Kovalam is an all-rounder Indian restaurant in desperate need of a redecoration. Located at the backend of the lobby of the venerable President Hotel on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road on the fringe of Karama, even its small (and I am told lively) bar does little to brighten an otherwise dark, dreary and rather depressing interior. It’s all good new from there on though because Kovalam is one of the few restaurants in town where you can have Kingfisher draft with your curry.
Very much the all-rounder, Kovalam boasts a thick menu full of Indian specialities from the north and south, veg and non-veg. We started with a mediocre version of my favourite Indian soup, Mulligatawny, before moving on a superb (must try) Tawa Fried Pomfret which, at Dhs50 is a little expensive. Keeping with our seafood theme we also ordered a Goan Prawn Curry which wasn’t as good as Eric’s but wasn’t bad either. Our waiter treated our Mutton Matka Dum Biriyani as pièce de résistance of our meal, bringing it and serving it with much fanfare. Indeed, it is good but the pomfret and Dal Makhani were my favourites. I liked the Bhindi Fry too.
Service was as disappointing as the décor. No one was at the door to greet us. In fact, we had to find someone to seat us. Friendly smiles promised much but, in the end, I found the staff unmotivated, inattentive, lethargic and disoriented at best. Even during order taking, no one bothered to inform us of their much talked about combo meals and food/drink options; happy to let us rack up a Dhs400 bill for two. And that’s sad because, food (and drink) wise, this restaurant has a lot going for it. But for those kind of prices Karama has so much more to offer.
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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.