A ‘Farzi’ Memory!

Farzi Cafe
City Walk,
Al Safa & Al Wasl Road Intersection,
Al Safa, Dubai

22nd October, 2016

My visits to Dubai, or home as I call it, despite being away for 6 years, often provide me with opportunities to visit the city’s top trending restaurants, be it with friends or family or even both. This October, my brief stay in Dubai brought me to Farzi Cafe – a chic, modern Indian-with-a-twist restaurant (or Bistro as they call themselves!) located in the swanky, up-scale City Walk.

Ah! Saturday at last! The one day when all of my friends are off from work, given the rigour of post-college life. On most Saturdays, my friends would come over to my place and the day would pass sitting in front of the TV, controller in our hands, playing FIFA (the latest one, of course!), Ashes Cricket (Hard difficulty, duh!), and WWE (which created factions and started wars!), only interrupted by breaks for lunch and dinner. This Saturday was no different.

11 a.m. – Ding! The doorbell rings. I open the door and begin a slew of ‘Wazzzzaaaappp’ hugs. It’s been eight months since I last met with the guys. We go to my room. Let the games begin! It’s not until after lunch, that we decide to go out for dinner, naturally some place new and exciting. Now, choosing a restaurant is never easy, no matter where you are. And this is Dubai, one of the food hubs of the world. So began a long search, on our trusted RestaurantDex – Zomato, for a place to dine. After half an hour we all agreed to give it a go at Farzi Cafe.

 (From top left to bottom right) : Farzi Sangria, Dirt Pile, Chicken Yakhini Nut Pilaf, Galouti Burger
(From top left to bottom right) : Farzi Sangria, Dirt Pile, Chicken Yakhini Nut Pilaf, Galouti Burger

Being Saturday,  when most of Dubai is off, we knew we had to book in advance if we were to have any chance of getting a table at Farzi. As host, the duty to make the reservations fell on me (“Whoopee!”). I dialed the number given online, and was greeted by, whom I presume to be, the bistro’s receptionist. “Hi, table for 7 please (Yes, my family tagged along…what fun is it only with friends, am I right?) at 8 p.m.” I said. “Sorry sir, but we are fully booked tonight” came the reply. Heartbreaking! Back to the drawing board! Another half hour of scouring the internet, looking for other places to dine. But ain’t nobody got time for that! We decided that we would land up at Farzi early and take it as it comes. Let the games begin…again!

7 p.m. – We got ready to leave for Farzi. It took us 40 minutes to reach City Walk, traffic being what it is in Dubai. Though car rides with the guys have rarely a silent moment. Topics vary from football, cricket, and movies to reminiscing about school and oh-so-popular “How’s work going?” We reached Farzi, hoping that lady luck would shine her light on us and get us a table. She didn’t. But she came close. We were told that we had to wait another 20 minutes to get a table. Given that we hadn’t booked earlier, we didn’t mind the wait.

7:40 p.m. – We got a call from the receptionist saying that our table was ready. Now, just to inform you readers, I have been to Farzi Cafe before, albeit in Bangalore. I was fascinated by their food-meets-science concept (especially the use of dry ice!), and so I expected to see the same here. The ambience of Farzi Cafe did not disappoint; though we were seated outside at a long table (two short tables combined) as there was no place inside.

We were promptly handed the menus by the waiter, whose name I do not recall. The menu was similar to that in the Bangalore branch. Ordering food and drinks didn’t take too long, despite having a lot of choice. We ordered the ‘Chicken Quesadillas’, the ‘Chicken Yakhini Nut Pilaf’, the ‘Mutton Pepper Fry’, the ‘Galouti Burger’, and the ‘Burmese Khao Suey’.

The drinks were served shortly and in time; however we were a bit peeved that we had to wait for a long time to be served water (I think it came after the Quesadillas were served). When (finally!) the waiter brought us water, we were amazed to see that it was Acqua Morelli (an Italian premium brand). This raised several questions – Whether expensive water tasted better than normal water (for us it all tasted the same)? and Whether it was worth it in restaurant like Farzi? (we didn’t think so)

Presentation, as I expected, is a key element of the Farzi brand. The Chicken Quesadillas, which looked like ‘Paratha Burgers’, were presented on a lavish golden-brown marble plate. The Chicken Yakhini was presented in a curious looking ‘caved-in vase’ bowl, accompanied with a gravy  bowl. The Mutton Pepper Fry and the Khao Suey, however, lacked invention in presentation and were served in rather ordinary plates. Lastly (yes, the best is saved for last)  the piece de resistance, the Galouti Burger was served in the trunk of a truck that looked as if it were a stolen World War II memorabilia.

 Did we just type our own bill? Don't worry...we didn't Did we just type our own bill? Don’t worry…we didn’t

In terms of flavour, the dishes hit their mark. The Pilaf was fragrant and delicious, the Quesadillas failed to disappoint, and the mutton in the pepper fry and galouti burger was soft and succulent, melting away in your mouth as you ate it. The Khao Suey was a slight let down, as it lacked a certain punch. Overall, the main courses kept the tummy full, but left some room for dessert.

Dessert time! Yay! Now, like I said I’ve been to the Bangalore Farzi and was excited when they brought out ‘Galaxy’ (the size matching its name) – a mixture of ice cream, chocolate, marshmallows, and, to top it all up, dry ice! So I was even more excited to try it out in Dubai. Sadly, upon reading the menu, I found the item to be missing. So we called the manager and asked him if they had the dessert, and were surprised to learn that they did not make it in Dubai (he was as surprised as we were as he didn’t know what Galaxy was!). Rather disappointed, we scoured through the menu again, however, none of the dishes really matched the brilliance of the ‘Galaxy’.

We were still hungry, our stomachs crying out for something sweet, and so we decided to try out Farzi’s ‘Dirt Pile’. Keeping in line with Farzi’s love of presentation, the Dirt Pile was served in a beautiful ‘pot-like’ bowl. The waiter poured the chocolate sauce over the ice-cream and the chocolate ‘dirt’ and just like that the ‘Galaxy’ was forgotten. The chocolate ‘dirt’ added a textural feel that the dish would have otherwise lacked, and was really the standout part. It didn’t take us too long to completely wipe the dirt of the pot (pun intended!). Chocolate goodness indeed!

Overall, our experience in Farzi was pleasantly pleasing. We entered as 7 hungry people, and left as 7 satisfied customers. The food definitely lived up to the hype surrounding the place, however, had those elements from the Bangalore branch been incorporated in the menu, I feel I would truly have been Farzified. Would I go back there again? Only if someone is paying! 🙂

Farzi Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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