Review: Tresind Studio Season 5 Le Jardind, Dubai: Tresind’s Best Yet?
Tresind Studio Season 5 Le Jardind: Tresind’s Best Yet?
Tresind Studio, Season 5 Tasting Menu, Le Jardind, 13 courses, non-vegetarian and vegetarian menus, AED350 per person (US$95, £73, EUR82). Tresind Studio, Level 2, voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. +971588951272, https://tresindstudio.com/.
Written by EatGoSee / Other Eat & Tresind Reviews available here.
Well-priced tasting menu given the food quality and number of courses
Strong starters including cucumber gazpacho pani puri and squash blossom and pumpkin mash chaat
Still one of the best restaurant service teams in Dubai
Refinement of staple dishes like butter chicken and wagyu beef korma
The desserts lack punch
The braised lamb main course needs further work
Tresind Studio’s new seasons and new menus excite me as the kitchen is prolifically innovative. 2020 may be Tresind Studio’s most productive year successfully launching two seasons launched in the last 12 months during the small matter of a worldwide pandemic. Let’s just say I am a fan having been to Season 1, Season 3 (Sasya) and the most recent Season 4 (Food Truck). Would this latest season complete a hat trick of seasons?
I feel the surge of anticipation rise counting down the days to Le Jardind, Tresind Studio’s latest menu making it Season Five.
Yet, Tresind Studio is not perfect. Without referring to Tresind Studio, Courtney Brandt of AtoZaatar and I discuss at length how many courses need to be great or good to make a tasting menu worth it. Sure, such discussions only amuse food cognoscenti. Tresind Studio’s previous seasons showed occasional blemishes. I suspect their ambitious 15+ tasting course menus could be to blame. Like a deluxe album, not all tracks are bangers and some songs middle along just to carry you through to the end.
Would Le Jardind be different? Would Tresind Studio reflect, focus and deliver?
Arriving for Tresind Studio’s Season 5 Le Jardind
The decor is tranquil and airy. Low lighting sets the mood. Pops of colour peppered around the room with English mustard-yellow chairs and bonsai-like potted plants as wall decorations. The white table cloth and suited service return reinforcing the special occasion sentiment that defines Tresind Studio’s smaller seater restaurant. Tresind Studio is formal in appearance but smart casual in mood. Gone are the signs of the Food Truck Season 4 save for the Kung Fu Panda towards the kitchen. Artefacts from seasons gone by to amuse repeat customers like me.
Tresind Studio’s Season 5 Menu
The menu’s constraints of structure are dissolved. “Tresindites” (I hope the phrase catches on) know the kitchen’s familiar four acts menu structure well. Le Jardind’s menu is assembled without these stage gates and, instead, the menu’s flow escorts you course by course without the formality of the ‘act’ signposts.
Tresind Studio’s Le Jardind courses
I love a bit of chaat, and our chaat starter courses are some of the most charming courses all evening. A crisp pani puri filled with cucumber gazpacho is a dramatic start to proceedings. The fragrant cucumber gazpacho awakens the senses cooled by a rim of greek yoghurt and fresh dill sprigs. A slight carbonation in the gazpacho (from the dry ice?) is not unpleasant. This starter and standout dish doubles as an amuse-bouche. This is a star dish.
Our trio of chaat is rounded off with malay khakra with a raw mango pesto, Indian ricotta and garden herbs and a chaat of courgette blossom and pumpkin mash, tamarind, chutney and yoghurt. The malay khakra picks up where the pani puri left off with a herbaceous, grassy punch as spice unfolds soothed by a smear of soft ricotta that wraps around the mouth. Our last courgette blossom chaat is a spectacle of colour and emblematic of the Le Jardind proposition. At first, spice rolls forward with the contrast of a crunchy crust that collapses to reveal a sweet, soft pumpkin mash amplified by the brightness of tamarind and fresh coriander herb.
These chaat starters underscore both the beauty of modern Indian food and the sheer joy of plant-based eating.
The kitchen introduces another trio of courses after our chaat starters. These are some of the most visually striking courses but leans towards restraint and subtlety vs the chaat courses’ thud Previous Seasons confirmed that Tresind Studio dances nimbly in areas of excess: big flavours, spice and presentation. Subtlety and restraint requires different footwork.
These courses are those carrier courses in the overall arch of the menu. “Carrier courses” is not a pejorative smear. You need these courses to chaperone the diner between peaks while being enjoyable.
A soft corn waffle is toasty, pillowy, sweet and creeps in with a lick of heat (but, perhaps, underseasoned). The corn waffle is the first sign of comfort food and feels warmer, more autumnal than previous courses. Step forward the turnip galoti tart equally autumnal purring with a subtle, woody clove and star anise and impossibly beautifully anointed with marigold and nasturtium leaf. The toasty achappam is a latticed tapioca rice flour cookie that breaks away from its more modest predecessors tilting slightly sweet supported with drips of parmesan ice cream and beads of fig.
Tresind Studio Le Jardind turns towards the main courses
The Jardind menu starts to show the differences between the vegetarian and non-vegetarian menu from this point on. Our non-vegetarian consommé course leans into comfort food with a deeply rich butter chicken broth that tastes like the cure to the common cold. This consommé is paired with a glistening butter chicken kebab rich with a satisfying charred depth of flavour. The chicken consommé is an elevated version of the butter chicken from Season Four’s butter chicken. This is a standout course evolving from its comfort food origins towards a refined version that still consoles the soul. The vegetarian consommé with a grilled king oyster skewer is light and fragrant with a mushroom tea that stirs fond memories of Tresind’s legendary mushroom chai latte.
The wagyu beef korma returns renovated and invigorated. A modest slab of wagyu beef is dusted with black truffle encircled by a potato crisp in a puddle of fork-lickingly good mustard korma sauce. This is a standout dish, earthy depth from the truffle and crunchy potato. The spice long stays like a welcomed guest. The vegetarian course replaces the wagyu beef with a hearty potato dauphinoise.
The main course, sadly, does not land favourably and breaks an otherwise successful chain of courses. The braised lamb with chickpea, daikon and balloon breads is a divisive course that lacks the fastidious attention to detail demonstrated in earlier courses. The paratha bread is brittle, dry and lacks the buttery moorish unctuousness you long for between flaky layers. One person in the group noted the lamb was oversalted. I marginally prefer the pickled chickpea with cauliflower to its meaty braised lamb counterpart, although the spice levels will be divisive for some.
Tresind Studio desserts
Tresind’s three sweet dessert courses feature two dishes from previous menus including the playful cold coffee pebble and the honey truffle cake served over the glowing moon with a hot Kanchenjunga tea as an aside. These familiar friends are welcomed but do not benefit from a second-generation development like butter chicken or wagyu beef korma. A trick is missed.
A chilled, refreshing tender coconut with pink peppercorn ice cream arrives with a side of banana choux. The milky cooling ice cream builds a tongue-pleasing spice but the choux is dry and too sweet to pair with the more perfumed tender coconut and peppercorn ice cream.
I like the desserts, but I do not love them. I firmly believe dessert is the last act of kindness that a kitchen sends out to its guests. Joy is so intrinsically coupled with dessert that one is not successful without the other. Le Jardind’s desserts lack that toe-curling, bow your head in disbelief joy. I encourage the kitchen to return. Indian food is spoiled for notable sweet treats made from pistachio, kulfi, dum phukt-style cooking, mango, cardamom and hearty North Indian puddings. There is plenty of fertile ground for a truly Tresind-class finish to their tasting menu.
Would I Go Back To Tresind Studio?
A rhetorical question: this is my fourth out of the five seasons at Tresind Studio. I am already booked to go back with a friend for Round 2.
Diners should ask whether there are enough good-to-great courses to justify coming for a tasting menu that will set you back AED350. The first nine of thirteen courses are good-to-great with standout dishes and a reappearance of future classic dishes. I encourage Tresind Studio innovating on a big and small scale. I want to see new dishes appear on the menu but the evolution of old favourites like the wagyu beef korma is heartening and I enjoy this journey. I encourage Tresind to lean forward, boldly.
You could finish at the wagyu beef korma, put down your napkin, pay the bill and walk away, pleased. The latter third of Season Five lacks the strength of the previous courses. The punch of the chaat starters is not replicated. The menu experience starts with exuberance and slows to a middling. Tresind Studio should continue to refine Season Five. The braised lamb dish should be re-imagined especially the desserts and re-imagine the braised lamb dish.
Who Should Go To Tresind Studio Season 5 Le Jardind?
Diners who enjoy modern dining, Indian food and/or enjoy concept dining should consider coming. It is suitable for solo diners, couples and small groups (subject to COVID19 dining restriction numbers). Regular Trésind Studio patrons will recognise the spirit and style of Le Jardind and should be pleased.