Junoon has been on my wish list from quite sometime and I was delighted to see an email requesting me to come down for a meal. Junoon is located on Level 2 of Shangri – La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road.
I have to say, the interiors are amazing and show that a lot of thought has been put into them. A dimly lit place with a warm and calm ambiance and wall carvings inspired by Indian culture speaks volumes about the restaurant. The menu also sticks strictly to Indian food, with no attempts of bringing in dishes from other cuisines like how it’s counterparts do.
For drinks, we went for a passionfruit mojito and a cherry lemonade. The cherry lemonade has a sweetish sour taste, which was a challenge to our taste-buds. To balance the sourness, our server brought us some cherry concentrate which really helped. The passion fruit drink, on the other hand, was loved by me. It was refreshing and garnished beautifully.
As most had appreciated the Eggplant chat, I decided to order it with a Murgh Tikka Mirza Hasnu as starters. The Eggplant chat was sheer mastery. Local chats usually consist of boiled potatoes cut into pieces with papri (crisp fried wafers), accompanied with tamarind and mint chutney. My dish had fried eggplant cut into thin slices which provided the perfect crunch and served as substitute for the Papri. Genius, I must say.
Our other starter consisted of succulent pieces of chicken tikka on a brocolli purée and salad on the side. The chicken was soft and juicy. Other than that, I felt this dish could have been better in terms of creativity.
Our server, Mittal, recommended Shrimp Malai curry and Tawa Gosht for mains with breads. We opted for butter naan and Junoon spiced naan.
My favorite was the Tawa Gosht. I’m not usually a fan of mutton, but this was delicious! The meat was easy to cut into and the cashew almond sauce complemented it well.
The Shrimp curry had a sweetish taste that I did not prefer. Added to the curry was coconut and pommery mustard, which was loved by dad. The shrimps were fresh and cooked well, something that I am quite particular about when it comes to seafood.
While we were full after all this, our server came with desserts that were most ordered. The Chocolate Matka Falooda and Malai Pearl.
The first thing that caught my eye was the presentation. Junoon certainly has an eye for detail and scores full points on that.
The Chocolate Matka consisted of a chocolate sphere containing rabri with a layer of kulfi underneath, all over a bed of vermicelli and blackberry jelly discs. I never knew a mixture of chocolate, kulfi and vermicelli could be so appealing and soothing to the tongue.
The Malai Pearl took me by surprise. It was decorated quite colorfully, with flaked almonds and a pistachio border, surrounding a yellow hemisphere. What I discovered, was ras malai inside. 10 points for the creativity and arrangement here!
After a wonderful meal, we decided to end it with a good Cappuccino.
Serving an innovative take on traditional Indian food and achieving it wonderfully is the way Junoon works. This is why it has been acclaimed as a Michelin star restaurant in New York. I would recommend the Eggplant Chat, Tawa Gosht and Chocolate Matka for anyone planning to visit.
Until next time. xx