Tresind Studio is an invitation into the innovative mind of award-winning young chef Himanshu Saini
by Aravin Sandran
September 22, 2021
Tresind is renowned in Dubai’s thriving food scene for its modern take on Indian fine dining cuisine. Due to its immense success and growing popularity, it has expanded to include two other dining concepts in recent years: contemporary-casual restaurant Carnival by Tresind in DIFC and the highly exclusive and upcale Tresind Studio, which is tucked behind a discreet door like a speakeasy at the back of Tresind on the second floor of voco Dubai on Sheik Zayed Road.
Seating just about 20 diners, Tresind Studio is an invitation into the innovative mind of award-winning young chef Himanshu Saini.
While the view to the bustling Sheik Zayed Road isn’t great, Tresind Studio more than makes up for it with an extensive menu of 14 courses and nine wines that are introduced by its team of groomed and articulate butlers. On the evening I visited, I was served by Rithin who set the mise-en-scène with confidence.
I was expecting Tresind Studio to be the perfect intimate dining experience for couples, but the restaurant soon became occupied by a diverse cast of diners: a cross-generational family of six, a bougie group of women, and even an adorable mother-and-son duo.
The music defied my assumptions, too. Apparently, the playlist – which comprises tracks by cool tastemakers James Blake and Frank Ocean – was created by one of its Mumbai-based chefs.
Check out the atmospheric playlist as well as my selection of the best dishes of the night below.https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/2AI0agFVWsdrh1RSRQvZo8?si=sHXqUHGuQySdfM7xyvFNXQ&dl_branch=1
At Tresind Studio, the menu always starts with a modern twist on an Indian street food favourite, pani puri. This time around, cumin-scented water was aerated to dramatic effect in a glass sculpture before being poured into a semolina and wheat cup that contained sweet potato and chickpea and rimmed with a halo of edible flowers and preserved lemons. Eaten in one go, it was lit like an exploding firecracker of flavours on the palate, a telling sign of what’s to come.
Up next, it was shisho khakra, a delicate papadam made out of shisho leaves and topped with some yoghurt cremeaux, tangy raw mango chutney and locally sourced garden herbs, which was amusingly served on a living bonsai plant’s concrete planter. While its presentation was a tad over-the-top, its flavours were certainly complex and intriguing.
Ghee Roast Crab
Originating from Mangalore in South India, ghee roast crab is typically made using large chunks of sea crab and served with the shell on. As you can imagine, tucking into an ugly-delicious dish like that with your hands can be a messy affair. At Tresind Studio, under the refined hand of chef Himanshu Saini, the seafood delicacy is delicately placed within a single cinnamon bark and garnished with pretty floral potato crisps. That’s not all; instead of traditional cutlery, I was handed a pair of red tweezers. The spicy-sweet fragrance of the burnt cinnamon coupled with the warm heat of the ghee roast’s masala made the dish an enticing treat for all senses. At the risk of sounding like a complete glutton, I fantasised about eating several more servings with a plate of simple basmati rice.
Kebab Scarpetta With Sourdough Bun and Duck Leg Confit With Peanut Butter Curry
The menu’s final few courses were undoubtedly its most pleasing. From mopping up slow-cooked tender lamb – which was simmering over candlelight – with a fluffy sourdough bun to drenching soft-as-butter duck leg confit in a pool of salty, umami-enhancing peanut butter gravy, the night’s main courses were comforting to both body and soul. These plates were wiped clean, to say the least.
Chocolate Ganache With Miso Caramel Ice-Cream
Indian desserts are tricky. As an Indian myself, I can safely say I’ve had my fair share of sweets that were cloyingly sweet enough to cause a bout of diabetes. What I had at Tresind Studio was far from one dimensional. In fact, they might have been the best at embodying chef Himanshu Saini’s vision of modern and experimental Indian cuisine as well as his team of young chefs’ skilled hands. Take for instance, the ‘Sadhya’ pineapple with coconut and pink peppercorn payasam, mango pickle and poppadum, which delivered a sweet heat unlike any other desserts I’ve tried in recent memory as well as an enjoyable mouthfeel with its harmony of soft and crisp textures. The last course of the night, a chocolate ganache and miso caramel ice-cream with a filter coffee cornetto was just as impressive. Pleasantly surprising on the palate and pleasing to the eye – the night couldn’t have concluded on a higher note.
level 2, voco Hotel – Sheikh Zayed Rd – Dubai