Go up to the rooftop level of the Sofitel Downtown Dubai, and you will find JAAN at the penthouse. JAAN marks celebrity Chef Farrokh Khambata’s only Dubai venture. Chef Farrokh started his catering company ‘Catering & Allied’ in 1993, and due to his extensive training in France and beyond, he has been able to found a plethora of commendable restaurants, including Amadeus, Café at the NCPA, Umame and JOSS.
JAAN is decidedly progressive Indian, adding to Dubai’s repertoire of, well…the same kind of restaurants. Undoubtedly, this location is decidedly the best. The restaurant’s Burj Khalifa views are unmatchable and so are its cool, contemporary interiors. The decor also includes a really interesting John Lennon wall and a very nice bar set up.
As soon as we were led to our table, I was taken aback by the gorgeous views. I also learnt from the restaurant manager that JAAN was soon to start a brunch! Very curious to know the price points of that when it does come out.
There is an open kitchen also included with the chefs busy at work.
To start off, we ordered the Fire n’ Ice, which was a mango and chilli combination with a hunk of alcohol. I found it to be too spicy. It had a daiquiri sort of consistency. I later ordered the smoking cosmo. I gotta say that the drinks are doused with quite a bit of alcohol, which means you get your money’s worth. 😉 My brother tried a bourbon cocktail as well as a berry one which were both potent and delicious! Kudos to the mixologists and inventiveness of Chef Khambata!
For our starters, we were given the ‘Life of Nemo’, which was essentially a LIVE fish bowl with blue fin tuna in spiced dashi atop them. Uh..not so sure what effect this had on me. People who are a bit queasy might even feel a bit guilty eating dead fish atop live ones swimming around. Aesthetically, it was a shocker more than interesting. Taste-wise, it tasted akin to a regular sashimi with a bit of a punch in flavor. Was this ‘progressive Indian’? I don’t think so.
Next came in the Salmon Kejriwal, a 75 degree egg cooked sous vide with a smoked chili mayo and ikamari. Strangely so, I didn’t taste the progressive Indian in this dish; only read it in the name. I understand Japanese and Indian cuisine are so different that bridging the gaps between them is quite hard. The struggle was evident at this point. It tasted like a regular sushi roll with a hint of spice to me.
Right after, we tried the jhaal muri ceviche. Nailed it! The crunch of the jhaal muri went exceedingly well with the perfectly chilled yellowtail amberjack. My favorite of the Japanese/Indian fanfare I tried so far.
We quickly moved on to the small plates, out of which the first was these fresh butter garlic big head prawns. Delicious, with the classic Indian marinade.
Big Head prawns, cooked in Indian butter and garlic; incorporating Chef Farrokh’s roots into every dish #JAANDubai #JAANisLife #Light #Healthy #ProgressiveIndian #ModernistBar #Dubai #India #FarrokhKhambata #CelebrityChef #dubaifoodies #instafood #instafoodies #foodlover #whatsondubai #dubai #downtown #downtown #community #feedfeed #delicious #mydubai #dubalife
What caught mine and my brother’s attention was the Hunter’s style pouissin. Excellent dish, with an interesting bow and arrow finesse. The chicken was slightly creamy and very appetising. Their bacon wrapped shrimp on the other hand, was tasty, though not progressive again. The cherryb wood infused chicken was lovely and smoky, something different that I’d go back for.
Next came the NaanZa, a combination of naan and pizza dough filled with camembert cheese. Absolutely delicious and very simple looking.
Another Japanese-Indian fusion win was the Hokkaido mushrooms and truffle koftas. Tasting almost like croquettes, these were exemplary.
For the mains, we tried the highway style butter chicken, sizzling chole (chickpea) hummus with aloo parathas (potato stuffed flatbreads) and an edamame shiitake khichdi (Indian-style sticky rice).
The highway style butter chicken was flawlessly executed..and glad to say it tasted like it should. The consistency of the ‘chole hummus’ was excellent, bantering between a full fledged indian vegetable dish and hummus in terms of consistency. It tasted really good, but too heavy as a combination with those undoubtedly good aloo parathas. The edamame shiitake khichdi impressed me as well and was a great vegan option. We also tried the lamb raan, which was too dry for my liking.
And here is where I find the biggest mistake at JAAN. Besides comparing between Progressive Indian restaurants, a lot of the dishes have been done at other restaurants before; thereby almost belittling JAAN in the process. I feel like Khambata has been a bit daring with some of the dishes; and yet taken a very safe bet with others. Understandably however, one has to pay attention to crowd-pleasers like butter chicken.
On to the desserts! (My favourite part). I really loved chef’s take on the Shahi tukda with a french toast and almond kulfi. Heavy, but evoked childhood Diwali memories!
#HappyDiwali to everyone! 💥 Hope everyone has a safe & wonderful #Diwali, make sure you have lots of #sweets, even exotic ones like this amazing rendition of Shahi tukda @jaandubai! The ‘tukda’ has been transformed into a French toast and paired with an almond kulfi. YUM! #Blogpost out soon! . . . . . #delish #eeeeeats #nom #omnomnom #dubaiblogger #uaeblogger #dubaifoodblogger #uaefoodblogger #iphoneography #foodography #tasty #huffpostetaste #f52grams #yum #dubaifoodie #feedfeed #DubaiPR #foodie #thatsdarling #zomatouae
To close the evening, I also tried the ‘Nirvana’, which was another beautifully presented dish with a delicate saffron panna cotta and thandai mousse, a tart raspberry sauce and a lovely gold chocolate branch.
Mesmerized by some of the wonderful inventiveness of #progressiveIndian cuisine. Dined @jaandubai last night and was taken aback by the beauty of the contemporary space, impeccable views (the @burjkhalifa included) and the divine food. This is a saffron panna cotta with a berry sauce(with something that tasted distinctly Indian in it) and a chocolate branch. Chef @farrokh_khambata has amazed me at every turn last night. Stay tuned for my complete review! . . . . . #delish #eeeeeats #nom #omnomnom #dubaiblogger #uaeblogger #dubaifoodblogger #uaefoodblogger #iphoneography #foodography #tasty #huffpostetaste #f52grams #yum #dubaifoodie #feedfeed #DubaiPR #foodie #thatsdarling #instagood #flatlay #foodieflatlay #beautifulcuisines #onmytable #foodporn
The staff over at JAAN were courteous and had full knowledge of the menu. Very pleased with their service, overall.
Overall, JAAN at the Penthouse has plenty of hits and a few misses. When you go, I urge you to try the things that you haven’t before at another Progressive Indian restaurant to avoid comparison. You will truly enjoy them.
LOCATION: Penthouse level, Sofitel Downtown Dubai
DISCLOSURE: I was offered a complimentary meal in exchange for this review. However, opinions are my own.
Update: As of May 2022, this establishment has been shut down.