Saleem’s is the answer to every Dubai resident’s yearning for the authentic mughlai cuisine which has made Delhi India’s culinary capital. The interiors attempt to create a setting similar to what diners would experience in a slightly sophisticated restaurant found along the narrow alleyways of Chandni Chowk. Delhi’s iconic Mughal landmarks such as the Red Fort, Jama Masjid landscape the walls along with painted portraits of numerous Mughal emperors flaunting the dynasty’s rich history.
Saleem’s of Dubai is part of the network of restaurants operating under the same name back in Delhi. The chain is owned by Saleem Qureshi, the father of Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem, whose father owned a butcher shop in Delhi. It was Saleem Qureshi’s entrepreneurial vision which transformed the family business first into a small roadside kebab joint and then into a full-fledged eatery serving famous delicacies with that distinct Mughlai taste.
The recipes are slightly tweaked to suit the taste of Dubai’s diverse customers, which is noticeable with the lower level of spice and oil present in the food. The chefs, spices and recipes are all imported from the original Saleem’s in Delhi, making the dishes identical to what someone would eat in the heart of Old Delhi. The tradition of haandi cooking by simmering spices over a long period of time in a sealed container, help bring out the rich and aromatic flavours that have made this cuisine legendary.
Though there are countless North Indian restaurants already in Dubai, there is a unique taste to mainstay tandoor preparations such as the chicken tikka (Or Bhatti Ka Murgh as it’s called in Saleem’s) with the exotic blend of marinated spices giving a beautifully rustic taste. The kebab was cooked to perfection, being smoky and slightly charred on the outside while moist and tender on the inside. The famous Mutton Burrah Kebab is permeated with a delightful spicy flavouring right to the bone, with the meat falling off the bone once you pierce it with your fork. Of course, no trip to a Mughlai restaurant is complete without indulging in the Mutton Sheekh Kebab and Slaeem’s definitely impressed with the mince being grilled to the perfect texture with an ideal mix of chilli powder, green papaya, fine onions, ginger, garlic and cumin. The Vegetarians don’t have to miss out here either, as the Dahi Ke Sholey is prepared beautifully with a crispy exterior and a centre filled with well-seasoned yogurt.
Murg Musallam is a trademark Mughlai dish, with slow cooked chicken simmered in fresh masala, chilli, garlic and other spices and then presented in a gravy consisting of minced chicken imparting hints of caramelised onion and coriander. For mutton lovers there’s the rich and fragranced Badam Pasanda with its creamy yogurt and almond based gravy along with a blend of peppery and earthy spices. Vegetarian foodies can indulge in the Kadai Mushroom which is prepared in a delicious tomato and onion gravy with green peppers.
If anyone wants to get the best possible idea of authentic Mughlai cuisine, then Saleem’s is definitely a place which will give you that dining experience.
Al Karama, Behind Jumbo Electronics, Dubai, 04 3885222