4 great places to get butter chicken in Dubai
Chris Pratt has rapped about it and Lady Gaga gorges on the stuff. But where does the creamy, fragrant, rich-red dish known as Butter Chicken – or Murgh Makhani – come from? That would be a sweet shop called Mukhey da Dhaba in Peshawar, India. When owner Mokha Singh’s health deteriorated, he sold the shop to Kundan Lal Gujral who, in 1948, realised that chicken suspended on seekhs (skewers) above a tandoor (oven) were bound to get dry. So, Gujral whipped up a basic gravy made of tomatoes, butter, cream and spices in which to bathe the drying chicken pieces, and butter chicken was born. Simple, really. Here’s where to find the good stuff in Dubai.
A new kid on the culinary block, this whimsical café boasts more than just old-school nostalgia. Inspired by Mumbai’s Irani-Parsi cafes, its curries are gawp worthy, with its butter chicken the shining star. For this aromatic dish, chicken thigh is cooked in a clay oven before being simmered in tomato and fenugreek leaves. The result is a decadent, gravy-rich dish that’s ideally mopped up with a roti, a thin whole-wheat bread cooked on a cast-iron griddle with ghee. There’s also the garlic and cheese naan if you want something a bit naughty. It’s filled with gooey cheese and crusted with garlic.
Where: Moombai & Co Cafe & Bar, H Hotel
Contact: +971 4 501 8607, website
We think this delicate-flavoured beauty is as popular as it is thanks to both its texture and how gorgeous it looks languishing in its bowl with a chilli on top. Not only does it feature the tasty must-have spices that make butter chicken a dish to remember forever and ever, this one’s cashew-nuts-meets-sugar-cream sauce takes things up a notch. If you’re looking for flavour that’ll blow your socks off, ask the chef to make it fiery, or keep things cool with a milder flavour. This dish comes with a side of bread or rice, so if you’ve been having a bad week – or year – you’ve got incredible carbs to comfort yourself.
Where: Galeries Lafayette, Le Gourmet, City Walk
Contact: +971 4 339 9933, website
Chicken Tikka Meatball with Butter Gravy
Just a heads-up: you’ll probably be impressed before you’ve even taken a bite of this dish. Start off by being transported to the venue in a golf cart and – when you arrive – be blown away by traditional interiors, from turquoise-blue walls to gold-patterned pillars, mirrors to Rajasthani motifs. Kick start your meal with the star of the show: chicken cooked old-school tikka style and as tender as Taylor Swift’s heart after a break up. It comes served in a warming tomato-based butter-and-cream gravy that, we reckon, the pop star would write a great song about.
Where: Jodhpur, Roda Al Murooj
Contact: +971 4 355 9846
If you want the moreish, traditional flavour of butter chicken in a fine-dining establishment, this is it. This cream-drizzled stunner sees boneless char-grilled chicken pieces simmered in a cream-and-butter infused tomato gravy that you’ll be forgiven for wanting to bathe in (once it’s cooled down, of course). Choose your sides – a naan to mop up your sauce with – before ordering a lot of dessert. We particularly enjoyed the Assortment
of Kulfi featuring mango, saffron, cream and pistachio ice-cream, and the Rasmalai, saffron-flavoured milk dumplings poached in sweetened milk sauce with nut slivers.
Where: Mahec, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre
Contact: +971 4 702 2615, website