Mint Leaf of London – the sophisticated fine dining establishment located in the heart of DIFC – is set to bring its Piccadilly vibes to the city of Dubai for Suhoor and Iftar this Ramadan. I was lucky enough to be invited (with a plus one) to try the restaurant’s Iftar preview menu before anyone else. Thank you Mint Leaf!
Once my date and I reached Emirates Financial Tower’s 15th floor, we were warmly welcomed by our hosts and sashayed to a private, mirrored space. My first impression of this trendy restaurant was that it perfectly combined modernity and sophistication, with a smart-casual dress code to match; the dimly lit space saw sharp-suited gentlemen and well-heeled women taking their seats for an assortment of delicious dishes.
Seated in our plush chairs, my plus one and I started guessing what we might be tucking into. We were pretty sure it wasn’t going to be your typical Iftar buffet; after all, we didn’t see long sets of tables heaving with foods that had been sitting out for far too long (and we thanked the heavens for that, as it meant no sneaky getting ahead in the queue just to get to the juiciest cut of meat, or the freshest slice of bread). I will admit, since this was my first time at Mint Leaf of London, I was sceptical as to how Indian the food might actually be. I like my dals buttery and my chicken tikkas zesty, but I’ve noticed that too many restaurants in Dubai confuse buttery for oily and zesty for fire breathing spicy.
To start, my date and I were presented with a virgin mint mojito that featured the perfect combination of tangy and refreshing – ideal for a city that’s heating up for the summer. We then had a look at the menu featuring a collection of cold starters, hot starters, mains, dessert and drinks, all for a pleasing AED135.
Kicking off with a few dates, almonds and cashews paired with rooh afza (rose-flavoured syrup stirred into chilled milk), we soon surveyed our cold starter options and opted for soft, roasted potatoes and crispy papdi sev chaat as well as a beautiful beetroot and corn summer salad that was seasoned just right and featured an incredible creamy texture thanks to its garlicky yoghurt dressing.
My date and I were just savouring the last bites off our cold platter when six steaming hot appetisers arrived. I must admit, I did not hold back on tucking in again and again… I had my very first-ever taste of prawns that night – an interesting dish featuring the main ingredient marinated in a mix of cardamom and cream cheese – but it was the tender Australian lamb kebabs and flavourful Lahori tandoori chicken that took pole position on my taste buds. We were quite full by the time our starters were done so it’s a good thing there was a small pause before the mains were served. The chicken tikka korma (mildly spiced and cooked with nuts) and the yellow dal (delectable buttery yellow lentil stew) turned out to be the stars of the night. The saag gosht featured the ideal balance of spinach and garlic but the braised Australian lamb leg was slightly chewy. The sabz makhni – a dish that I first fell in love with at my father’s restaurant in Riyadh when I was seven years old – was a bit of a disappointment, as the vegetables, that are supposed to be this dish’s hero ingredient, seemed to have come straight out of a freezer. I let my disappointment go as I savoured the chicken tikka qorma though. It was soon wiped clean with steaming tandoori rotis fresh from Mint Leaf of London’s in-house tandoor oven.
My date and I opted to take a walk around the restaurant after our mains – not just to absorb the ambience and views, but also to free up some space for dessert. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows boast astounding (and Instagram-worthy) views of the Burj Khalifa. Divided into three areas – a formal dining space; a bar with live music; and a casual café – the space is composed of dark brown and black hues accented with henna-inspired designs painted on sunset orange walls. The interior is the perfect marriage of traditional Indian and contemporary London. We headed back to our seats – two small settees facing the Burj Khalifa – and were soon greeted with a platter of fresh fruits, sensational gulab jamun, and 70% Valrhona chocolate mousse which was, as my date called it, “the cherry on top”.
Verdict? Mint Leaf of London is a real charmer that’s perfect to head to with that special someone or a group of friends. Not only was the food delicious, the service was attentive and the prices very reasonable. I’ll definitely be going back.
Mint Leaf of London
Ramadan Iftar Dinner
Iftar dinner including a welcome drink AED 135
Location: 15th Floor, South Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC
Fatima loves cheese, bridges, lakes and bungee jumping, and sometimes all four at the same time… Scribe’s junior writer dreams of exploring professional food critiquing and space science (well, through her writing anyway). Share your dreams (and favourite star) with her at firstname.lastname@example.org