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Cravin’ Cajun, Novotel Al Barsha

By | March 12, 2014


What it's like: A refreshing new addition to the Dubai dining scene, this restaurant not only introduces a new and relatively lesser known cuisine to local punters (I mean, do we really need another fine dining Italian restaurant here?), but also offers it at good-value price points. The restaurant is large and inviting, with an open kitchen-style counter displaying copper pots and pans adding a homely touch, while the funky chandeliers give the space a hint of contemporary chic. The menu (designed in the style of an LP record) offers a selection of New Orleans classics – the chef is from there – and the live soul band creates the perfect atmosphere. One of the first things you associate with New Orleans is gumbo, so of course we opted for the chicken gumbo as a starter – the depth of flavours coming through in each spoonful of this hearty soup was incredible. I definitely wanted to try the trio of oysters as well – grilled, topped with mushrooms and Parmesan, and the Rockefeller with a spinach and onion topping – and really enjoyed it, a welcome departure from the raw, shucked oysters we see at buffets everywhere in this town, and a great way for oyster virgins to dip their toes in. The chef highly recommended the Louisiana crab cake as well, which was truly a delicious, flaky celebration of the crustacean’s sweet meat. Be warned, portions are huge, in true American fashion. That’s probably why I could barely make a dent in my indulgent shrimp and grits main course, a massive bowl of shrimp bathed in a creamy, cheesy sauce on a bed of corn cooked with milk. My partner’s Cajun southern fried chicken with waffles was recommended by the staff, and we’re glad we listened to them – tender, buttermilk marinated chicken, complemented by sweet waffles and fried cabbage, a unique combination of flavours for our tastebuds and utterly delicious. Even though we decided to share dessert, we barely got through the bananas foster pain perdu between the two of us – an absolutely sinful, but oh-so-moreish dish of fried bread, banana slices, ice cream and a beautiful cinnamon sauce. A meal here isn’t for the calorie-conscious, but well worth indulging in now and then. My advice? Share!

If you want to go: Around Dhs200 for meal for two, without drinks. Call 04-3049000.

Best for: A relaxed night out with friends

- Sudeshna Ghosh

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