Surrounded by Indian friends and colleagues, I have been exposed to Indian culture especially food. I had Andra, Goan, Gujrati, Keralite, Mangalorean, Punjabi, and Rajasthani to name a few. None of them mentioned Desi. What is Desi?
My question was further answered when I entered Desi Village Restaurant & Café in Al Garhoud. At first glance from outside, it may look like a small restaurant with the usual Indian food inside. Entering Desi Village Restaurant & Café is like entering the Dubai Museum but with South Asian culture displayed in every corner of the restaurant.
You will be greeted by a village lady making masalas, inviting you to come in.
When you are inside you will see a big Bodhi Tree. The Bodhi Tree was a large and very old sacred fig tree where the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism, later known as Gautama Buddha, achieved Bodhi (spiritual enlightenment) while sitting under this tree.
Walls are decorated with paintings of Babu Dukan (Jewel Sellers), Dillagi Pan Wala (Paan Seller), and day to day activities of Indian families living in the village such as fetching water from the well, cooking, etc.
Desi Village Restaurant & Café has a rich selection of food and drinks, 17 pages to be exact. Luckily, they helped us select their best dishes from starters to desserts.
Tangdi Kulfi- Grilled chicken legs with a creamy and cheesy sauce which is enriched with chilies, cardamom, and coriander. Described as the chef’s special that you shouldn’t miss. TheTasteOfGood.com agrees! The price might be a little hefty, but the dish is worth a try. AED 49.00 for 4 pieces.
Gosht Galawati Kebab- Kebabs softer than butter and as tender as snow. The kebab that will be enjoyed even by those who doesn’t have teeth. You don’t need teeth to chew this dish as it literally melts in your mouth. I would say this is a Desi version of a Pâté. AED 49.00 for 4 pieces.
Bhatti Ka Mushroom- Mushroom marinated in Desi Village’s own tikka masala. Cooked and seared on charcoal that gave it a smoky taste. AED 27.00
Veg Kurkure- based from the famous Indian snack Kurkure which tastes like hot Cheetos. Normally made in a ball shape looking lolly, Desi Village Restaurant & Cafe’s version is a mix of different deep-fried vegetables coated with ginger, red chili to spice it up. Tangy taste is from the mango powder. The unique Desi Village Café & Restaurant taste from their very own garam masala, and bread crumbs for the crispiness.
Dahi K Sholay- This starter kids will love. Bread roll fried until golden brown with a heavenly filling made of yogurt and paneer. The same filling was richly put on top sprinkled with pimiento as a garnish. The creamy filling is absorbed by the white bread which melts in your mouth when eaten. The pimiento adds a sweet pepper flavor. AED 27.00 for 6 pieces, this is worth every bite. It wakens up your palette and satisfies your tummy.
Lagan Ka Murg- Slow-cooked chicken with different nutty ingredients, spices, and herbs. Among all the dishes served, this is my least favorite. It is a bit salty to my taste.
Dal Tadka- my favorite dal dish is Dal Tadka. This dish is so flavorful due to the tempered spices used like cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garlic, chilies, curry leaves in hot oil or ghee. Lentils are then slowly cooked with the tempered spices that gave it an aroma no one can resist. I like Dal Tadka so much because of its rich garlic flavor. I got the taste I expected from Desi Village’s Dal Tadka but not the texture. It would have been better if it is thicker.
Paneer Taka Tak- A rich dish of paneer cooked with flavorful masalas. Paneer Taka Tak is a spicy and tangy lip-smacking curry that is best with naan or roti. The paneer is well marinated with a perfectly balanced of spices mixed in curd. The curry itself is so tasty you can eat it alone with naan or roti. AED 27.00 good for sharing for 2 people.
Shahi Tukda- is a simple dessert but was made by Desi Village Restaurant & Café like it is for royalty. The white slices of bread soaked in turmeric milk tasted like chiffon cake soaked in golden milk. The almond and pistachio shavings added taste and texture to the Shahi Tukda.
Sheer Khurma with Gulab Jamun- a dessert with vermicelli, milk, assorted nuts, dates, raisins, and sugar. The milk is flavored with rose water and cardamom giving it an authentic Desi taste. In addition to the sweetness of dates and raisins, it also gave a chewy texture which is enriched with a crispiness texture from the nuts. Don’t forget the gulab jamun in the middle of this dessert, when eaten with the Sheer Kurma, it is like an entry ticket to the unicorn land with all the sweetness and creaminess exploding in your mouth at the same time.
Desi Mojito- normal Mojito is made of lemon and mint mixed with sparkling water (or vodka if you want a mojito cocktail). Desi Mojito of Desi Village Cafe & Restaurant is different, it is spiced up with ginger which gave it a little kick in addition to its original tangy and sweet taste.
Desi Village has great ambiance. It has a big area that can accommodate approximately 70 people. This is great for big groups celebrating something special. It has an upper deck made for those who love shisha. They have a Ladies Night promotion of AED 1.00 for shisha on Mondays.
If you don’t fancy shisha, then you can enjoy their play station installed in the upper deck for AED 20/hour. You can experience their Desi menu for only AED 39 every day from 12 to 4 PM.
It is good to reserve so call them now to experience the authentic Desi Village Restaurant & Café.