So I finally got to try the (somewhat over-)hyped Moombai & Co. last weekend. I was invited to dine as a guest, and they were generous enough to warmly welcome me and my friends, but as always, my review will be honest and unbiased.
Was Moombai & Co. a mind-blowing, amazing experience? Not quite. Was it a regrettable one? Not at all. I’m glad I went, for I got to meet my friends and treat them to a good time (because when is it not a good time when I’m around, am I right?), and more importantly, I got to have some really good food, including the BESSSST okra in town. You guys, this was the okra of my dreams. This was the okra my grandmother used to make!
Let’s talk about the extremely over-hyped bit now: the atmosphere. The “OMG this place is SO MUCH FUN” reviews really raised my expectations, and I geared my friends up for a super fun night out on town. We were…underwhelmed. Moombai & Co. really isn’t as fun as it seems on social media. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not Indian, and the old school songs weren’t doing anything for us, let alone flooding us with waves of nostalgia that never was, but we didn’t enjoy the music at all.
- The Okra. Oh dear God the okra. Fried to a perfect crisp and then mixed in with soft,caramelized onions, this okra was the Okra Of My Dreams. Paired with the pomegranate yogurt, this would be my pick for last meal if I were ever on death row.
- The Butter Chicken. Butter chicken is something I almost never order because (a) it’s not really even an Indian dish, it was created by the British and (b) it’s too cliché- I like trying new things. We were told this Butter Chicken is different though, and it really was. I would go so far as saying this was one of the best Butter Chickens I’ve ever had. The secret ingredient: cardamom. Well, that’s what my self-proclaimed expert tastebuds detected for to be the distinguishing feature.
- The grills were all excellent. From the fish, through the chicken to the seekh kebabs, everything was nicely seasoned, perfectly cooked, juicy and tender.
- The corn and green mango salad. Now I know what to do with pesky canned corn at home.
- The pomegranate raita. I loved the refreshing bite from the pomegranate arils and the textural contrast they provided.
- Nalli Nihari. I don’t do anything lamb/goat related, but my trusted compadres who eat a lot of nihari were pretty pleased with this.
- The kulfi platter. Expensive but a crowd pleaser.
- The Gulab Jamun- done right. Good to share between two.
- It was a full house. For a place that opened not too long ago, it’s a very good sign to see the place packed and bustling
- Prices were mostly reasonable. The okra of my dreams was only for AED 45 and and the portion size was decent too!
- The poppadums were half stale and half fresh. Almost as if they mixed some of last night’s leftovers with some of the fresh stock from today. Not cool.
- The bhel puri was super soggy and stale, and not from being left out for too long. Easily the worst bhel puri I’ve ever had.
- The nihari was way overpriced. At AED 130, I would have like to see a much larger serving portion, and a lot more gravy. Gravy is the most fun part of nihari, right?
- The lighting. There’s moody lighting and then there’s “I need a flashlight to see what I’me eating”. Where we were sitting, it was a case of the latter
- The dhol dhamaal. It was way too loud for way too small of a space and came across as super forced. Then again, I’m the grouch who hates the African dances at Tribes, and denies it being her birthday because nothing is worse than the entire staff singing clapping and dancing “happy birthday”. I just want the free cake, discreetly, with no shenanigans, that’s all I ask for. That’s not too much to ask for, right?
- The seating. We were a party of 7, and we had to be seated either on the high chairs, or on two round tables joined together. I couldn’t pick the high chaired table because I’m short and have to keep getting up to take pictures, so we picked the round tables. Round tables don’t join well together….at all. So it was like our party of 7 was divided into two parties of 3 and 4, with food being passed back and fourth.
- The mocktails: I tried the Nimbu Paani, and the Kaala Khatta Gola. Absolutely hated both of them.
- The eggs on the Okra Of My Dreams were undercooked and the whites were runny.
Would I be going back to Moombai & Co.? Honestly, if these guys tied up with Deliveroo or Uber Eats, I’d much rather order in from them, because the atmosphere really didn’t do much for me. The food however, for the most part was quite delicious.