Gharana is an Indian Restaurant positioned in the heart of the Holiday Inn Hotel, Al Barsha, Dubai. Gharana conjures up images of home – home in different parts of India, home to the musical elite, home to regional rhythms and ragas, home to the diverse musical notes. Gharana boasts of the fact that diners will have an opportunity to experience and enjoy the finest Indian food with the finest music.
Once you enter the restaurant, you will immediately have the feeling that you are in one of the cities in India. I have been to one before and I felt the same authenticity in the restaurant as it was in Hyderabad. The restaurant had this warm and intimate atmosphere complete with dim lights and soothing music. They said that in order to enjoy the food, you need good music in the background. It was true because as me and my friends were talking, we didn’t feel that the band was too loud so we still enjoyed our conversation.
I noticed that there were two prominent tables in the middle and I just had to ask about it. The manager, Ramesh explained to us that the bigger one is the Maharani or the King’s table and the Maharaja, the Queen’s. We opted to sit in the queen’s table as we are a small group and so we are closer to the band. They were singing Indian songs and hymns and even though we didn’t understand the words, we found them to be relaxing and calming.
The menu offers a wide selection of food from the 4 major cities of India namely Jaipur, Punjab, Lucknow and Hyderabad. As soon as you are seated, they will give you this complimentary crispy crackers with traditional dips. We started with the Tandoor Anar Ke Aloo which are long potatoes stuffed with pomegranate and cottage cheese cooked in a clay oven.
We also had Rann Nawabi or chicken drumsticks marinated overnight with saffron and Gharana spices. And then we had the Jhinga Tajdar, jumbo prawns marinated with Tandoori spices cooked in char grill. I must say that all of these were savoury and you can really taste the spices and exquisite flavours. We also ordered their specialty drinks and I tried Fire and Ice, which is a mojito like drink but with hint of spice because of the chili added.
Our main course was the Murgh Jaishalmandi, the traditional chicken curry cooked in creamy sauce with cashew nut and we also had the Dal Gharana which is a blend of black lentils and cream cooked overnight in a clay oven. We also tried the Jhinga Malmal Curry, marinated prawns simmered in onion tomato gravy. All of these were partnered with rice and the traditional bread, nan. I must say at this point, I have thoroughly enjoyed the food and the music in the background. You can tell from the taste that the ingredients were fresh and it felt clean. The spice level can also be adjusted based on the customer’s preference. I don’t like it too spicy so I always tell them just mild is enough.
The service at this restaurant was impeccable, I like how they were attentive and were always there when we needed something. The waiters also wore nice uniforms that were in sync with the theme of the place. They were also knowledgeable about the food and their history and they consistently explained the origin of every dish and answered all of our questions. After the main course, they gave us this rose water where you can soak your hands and we all liked the smell of our hands after.
Overall, we had an exceptional dining experience at Gharana that’s a bit different from all the restaurants out there. The prices were reasonable and you are definitely going to get great value for your money. In here, you will get to taste unparalleled authentic food paired with soothing live music in a warm and cozy venue that definitely feels like home. I would undeniably vouch for this restaurant and I plan to come back some time soon. And true to their slogan, dining at Gharana will allow diners to have a nostalgic opportunity to experience the finest Indian cuisine to sounds of Bollywood hits, Ghazals and where maestros like Rahat, Jagjit and Mukesh live forever.