Review: Tresind Studio, Season 3, Dubai: May Be Its Best
Trésind Studio: Season 3 May Be The Best
Trésind Studio, Level 2, voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Season 3 tasting menu, 16 courses, 1 cocktail, white and red wine, AED708 excluding service (US$193, €180, £166).
Impeccable and informed service
Act One: street food starters
Mains: Black pepper lamb chop, wagyu korma and kasundi scallop
One of Dubai’s best cocktail menus
Some courses slightly misfire
Trésind Studio: Season 3: The Experience
Restaurants up and down the UAE are bracing themselves for one of the most difficult periods as customers are, rightly, socially distant. The countless hours that the whole team invests only to be scuppered by germs. Trésind Studio, like so many, deserves better than this and yet here we are.
Strange new habits
Trésind Studio: Seasons 3 – Sasya
The decisive focus on vegetables is on trend as diners are consumed with doubt-meets-guilt about the sustainability of insatiable meat eating. Inked dedicated a season to Ugly Vegetables and meat substitutes are soaring in popularity. Mrs EatGoSee and I decidedly reduced our meat intake due to animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Some recent restaurant excursions often resulted in dishes tasting like sawdust and regret.
Trésind Studio: The Menu
I wish Mrs EatGoSee or EatGoSee Snr joined me for so many reasons but not least of all because one of us could order the vegetarian menu. You know, purely for selfless research purposes.
I wish Mrs EatGoSee or EatGoSee Snr joined me for so many reasons but not least of all because one of us could order the vegetarian menu. You know, purely for selfless research purposes. These highlights are somewhat nostalgic now sitting in self-isolation looking back on one of the best meals so far in 2020. The fear brewing slower than a cold drip that… could it be the last meal out in 2020? Don’t be so dramatic, I tell myself.
I toiled with the idea of discussing each dish presented by the highly-capable, engaging and well-briefed staff. This started to smell perilously close to when someone sits you down to a torrid tour of their holiday snaps. You know those people. Yup, they took photos of the all you can eat breakfast: every morning.
I will spare you. Enjoy the highlights.
Trésind Studio, Act One: Amuse Bouche Starters
Act One kicks off with my favourite aspects of Indian food: street food. However, Trésind Studio’s street food is more Emirates Hills meets Knightsbridge than Chandni Chowk. Street food is delicious, peaks into people’s lives and culture plus sparks Kondo-like joy. Act One delivers a quartet of street food style morsels in quick succession. We are escorted towards the chef’s table where a cornucopia of herbs and vegetables form a bed from which our amuse bouche-sized starters are served. The notion of communal, huddled dining around street food lingers even within these finely curated environs. This is also the opportunity to meet the chefs and engage with them directly from the start of the menu as they explain dishes and create them in front of you. Here, you are invited to peek inside of Wonka‘s chocolate factory meaning one does not turn it down.
An arugula pani puri with feta and pear kicks off proceedings smashing the ground with a bright jolt of grassiness and pepper. A mix of crunch and sweet rushes forth as you pop a pani puri in one bite. I am weak to the sight of a classic pani puri and this one truly excels.
A pumpkin ghewar, sage, chilli with house mango pickle is another strong contender. This slow-cooked pumpkin tart slick with ghee serves more crunch with familiar autumnal notes. The maple-like pumpkin is lifted with the vibrancy that pickled mango brings. This is comfort food sharply smartened up and told to stop slouching. The starters are rounded off by a medu vada with curry leaf pesto (a lentil fritter) that is a warm, toasty and cheesy and a vegan patrani oyster leaf with sea salt dragged through a coating of galangal, Dutch sea salt, coconut and Thai chilli.
Acts Two to Three
A savoury guchichi meringue-like macaroon is served on top of a clear chamber of black pepper-laced mushroom kahwa. Guchichi (pronounced gucci, like the label) is a rare mushroom found in the Kashmiri region not dissimilar to a morel. I am instructed to inhale the meringue which collapses and fizzles on the tongue. A pungent unmistakable taste of mushroom supported by a sliver of black truffle and a crisp coin of lettuce. This is the remorseless love child of a French macaroon and a tasty mushroom-packed slider.
A kasundi scallop in miso and rice vinegar is served gloriously in its shell adorned with a pea shoot. It’s a pretty dish of pleated scallop shell featuring a plump pale scallop bathing in a pool of rusty Bengali Kasundi mustard sauce. The kasundi mustard punches but lovingly wraps around a beautifully-bouncy scallop. The pea shoot adds a subtle peppery note and the miso plays to the sweetness of the scallop rescuing it from the stronger elements of the dish. The ninth course brings what EatGoSee Snr would regard as the first real meat course. I do not miss meat at all during this meal. The experimental interaction of spices and a vegetable-forward menu is punctured with two seafood courses so far. The black pepper lamb chop with masala bonda arrives on a slate-like plate. The tandoori lamb is coated is a lacquer-glossy marinade jewelled with verdant scallions. It’s smooth, soft and oh the spice builds gently creeping up on you like a ghost. I regret lacking the courage to gnaw the bone clean if it was not for the table of four within a compliant two metres of me.
Swiftly the lamb chop is followed with the second meat dish of the evening. A striking wagyu truffle korma is the kind of effortlessly-looking feast for the eyes that two weeks of cooking at home taught me takes serious skill. A black plate contrasts against a brilliant yellow korma sauce and a parasol leaf shading two slabs of wagyu beef spiked with grated black truffle. A hit of truffle to the nose first followed by a mouthful of juicy but slightly tense beef. The beef and truffle fight under a duvet of rich korma all of whom diplomatically agree to get along.
Finally, no dinner at Trésind Studio is complete without a touch of flair and drama. The dinner is topped and tailed with its signature plumb white smoke, dry ice and herbaceous aromatics to open your senses. I look forward to this each sitting with child-like anticipation. I still enjoy a bit of fun whenever I go out. The honeymoon with kangchenjunga tea course turns out all the lights on the Studio floor against a track of Frank Sintra’s dulcet tones. Sure it is a bit of kitsch but, like my quarantine, this too shall pass. It reminds me of Helga’s gramophone piping Billie Holiday in Kandy’s lush hillside.
Trésind Studio: Does it Hit Or Miss?
Much like my dinner at Gaa, sixteen courses is a generous stretch without reasonable people quibbling over whether something truly works. Trésind Studio is a laboratory to experiment, innovate and, well, to just go there. Sometimes it means a dish just does not work or we are only seeing a snapshot of a dish on its way to greatness. The crab ghee roast with burnt cinnamon is served in cinnamon bark topped with cheese and tempura curry leaves. Much like a school play, it’s charming but there is far too much going on here. The subtle sweetness of king crab overtaken by cheese and spice. The kasundi scallop dish better achieves that knife-edge balance of marrying subtle seafood with robust flavours.
The guchichi mushroom meringue is paired with a kahwa laced with a heavy streak of black pepper. It leaves me nostalgic for the delicate mushroom chai latte in Trésind Studio’s sister adjacent restaurant, Trésind. It’s a divisive dish where less could be more. The memorable wagyu truffle korma harks back to the first Studio menu’s comfort hallmarks. Is there a menu in Dubai without wagyu? A slow-cooked short rib, oxtail or even beef cheek would lean into this soul-warming course more so than its current execution.
The sweet celeriac tart is a hand-holding transition into sweet dishes visibly reminiscent of a shallot tart tatin. A toasty autumnal dish with hazelnuts where the celeriac needs more caramelisation and the black garlic ice cream comes through like a Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball smashing everything in its path. It’s a tale of two dishes and each needs counselling.
More so than anything else, I encourage the team to put together a wine pairing option with their tasting menu as this feels like a missed trick.
Would I Come Back To Trésind Studio?
I would be back as soon as Trésind Studio re-opens its doors (currently closed due to lockdown restrictions). Their rum-based old fashioned beckons.
Should You Come to Trésind Studio?
Yes and for so many reasons. Trésind Studio plays at the tip of the zeitgeist more so than most Dubai restaurants executing with finesse more often than not. The service remains impeccable and the cocktails innovative at the hands of one of Dubai’s best mixologists. The refreshed menu keeps the intrigue coupled with an intimate setting with a small number of covers. If you enjoy modern interpretations of classics or curious about the breadth under the umbrella of Indian cuisine, you should get yourself here.