Food: Bukhara – a traditional Indian haunt in the heart of Kempinski Ajman

Having heard quite a bit about this acclaimed Indian restaurant, we decided to visit the Kempinski Ajman and it was well worth the drive. We left content while contemplating the next scrumptious visit!

The restaurant itself has a rustic authentic feel to it with a focus on wooden interiors and tapestries hanging from every corner! There is an open kitchen where you can see every part of the cooking process including the tandoor oven! The team is headed up by Head Chef Manoj who is doing a brilliant job.

Before we get to the food a little fact: in Bukhara, apart for serving, there is no cutlery provided so get ready to get your hands dirty. Also instead of napkins they have aprons so don’t worry about getting your clothes dirty 🙂 Since there was so much we wanted to try we got mixed platters with a bit of everything!

The roasted papad served with the slightly spicy goji berry chutney and non pungent garlic pickle was just fantastic; you definitely don’t want to miss out on the garlic pickle!

Starting with the best: the show stopping tandoori lobster; which is served with: dal Bukhara and garlic naan.
A 2 pound lobster marinated in: garlic, peppercorns, and tandoori masala then cooked in a traditional Indian clay pot oven. Creamy lobster meat left everyone going back for seconds. It’s a must try, even if you don’t like seafood, trust us it’ll win you over!

The dal Bukhara had a velvety texture, even though it used both cream and butter – it didn’t feel too heavy and didn’t weigh us down at all. We tried a few naans: garlic, pudina and butter – all of them were excellent!

The veg platter was brimming with veggie goodness.
Silky smooth paneer tikka with a hint of spice and slow cooked in the “earthern oven”.
Tandoori phool
(cauliflower) was a beautiful mess of flavors: yellow chili, chat masala, lemon juice, ginger garlic, coated in carom seeds then dipped in batter, fried and charcooked. Oddly it’s a completely balanced dish, each ingredient has a subtle flavor without being overpowering!
Soft potatoes stuffed with raisins, cashew nuts and spices is what makes the tandoori aloo so special.
Another stuffed dish, is the tandoori shimla mirch – capsicum stuffed with french beans, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower and spices; a medley of delicious flavors.

The non veg platter was devoured in seconds!
Jhinga lehsooni – garlic flavored jumbo prawns which have been marinated in a yogurt marinade, just thinking about it is causing salivation!
Murgh malai kebab, a childhood dish for me and honestly is definitely a must order; how can you go wrong with melt in your mouth chicken!
Mutton lovers rejoice, the seekh kebab is the one for you, a classic taste most will remember from your childhood.
Finally, we have the gosht anjeeri mahitawa champ – to put it simply a baby lamp chop marinated in fig juice and yogurt and dressed in pomegranate sauce.

We ended our food journey on 4 notes:
Ras malai (top left): quite delicate and just sweet enough with a strong saffron flavor.
Kesari phirni (top right): a milky dessert made out of basmati rice, flavored with cardamom and topped with pistachio and almond slivers.
Gulab jamun (bottom left): a classic dessert dunked in sugar syrup and stuffed with pistachio.
Kulfi (bottom right): the table favorite, (although I’m still voting for the phirni) cornstarch vermicelli topped with a heavenly kulfi.

You might be wondering what the biscuits are that are covering the beautiful desserts, a brittle flaxseed biscuit which we think people of all ages would enjoy.

Chef Manoj also sent along some paan flavored chocolates which are a really interesting combination, sweet and tangy at the same time!

We love how Bukhara stays true to its roots and uses such simple ingredients but completely elevates their flavors, it’s magic we tell you!

Disclaimer: we were invited to Bukhara but as always our opinions are honest and unbiased, if you ever see us occupying the corner table come over and say hi! Pictures courtesy of Bukhara Kempinski Ajman


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