Greens Al Madina in Academic City is one of those Jack-of-all-trades restaurants which has a super glossy menu that includes everything from burgers to Chinese to biryani and kebabs. Oh, and of course Indian – south, north, east and west – you name it, they’ve got it. Its interior is typical of dozens of similar restaurants dotting the Dubai culinary landscape and includes sections for fast food (burgers, shawarmas, juices, etc.), proper meals and even a family section.
I was there to try its South Indian breakfast and, at 08:00 on a Friday morning, was one of the first diners to walk in. On my approach to the restaurant I noticed several labourers and a municipality sweeper sipping away their morning sleepiness with small paper cups of 1 Dirham tea they had bought through a window to the kitchen. Only one person ventured in during the time I was there…and ordered exactly the same thing.
Their serving of Idli-Vada is generous and includes no less than three idlis and a vada. My order arrived on a melamine plate which was almost too hot to hold, a nice touch I thought until I realised the heat was most probably from the idlis/vada being warmed in a microwave oven – hmm. The sambar was only lukewarm suggesting I was right. It wasn’t very good either, something I find inexcusable for a restaurant in which everyone was speaking Malayalam. The coconut chutney was only slightly better.
I was surprised at how much of my triangular masala dosa I finished because my initial reaction to the limpness of the dosa and the almost fluid consistency of its potato masala interior was – oh dear (I actually used another four-letter word). But it tasted good and worked well with the chutney (the sambar was the same).
An overdressed and very polite young man, obviously the restaurant manager, looked after me from the minute I walked in. I appreciated the fact that he allowed me to nag about sambar; he looked and sounded genuine when he said he’d speak to the kitchen about it. I am in search of places within a 20-minute drive from Arabian Ranches to have my weekend South Indian breakfast at. Barsha certainly has a couple of solid contenders. So does Discovery Gardens and Silicone Oasis. Representing Academic City, Greens Al Madina was okay, but I obviously need to keep searching…and so should you.
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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 email@example.com.