Gifto’s Of London is a Pakistani restaurant franchise specialising in Lahori cuisine which comes to us in Dubai from Southall, London. Confused? Don’t be because none of all that matters once the food is served. Located near the Marina Gate Spinney’s overlooking the beautiful Dubai Marina, the interior of Gifto’s Dubai is a lot more upmarket than its London brethren. It has a dedicated, glass encased kabab section as you enter followed by a discrete chaat counter, and a dining area which reminded me a little of Asha’s at Wafi when it first opened.
Chaat on the menu meant we could only start with Pani Puri, the perfect cooler in this weather. We followed that up with a rather saltless Onion Bhajiya. Our mains consisted of Karahi Gosht (boneless because they didn’t have on-the-bone available), Butter Chicken and i. For our carbs we ordered a plain rice, plain naan and their excellent, must try Peshawari naan.
The pani puri is served with the masala stuffed puri on top of a chilled shot glass of pani. The first thing you notice is that the puri ball is made of the different ingredient to what we are used to in Dubai, making it a little harder, more robust. But the water, the golgappe ka pani, was spot on; although didn’t include the date-tamarind sweetener we have here. It was good to try but I’ll stick to my Karama pani puri.
The best of our mains was the Karahi Gosht which reminded me a lot of Delhi Darbar’s Dabba Gosht – a big compliment. The butter chicken was good, the chicken soft and tender, and the sauce creamy BUT it wasn’t butter chicken and that’s because they didn’t use chicken tikka or tandoori. Interestingly the butter chicken at Ravi’s is very much the same. What they call bhindi bhaji is actually bhindi masala and it’s very good if, like me, you like okra or lady’s fingers.
I found the staff that Gifto’s genuinely friendly and hugely accommodating. In an attempt (I assume) to get quality and service on par with their London branch, they’ve actually brought in one of their chefs and a manager from Southall. Well, my Londoner food buddy Soheil (who invited me to Gifto’s), was convinced after our meal that what you get here in Dubai is very much the same as in London.
So, if it’s a milder Indo-Pakistani you’re looking for than the authentic hard-core stuff we get out here, this may very well be the place for 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.