Chawla’s² in JLT has left me with something of a dilemma. It started when I had the back of my hand smacked by Zomato for making comments suggesting that Chawla’s in Meena Bazaar is the original, official branch of Chawla’s from India when in fact, it seems that Chawla’s² is. And here lies the dilemma, after trying both, it’s the one in Meena Bazaar which I like more. MUCH more; chalk and cheese more. In fact there’s is nothing I had at Chawla’s² which came remotely close to Chawla’s Meena Bazaar. There, I’ve said it and my conscience is clear.
Chawla’s² is one of a growing number of really good Indian restaurants in JLT. It joins such respectable propositions as Memsaab Curry & Tandoor, Delhi Darbar and my favourite Parsi restaurant, Café Funkie Town. I found the interior a strained effort at being modern and traditional at the same time. The food though was good with sparks of brilliance coming from the excellent Mutton Rara and a hearty Daal Makhani, by far the most popular dish in our order. But the Butter Chicken was hugely disappointing. Sadly the dry Tandoori Chicken we started with was not much better – surprising, as the main forte of Chawla’s has always been its chicken.
Service was very good not least because friendly franchise owner Arvinder was on hand. In fact he was kind enough to visit our table and talk us through some of his experiences. I love the passion some restaurant owners have. It can be as delicious as their food. Chawla’s² is most certainly one of the better Indian restaurants in JLT and is obviously doing very well. That said, I prefer Café Funkie Town and Delhi Darbar by a cluster mile. I will however return to Chawla’s, be it the one in Meena Bazaar which I consider one of the best Indian restaurants in Dubai.