, drinking in the pleasantly vibrant atmosphere, when our server welcomed us with a…wait for it..BUBBLE MACHINE!! A quick trip to a 3 year old’s park and back. See the video below to know what I’m talking about!

Round 1. Makhanphal.
Indian name for Avocados. That’s your fact for the day! This block of cacao butter hive topped with a luscious swirl of avocado and lime cream came rather dramatically, amidst bellowing white smoke.

Round 2. Happy Halloween.
Why the name? Because pumpkin. I’d have still named it differently, nevertheless, this was an appetizer done well! Mini kulcha stuffed with a sweet and simple pumpkin filling.

Round 3. La Tomatina Beverage Soup.
Quite unsure of this one. A green glass bottle held cold tomato essence called tomato shorba on the inside, and a cheese bread stick at the neck. We are expected to pour the shorba into a cup and sip after taking a bite of the bread stick. Fancy, though I couldn’t figure out the feel.

Round 4. Life is short, eat dessert first.
A sweet-savory combination, starring crispy, yellow jalebis, yoghurt mousse, chickpeas and potatoes. Not a combination you would expect to work out, but hey, expect the unexpected when Indian cuisine goes through a modernistic twist!

Round 5. Malai Barfi.
Litchi granite, raspberry rose water and fresh milk skin. A glorious journey to the childhood days when milk dominated the pedas and sweets we devoured on. Take time to also marvel at the tiny tumbler made of ice that the sweet got served in! In all, a gorgeously presented sweet!

Round 6. Dal Phulka.
One of the best items on the menu. Thick, creamy, aromatic dal transformed into a cappuccino serving. Layered with a generous gleam of truffle ghee and cumin coco, this “drink” is served with a phulka cookie on the side. The perfect comfort drink to make you feel all warm & fuzzy on a cold night!

Round 7. Indian Fried Chicken.
Chicken dressed up as a boondi laddoo. Don’t imagine you have reached the dessert round just yet. This is the Indian fried chicken, which the Chef has succeeded to transform in appearance! Spicy minced chicken is stuffed with cheese and coated with boondi, deep fried and served in a cute little basket.

Round 8. Pullinji.
Where I come from, this item on the menu would be easily associated with sadya or biriyani. But here in Carnival, they have taken the Kerala dish to a whole different, unrecognizable level. What was supposed to be a tangy tamarind and spicy ginger and chilli chutney, have been twisted to form the marinade for some very lucky prawns. Absolutely delicious. A sure call for seconds, if I had things my way! Cocooning the prawns is a very thin curry leaf crisp.

Round 9. “See” Food.
Play on words, as if play on a whole cuisine isn’t enough to capture your attention! Sea food here is scallops that are served on a gorgeous shell platter. Onto this, is poured the fragrant Assam Tea Dashi that drench the scallops and forms the most flavorful bed of broth ever. Topped with chilli threads, this dish had my undivided attention, as I scooped up every drop of that delicious broth!

Round 10. Orangee.
I must confess. Not something we enjoyed. Orangee is an orange and Kashmiri saffron popsicle. It was awkwardly big and too heavy on orange, for my liking. The packaging was nostalgic, though I’m unsure of the hand it came placed on.

Round 11. Mutton Dressed As Lamb.
Funny name for a not so funny dish. A thick juicy mutton galouti chop with lamb jus nihari, served with bread. Presented and served beautifully. Rich in flavors, perfectly done meat.

Round 12. Carta Farta.
Seabass en papillote served in a rich Malabar style bouillabaisse, with a side of lemon rice. For the Malayalee in me, this wasn’t an exotic dish, but tasted like home. The gravy was authentic, packed with flavors and demanded to be enjoyed with the fragrant lemon rice.

Round 13. Go Bananas.
Banana for dessert. Hmmm. For a person who likes to spoon into the thickest part of frosting on the cake, this wasn’t a sweet enough dessert for me. The toffee panacotta helped to go with the slightly thick piece of ilaichi fried bananas. I have a feeling someone with lesser affinity to sweetness might tremendously like this dessert.

Round 14. Kappi.
South Indian filter coffee and caramelized lotus seeds. I read the description and like any south Indian, expected a hot cup of filter coffee with enough froth to make me a nice, thick mush. So…imagine my surprise when THIS got placed in front of me! A chocolatey blob that is so rich in coffee that you could be shocked if you aren’t a coffee lover in particular. The chocolate rested on a pile of chocolate chips. Plain chocolate chips, which I didn’t quite approve of. The wastage (if they indeed threw it away) would be heartbreaking. The lotus seeds were delectable!

FINALE. The Betels.
This is sensational stuff. To adapt the cultural habit of betel flavors and infuse it into the form of macarons! Who would have thought?! The infamous Paan thus took on a note of sophistication and entertained as a glamorous mouth freshener.

The story in short:

Carnival by Tresind is a fine dining restaurant serving modernized Indian cuisine. This means you can expect twists and turns when it comes to many of the dishes you have been accustomed to. While I had a nice time, since all was on the house during the bloggers review, let me switch on my guard and let you know the ones which I liked the best of the lot. That will be : Happy Halloween, Life is short, eat dessert first, Malai Barfi, the See Food broth, Dal Phulka, Pullinji and the Betel macarons.

The pricing story:

Life is short, eat dessert first: Aed 70 (I think that’s a pricy bit if its for a single portion)
Dal Phulka – Aed 61
See Food – Aed 84 (I’ll leave you to judge that)
Pullinji – Aed 108
Mutton dressed as lamb – Aed 138
Carta Farta – Aed 142

If you do visit the place, I’d love to know what you enjoyed the most and how your overall experience was! Do share 🙂

Carnival By Tresind is located in the Podium Level of Burj Daman Building, DIFC, Dubai.
Ph: 04 2759071

Carnival By Tresind Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato