Gazebo is an upmarket India restaurant franchise on an expansion rampage. Specialising in Mughlai cuisine, they are particularly famous for their dum pukht (slow oven cooking) and biryanis. This new JLT branch brings the number of their branches to a magic dozen. Located in a stand-alone building on the opposite, park side of Clusters O and P, this Gazebo branch may very well be their flagship – it’s big, incorporating indoor and outdoor dining areas, and handsomely decorated. Note, there’s (usually) plenty of parking on the park side if you don’t want to park in the crowded clusters.
The food at Gazebo has always been good. If you are not a vegetarian, by default order a Hyderabadi Mutton Dum Biryani – it’s literally what put these people on the map and comes served in an earthy clay pot with a giant bread-bubble lid – superb. The other must order is their slow-cooked Daal Makhani, although they call it Daal-e Khaas or special daal. It’s very, very yummy. The Tandoori Chicken is good too but won’t win any awards.
To me, the food at Gazebo can be temperamental at times. A case in point was the Aloo Palak today. Usually a hit, theirs came in a pureed spinach sauce (like Palak Paneer) which was so peculiar tasting no one touched it. The Aatishe Jhinga Masala should have translated to grilled jumbo prawns cooked in a rich tomato and cashew gravy with spices yet there was nothing remotely jumbo about the prawns nor did anyone at our table appreciate the raw onions in the gravy. Teething problems? At your twelfth branch – really?
I did not appreciate having to pay for the papads at the start of our meal either, especially when our meal for three came to a cool AED400 (with tip). Sadly, this is what happens when the bean counters take over as businesses grow. They forget that for every one branch of theirs there are probably a hundred similar restaurants vying for our custom, each offering complimentary munchies of some sort. Boo! The other thing which really got my goat was the tea we ordered being served with a teabag still in the teacup – come on.
Service was friendly (ish) and prompt. So, at the end of the day, I think Gazebo is a very decent option for someone looking to have a good Indian meal in JLT. It’s clean-cut, well decorated and has a couple of hero dishes like its biriyani. Is it the best? I’ll let you be the judge of that. I, however, will stick with my old favourites like Café Funkie Town, Delhi Darbar and Memsaab’s the next time my curry pangs come a calling…
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.