High above DIFC, it could be one of the places to celebrate Diwali this autumn.
Long before the food touches down, however, it’s hard not to be wowed by the low-lit chic on entering Mint Leaf.
A long bar runs the length of the main room with a mix of seating allowing for cozy couples or larger groups.
Set midway up the south of the Emirates Financial Towers, this is a spacious but well-crafted place to unwind, feed and while a night away while gazing out at the Burj Khalifa and rush-hour traffic.
And from late last month chefs at the fine-dining venue have been finding inspiration in the Hindu Festival of Lights with a Diwali-fired menu that introduces a few delights perhaps less familiar to Western palates.
Treated to a special preview of their enticing three-course menu, the starters alone proved to be a winning mix of taste and texture, with the Lasooni Jheenga Anarkali among the stars of the show.
These roasted tiger prawns are taken to another level by a robust coating of crushed garlic and pomegranate seeds.
Hot on their tails and sharing a taster plate of all six starters, the Aloo Tikki Chana Chaat – mint and potato cake with chickpeas – is a habit we could happily form. Likewise the Dahi Ke Kebab (ginger and yoghurt cake) and Chilli Paneer Tikka (cheese embossed with coriander and green chilli).
With Gilafi Seekh Kebab (minced lamb skewers with a subtle peppery coating) and Zaffrani Murgh Tikka (tandoori chicken tikka with a saffron cream) completing the selection, it’s tempting to simply order the same again and skip mains.
The five lentil stew Dal Panchmel feels almost as naughty for the waistline as the spring onion-enhanced silky Paneer Hara Pyaaz but when the quality is this high those extra gym minutes will seem worth it.
Mint Leaf also prides itself on some great drinks options and the look alone of the non-alcoholic Julep – this sweet, refreshing liquid languishing in crushed ice within a decorative chalice-like cup smothered in ice – make being driver for the night not such a bad option.
Also, avoiding those alcohol calories mean you can indulge dessert.
More often than not a less than essential part of an Indian restaurant menu, at Mint Leaf they use imagination to make it worth a look – and a try.
A moreish Pistachio Ice Cream sits pretty alongside a sweet Rasguila milk sponge and a Gajar Hawla Tart of fudge moistened by carrot to give it a vivid colour.
While those used to more rugged venues for their dishes from the sub continent might find the designer prospect of Mint Leaf incongruous, the reality is well prepared and executed dishes in an environment that is meritorious in its indulgence.
The starters and desserts alone cry out for a classy setting.
Add in more lamps and decorations beside the dark wooden walls and this could be a Diwali that more than your taste buds will remember.
THE special Diwali menu costs AED225 per person and features until the day of Diwali on November 11.
TO make a reservation at Mint Leaf call 04 706 0900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TO keep in touch with Mint Leaf’s calendar of events, including their enticing brunch options, visit www.mintleafgroup.com