I am a bit hesitant when it comes to trying food from a new Indian restaurant. The reason for this being that I evaluate Indian food more critically than any other cuisine (being an Indian, this is something which comes naturally). However, being a food blogger means that I have to overcome any hesitancy and try new places. Therefore, when I was invited to try the food at 25 Degrees North, I did not turn the invite down.
Located at Bay Square, an upcoming commercial area in Business Bay, 25 Degrees North is an Indian restaurant that offers a wide range of Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian options. I visited the restaurant for lunch with a friend. As we entered the restaurant, we were welcomed with pleasant smiles from the restaurant staff. The restaurant was not too busy at that hour but does pull in a lot of crowd during dinner time on weekends (yes, I went there with a group of friends again).
The ambience of the restaurant is more like a semi-fine dining restaurant. The place is spacious and there is ample seating inside the restaurant. I did love the decor of the restaurant, especially the lights used.
As we settled down at our table, we were served with a sweet chutney based dahi (yoghurt) bhalla chaat sprinkled with sev and pomegranate. The bhalla had that little bit of a crunch to it and the chaat item was a bit on the sweeter side. I like sweet chutney so I did like the chaat item.
As we were placing our order for the starters, something on the menu caught my eye. This dish was Palak Patta Chaat (Spinach leaf chaat). I have never in my life before tried any chaat item that is made of Spinach and it was something unique (couldn't give this a miss). The other starter we chose was a prawns based dish called Jhinga Mehrunnisa. My order for drinks was a Mango Lassi.
Even before the starters came out, we were served with Papads (or popadums) with 4 different chutneys or sauces (Mint Chutney, Mango Chutney, Tamarind Chutney and Pickle). This is pretty much a standard when it comes to most Indian semi-fine dining and fine dining restaurants. The chutneys were pretty good, especially the mango one.
The starters arrived and I was amazed by the Palak patta chaat. It wouln't be wrong to say that it is one of the best chaat items I have ever tasted in my life. Spinach leaves are coated in gram flour (besan) and then batter fried. These are topped with Yoghurt, mint chutney and sweet chutney. This is then topped with some sev and pomegranate seeds. It is the perfect balance of flavours. Since the spinach leaves are fried, the leaves are crunchy. The Yoghurt and chutneys give it a bit of a tangy, sweet and a bit of spice at the same time. This is a must try.
The second starter Jhinga Mehrunnisa is served in shot glasses and is marinated in a special marination prepared by the chef. The Prawns are served with mint chutney. The dish is a bit on the spicy side and the Prawns (Jhinga) tasted fresh. The mango lassi was pretty good too. It was refreshing and the lassi was thick (not too much).
Once done with the starters, it was time to order the main course. We wanted to try both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes so we opted for Murgh Kohlapuri and Paneer Makhanwala.
Murgh Kohlapuri is a chicken based dish which consists of chicken cooked in a spicy Kohlapuri curry. Since I can't take too much spice, I asked for a non-spicy version of the dish. The chicken was well cooked and the curry was rich in flavours and tasted good, however I felt that I made a mistake by ordering a non-spicy version of it. The reason for this being that spice is the essence of the dish and by removing that, it was quite evident that the curry lacked that punch to make it an amazing dish. That being said, the dish still tasted good.
The second main course Paneer Makhanwala was our vegetarian dish. The butter based curry tasted good but I was not too excited by the Paneer itself. It was the only dish that failed to make an impact. I did communicate this to the staff and the chef came to see me in person. I was really impressed by this. The cook did understand the issue and promised me that he would do something about it going forward.
After having such a heavy but satisfying meal, I still had some room for dessert and ordered for Jalebi with Rabdi. Jalebi is a dessert that is pretty famous in India and is really sweet, since it is dipped into a sugar syrup after it is deep fried. It is usually eaten alone or is served with Rabdi which is a creamy milk based dessert. When served with Jalebi, Rabdi is usually not to sweet in order to balance the high amount of sweetness of the Jalebi. The dessert is one of my favourites and 25 Degrees North does justice to it. The presentation and the taste of the dessert is excellent and I couldn't have asked for a better ending to the meal.
Overall I was impressed by 25 degrees north and for me the highlight of the meal was the Palak Patta Chaat. This is a dish, I will not be able to forget for quite some time. The staff was friendly and willing to make improvements whereever possible to enhance the experience of the customers.
The feel of the restaurant might be a semi-fine dining one but the prices of the dishes are really good and it is by no doubt total value for money. I would surely be visiting the restaurant in the coming months to try more dishes.
I was invited to try the food at 25 Degrees North, therefore I have not provided any ratings for the restaurant. All opinions expressed are solely based on my experience and are not influenced by the restaurant or its management in any way.
Restaurant: 25 Degrees North
Location: BB07 Bay Square, Business Bay (The restaurant has other branches too. Search zomato for the restaurant listings)
Contact No.: +971 4 3607474