Just back from a lovely meal at the new Indian restaurant in the Emirates Palace - “Martabaan” which stands for pottery jar that is commonly used in India to store food especially pickles. The restaurant chef Hemant Oberoi is a bit of a legend in India.
One glance at the menu (especially the entrees) and it’s clear that this restaurant is not about progressive Indian food which is typically the focus for newer Indian restaurants run by younger chefs. Very few restaurants such as Tamba pull it off gracefully and many others make a mess of it. Martabaan focuses on Indian classics which have frankly been forgotten as the cuisine has evolved. It was nostalgic to see dishes such as crab in butter garlic and chicken ghee roast on the menu.
The ambience and dinnerware looked stunning. Service was warm and it was nice to see a familiar face in Sujay who was previously a manager at Tamba. Margarita 2.0 was an excellent cocktail suggestion. A melange of spices were burnt right in front of us with Absinthe before being added to the margarita. Lovely flavors. We started with crab butter garlic crab pao. Can go back just to have this again. Next we tried the Guntur lobster. Lobster was perfectly cooked and presented nicely with purple potatoes. But I felt that the spices were a bit too intense and didn’t let the taste of the lobster meat come through. From here on the experience was just sublime as we stuck to the chef specials - Martabaan ka meat (lamb), Matabaan ke khatte meethe aloo (potatoes) and lamb biryani. The lamb and potatoes were splendid! Can’t remember the last time I enjoyed potatoes so much 🙂 The biryani was prepared and served in a glass jar which I have never seen before. The camembert and truffle naan was drool worthy! We were too full to have desserts...
There are too many things in the menu we want to try and for that we will surely be back soon!