“A fun dining concept, where state-of-the-art food theatrics meet post modern Indian cuisine.” Carnival by Trèsind
Flaming skulls, smoking cocktails and mocktails, creative dessert art, colourful Thai parasols, bubbles and gold gilded trees sums up my first experience at Carnival by Trèsind. Was I actually in a glamourous Dubai restaurant or had I wandered into a magical theatrical wonderland?
The vibrant interior of the restaurant located in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is matched by a menu of reimagined modern Indian street food that is innovative, a creative spectacle for the eyes and tastebuds that embraces the molecular gastronomy trend. The mixology menu is inventive, an interactive show shared between the mixologists and the guests themselves, it’s hard to decide what was more flamboyant, the food or the drinks.
We had been invited to sample some of Carnival’s classic cocktails, bartending techniques and small bites as part of the Early Bird menu specially crafted by bar manager Shreine John. The drinks menu offers guests a medley of different global bartending techniques all bought together under one roof, contemporary mixology that takes century old age drinks and reinvents them using Indian herbs and spices.
The staff are well-trained and knowledgeable, the mixologists are talented creating drink after jaw-dropping drink at the bar or at the table on their portable drinks trolley. True to the Carnival spirit, dramatic drinks were prepared for us with theatrical flare, our drinks were smoking, flaming and paired with botanicals, presented in a variety of glass skulls, teacups, light bulbs, tiki cups and even an oversized ceramic frog. A Hendricks gin based cocktail served in Victorian style teacup, a rum based 1876 Solera and bartenders choice of mocktail with the element of surprise were only the start of a fun-filled evening. We also sampled Burn Bourbon Burn, Seven Spice Mulled Wine, Rum Toddy, The Boiling Skull, 3-Wood Smoked Barrel and the Flaming Ghost Rider.
The playful vibe continues to the menu with dishes such as Game of Corn, a tangy sweetcorn fritter stack disguised under a can and deep fried Lady Fingers (okra). Florets are cauliflower tempura served in a vase as part of a bouquet of pretty pretty accompanied by a sweet chilli and coconut dipping sauce. My fellow bloggers dined on Squidnapped (calamari), Meatalious (grilled lamb chops with mysore masala), Pulliinji, a South Indian dish of ginger caramelised prawns topped with a curry leaf crisp and the Kashmiri-influenced T-bone served with curry sauce, morning glory and fiery onions. I tried the delicious Go Bananas, a deconstructed banoffee pie with toffee panna cotta, cardamom banana ice cream and a piece of delicious caramelised banana served in its skin.
We finished with an experience like no other, the chef turned artist as he created his Gajak masterpiece on the table that had become his canvas. A white plastic sheet was ‘painted’ with chocolate sauces, scattered with caramelised peanuts, edible soil and dehydrated strawberry pieces. A white chocolate sphere was placed in the centre and filled with ice-cream and tiny chocolate brownies topped with liquid nitrogen that blasted us with frozen air, the chef then raised the sphere up and dropped it on the table causing it to smash into pieces and dessert was served! This calorific chaos was too much for three very full diners but we gave it our best shot and enjoyed the theatrical finale to our evening.
The restaurant is low lit with a stunning interior, a creative wonderland littered with quirky details and accessories, a visionary experience that embraces so many ideas that you literally don’t know where to look. Brown tones are offset with the aforementioned gold coloured trees that act as a divide between the different seating areas, a closer look reveals tiny colourful kites randomly strewn across the trees. Each table has its own miniature carousel or metal sheep ornament (well at least I think they were sheep maybe even a goat) and the bar has a tunnel of over six hundred suspended backlit Ciroc vodka bottles that are certainly a talking point. One part of the restaurant has circular booths, another raised section is adorned with coloured paper lights, even the bathrooms are super cool decked out in on trend rose gold.
Carnival by Trèsind is the excitable little sister to the more sophisticated Trèsind (Tres translated as very in French with ind an abbreviation of India) located in the Nassima Royal Hotel on the Sheikh Zayed Road. I’ve only heard good things about this restaurant that takes diners on a fine-dining Indian culinary journey. Award winning Executive Chef Himanshu Saini, a Dubai home-grown chef who has captured the attention of Dubai’s discerning diners, is responsible for the creative input at both concepts. Carnival has many vegetarian options and even has a vegetarian tasting menu along with its regular non-veg fifteen course option.
The cuisine, drinks and decor at Carnival are imaginative, the presentation oozes wow factor whether it’s a starter or a mocktail, a dramatic dessert or a flaming cocktail the attention to detail is just captivating. It’s a dining experience that celebrates ancient Indian traditions and culture, ageless recipes that have been reinvented for the modern age served in a contemporary setting but equally you wouldn’t be surprised to see Willy Wonka or the Mad Hatter appear. The saying goes that you only have one chance to make a first impression, so be prepared to be impressed because if you are looking for a fun filled dining experience Carnival by Trèsind is guaranteed to entertain you.
Carnival by Trèsind
Location: Level POD, Burj Daman, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai
Telephone: 04 421 8665
The Carnival by Trèsind Early Bird menu is available daily from 5pm – 8pm with cocktails starting from just AED 25.
Lunch set menu: Sunday to Thursday from 12 noon to 3:30pm – AED 89++
Thank you Carnival by Trèsind for the opportunity to review and to David for being the designated driver for the evening. The views in this post are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved.