Indian By Nature or IBN is a vegetarian “pan-Indian” restaurant with a gourmet touch (whatever that means). Located on the Woodlands end of Street 20 B in Karama, its interior is saved from mediocrity by the bright blue motifs on its walls and a flotilla of colourful chairs. A dedicated chaat counter takes pride of place at the entrance and, I am happy to report, serves chaat for lunch – not like the majority of places which only serve chaat in the evening.
Chaat is therefore what we started with – the Chaat Platter to be specific. Comprising of Bhel Puri, Pani Puri and Dahi Vada, it gives you the basics for a very reasonable Dhs 20. My Mumbaikar guest, who was doing the ordering, agreed that the chaat was very good, very authentic. In fact, we liked the Imli Pani (the spiced water one fills the pani puri with) so much that we ordered three glasses of it to drink as one would Jal-jeera – yuuuuuummmmm! I was surprised the restaurant agreed. A Masala Papad followed. It was loaded with everything but pungency. I liked it nonetheless.
Our mains were hardly anything, a Dilli ka Sabz Tawa Masala from their Signature Collection, an Andhra Tomato Pappu or Tomato Daal and a Bhindi Masala. No rice, we chose their generously buttered Phulka instead (phulka is like a smaller puffy chapati). The tawa vegetables were perfectly fried so they were cooked through but still had bite and crunch; they were served in a thick, tangy, almost tikka masala like sauce which we went through like it was our last meal. The daal was divine as was the bhindi. All three are dishes I will order again when I return.
We had a number of desserts but the Jalebi Rabri was just on a different level from everything else. So much so that @mansoormadani ordered another to take home. Anything with rabri is good but no words can express how amazing the still hot from being freshly fried jalebis were when dunked into the rabri – oof!
Service at IBN was friendly, attentive and hugely accommodating. I can safely say that all of us left the restaurant very happy indeed. Although I am a hard core carnivore, I have no hesitation in recommending this amazing 100% vegetarian restaurant – definitely worth a visit.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) 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 his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.