If it’s UK curry you want in Dubai, it’s hard to look past Flames…
Anyone who has ever had a curry in the UK will know that trying to find something even close to what you get over there is basically impossible.
Maybe Indians and Pakistanis around might be thinking: “What’s it got to do with you?” But actually, as those from Bangladesh will know (Bangladeshi families run as many as 80% of our national curry houses in Britain), curry is our national dish too, and we love it. And we love it spicy as well, by the way.
Curry, although obviously being a traditional dish of South Asia, has roots in the UK that can be traced as far back as the 1500’s, and curry powder and other freeze dried ingredients used in most dishes throughout the world all have Western origins. But this is not a competition; this is a shared enthusiasm for the greatest dish in the world.
There’s loads of restaurants and takeaways that market themselves as a “British Curry” place in Dubai, but for most of them, this is nothing more than a marketing tactic, they have definitely never made curry in Britain before, because if they served the stuff I’ve seen over here in the UK, they’d be shut down in 5 minutes.
The owner has been a bit of a jet setter, travelling from India to Kenya to Britain, and picking up recipes and techniques along the way. So without further ado, let’s see what it’s all about:
Based in Cluster D in Jumeirah Lake Towers, the restaurant isn’t exactly set up as you’d expect a curry house to be, more like a kebab shop. Although it is cleaner than a kebab shop. You can eat in if you want, there’s never many people in there so you’re left alone, which is nice. Or you can eat in my favourite place –home. Get it delivered. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… Also they don’t serve alcohol, and you know the Brits love 10 pints of Tiger with any curry. So if that’s what you want, it’s a trip to Barracuda fist, and then home delivery.
Really friendly, the owner is a charismatic guy very keen for you to enjoy his food. He’s got some good stories, and he even chucks in the odd free poppadum here and there. What more could you ask for?
All the UK favourites are here: Tikka Masala, Korma, Jalfrezi, Balti, Phal, Vindaloo, Rogan Josh and Bhuna. But for me, it’s always been about the Madras. And, unlike so many other Dubai curries, it’s all about the sauce and the chicken. No filler like random vegetables and bits of potato and that to bulk it out. These guys perfect the base sauce, put lovely sizeable chunks of tender chicken in there, and they are good to go.
They also give you the option of having each curry cooked to your particular appetite for spice (I always go for spicy obviously). Also of note are the sag aloo, the chilli sauce, mango chutney and the poppadums of course.
It’s always delivered hot, and the portions are generous too. In essence, it’s food from home away from home. That’s all I can say.
It’s not over expensive at all, and it’s not exactly what you’d call cheap (curries are half the price all over town). A chicken curry sets you back 35AED, but you get what you pay for. Good, well-prepared, aromatic and spicy food in Dubai comes at a premium. And it’s worth paying. Overall per person with rice, poppadums, a naan and some sauces you are looking at about 60AED.
They also do kebabs and stuff like that, which is a bit random I know, but that encompasses the owner’s time in Kenya (not Turkey or Greece), where I guess kebabs must be all the rage? Who knew?! Not had one myself, as one of the main perks of moving away from the UK for me has been not waking up next to a smelly, half-eaten kebab on a weekend – or sometimes something far worse.
Like I’ve said, if you miss having a good UK curry in Dubai, if that’s the one thing that’s missing for you, if you’re currently settling for using “the best of a bad bunch” to fill that curry chasm left gaping because of your expatriate status, I’m here to tell you that those days are over. Get to Flames people.