I have the misfortune or fortune of having a highly developed palate and sense of smell. I say misfortune, because at times smells will overwhelm me and either give me a migraine, or make me nauseous. I can smell food that will go bad tomorrow, and that is a not at all pleasant.
Like many people, I associate smells with memories.
I can never smell baby Johnson products without being reminded of my children as babies. Whenever I smell vanilla it always reminds me of my best friend JIN, because the minute you enter the foyer, she has her Glade Vanilla candle burning and the area is redolent with sweet smell of vanilla.
AbuDhabi is currently undergoing some sort of transformation , which is an assault on my olfactory system. Too often the putrescence of sewage is hanging in the air. The high levels of humidity are not helping to disperse this odour, which just seem to be adhered to the air.
AbuDhabi also suffers from a dearth of good restaurants, especially one that specializes in sub continent cuisine.
A newish arrival on the subcon scene is MOTI MAHAL. Being Husband's birthday, and coming with a few recommendations, we decided to give it a try.
Though decorated quite nicely, the first thing that hit me as I ascended the steps was the smell of stale aggarbatti (Joss/incense) sticks. I love bakhoor and burn huge quantities of it at home. But there is something about incense sticks that totally puts me off. That and the underlying smell of floor disinfectant which immediately reminded me of a hospital.
Having seated ourselves, we were presented with the menu.
The only other people upstairs were a rowdy bunch of young people. I asked for alternative seating, as this kind of noise is acceptable in KFC/McDonalds or even a bar. I have two children with me, I don't see them screaming, but not in a place like this.
The abashed concierge said they were almost done and would leave soon.
Well, we had a look at the menu that seemed promising, with a huge variety and ordered our food. Not being very fond of rice, we skipped the Biryani and settled for 3 variety of kababs (Galoti,Barha, Murgh Reshmi ) and 3 types of bread (garlic naan, butter naan, roomali roti).
Along with my husband's favourite Daal Makhani and youghurt raita.
The food arrived in good time and was hot. The service was wonderful, but sadly the food was not. The Murgh Reshmi, chicken kababs was for the kids, and though the portion was rather small, they found it nice.
Unfortunately for us, the Galoti texture wise was a bit dry and chewy, and the mutton chops (Barha) had an underlying bitter taste. Good BBQ should be juicy, and the meat should melt in the mouth. Sadly neither effect was achieved.
The accompanying salad with the kabab a slice of tomato on a lettuce leaf, a wedge of lime, and finely sliced onions was not fresh or crisp. Onions that accompany kababs should be so finely sliced that they look translucent, yet manage to stay crunchy. This effect is achieved when upon slicing the onions need to be immersed in cold water.
If it was one of those places that served cabbage in place of lettuce and served up sliced onions the size of potato chips I would not be complaining. But this was not that place.
The Daal Makhani was not bad, but could have done with a more mellow flavour. Daal Makhani is one of those dishes which need to be cooked on a very low simmer if not overnight (preferably) then at least for a few hours. This had a strong overwhelming taste of an Indian spice known as HEENG, which has quite a pungent taste, and supposed to be digestive, but leaves me miserable. The naans were good, but they do not do a mixed naan basket, so each naan has to be individually ordered.
All in all, an above average priced place with mediocre food. Whether it was our selection of BBQ food which was their weak point, or that was their level, it did not encourage us to order any dessert.
The only plus point was we left still hungryish, and will not sleep stuffed.