Art of Spice; Indian Theme Night at Pullman DCC: By Guest Blogger ‘And Then We Moved To’

‘And Then We Moved To’ is a blog written by Mariam Ottimofiore about expat life and of discovering the best bits in each new expat country and location that she lives in. 15 years, 3 continents and 7 countries (US, UK, Germany, Pakistan, Denmark, Singapore, UAE) later, the blog is currently based in Dubai and is committed to showing the best of what this city has to offer.

Keeping in line with CitiSpi’s theme, ‘And Then We Moved To’ knows that as an expat, the key to feeling at home in any new country is to take time to discover it, to explore its best spots and to do so, with friends at your side. Last month, she was excited to be invited to the opening night of the Indian themed night Art of Spice at Medley Restaurant at the Pullman DCC Hotel to sample the North Indian delicacies prepared by celebrity Chef Sweety Singh.

What I knew was that the night would start off with an Indian art exhibition curated by the artist Atul Punase, to be followed by an explosion of Punjabi flavors in a buffet menu at Medley Restaurant, made by the renowned Celebrity Chef Sweety Singh. 

What I didn’t know was that I was about to sample the most diverse and delicious Indian food cooked from the heart, in a very long time. As a first generation Pakistani, my father was born in India, as were all four of my grandparents. North Indian cuisine is what I grew up with, so I was especially curious to see the menu and taste the dishes that were included.

The night started off on a high note when I had the pleasure of meeting the humble Chef himself. As Chef Sweety Singh introduced his food, there was no mistaking his passion for cooking authentic Punjabi food that appealed to a wide palate of taste. What struck me the most was his simple description of the food he had made with “no nuts, no cream, and no color – just pure love.” 

 

Overwhelmed with choice I didn’t know where to start: the amazing looking salad bar, the chaat counter, the kebab station, the traditional lassi counter, the naan station or the main banquet table colorfully decorated with dupattas featuring some of the best Punjabi home-cooked gravies and curries.

I decided to make my way through each of these and here are my verdicts:

The Salad Bar: there was a huge variety of colorful salads and pickles and I tried a few. My favourites were the pomegranate chutney and the aloo chaat (potato salad) which was done very well. 

 

The Chaat Counter: now like most South Asians, I could easily eat only chaat and fill myself up with all the different varieties offered. The live chaat counter included everything you could possibly dream of – pani puri (deep fried bread filled with flavoured water, chutney and vegetables), bhel puri (puffed rice with vegetables and tamarind sauce), dahi puri (deep fried puffy shells stuffed with mashed potatoes and chick peas), and so many more. I tried quite a few and my favorite was the pani puri mixed well with the yoghurt and chutney offering the sweet and sour and the little kick to each bite. 

 

The Lassi counter: Lassi is the ultimate Indian drink, and goes perfectly with the cuisine, since it helps to balance some of the heat and spice, with the cooling taste of yoghurt. I tried their saffron lassi which was delicious and I knew right away that only 1 glass wouldn’t be sufficient, so I would definitely be coming back for more. 

 

The Kebab Station: A must-try, especially for Bar BQ lovers. The fish tikka and chicken tikka were deliciously succulent and well-spiced. 

 

The Starters and the Main Banquet Dishes: Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, you would be spoiled for choice here. The starters included ajwani paneer (a rich tomato-based curry with cottage cheese), which was incredibly soft and so delicious. The mains included the dhaba makhni paneer (butter masala with cottage cheese), sarason ka saag (vegetable dish with mustard leaves and spices), aloo gobi (spiced potato and cauliflower), paneer butter masala, dal shorba (lenti soup), mutter paneer (vegetable curry with peas and cottage cheese), fish curry, butter chicken, biryani and so much more. I tried quite a few of these and they are all tasted straight out a Punjabi home – really delicious and so flavourful indeed. The variety and type of dishes on offer showed me that the Chef had taken great pains to devise a menu that went beyond just your average butter chicken. This was Indian food at its best, truly meant to be enjoyed in all its glory and variety. 

 

The Desert table: I skipped all the Western looking desserts (of which there were many like chocolate mousse, pastries and different looking cakes) and went straight for the traditional deserts. The Rasmalai (cardamom flavoured clotted cream dumplings simmered in milk) and the kheer (rice pudding with cardamom) were my favourites, and unfortunately I was too stuffed to try the gulab jamuns, the meat halwa, the carrot cake, the kulfi ice-cream or the jalebis! 

My overall verdict: This buffet is a definite must-try if you’re a fan of Indian food. Amazingly priced at AED120 per person, I can’t think of a better deal in town. The buffet will definitely be ranked as one of the best I have experienced outside of the Indian sub-continent, and I felt it catered amazingly well to vegetarians and non-vegetarians, to the South Asian palate and to the international palate. The service was prompt and friendly, the ambience truly inviting with the use of Indian artefacts and the food was truly out of this world.

The Art of Spice Indian Buffet is served at Medley Restaurant on Friday nights in the Pullman DCC Hotel in Deira from 7 -11 pm. As the name suggests Medley Restaurant also serves various others cuisines and has different theme nights all through the week (Italian, Thai, and European etc.). Do visit their website for more details or give them a call to book a table. And don’t forget to download the CitiSpi app to find out about any special offers at this venue!