Launched in 1958, Khyber originally opened its doors in Bombay and is a cult destination for North Indian food. Visited by celebrities from around the corner and across the world, the restaurant finally decided to share some love with Dubai in 2017. Inspired by the wholesome flavors of Lucknow, Punjab, Delhi, and Rajhastan - Khyber's menu oozes with hearty ingredients, delicious carbs, and buckets of butter. Khyber Dubai's menu is inspired by its mother restaurant. Any dish with "58" hanging off the end is a direct import from Khyber Bombay's recipe book.
Reservations can be made over the phone. Call 04 455 1111.
Located at Duke's Dubai, Khyber enjoys all the perks of being in a hotel, like valet parking.
Greeting and seating
We were warmly greeted at Khyber's dramatic reception and walked through the expansive restaurant to our cozy table by the window. While most restaurants in Dubai are blessed in the space department, Khyber takes it to a whole new level by occupying the entire floor!
Knowledge and service of the waiter
The staff at Khyber are a lovely bunch. Serving tables comes with occupational hazards like wrinkles in your clothes, steam in your face, and awkward stains on your uniform. Despite bustling around the restaurant all evening, our waiter's Indian tunic remained flawless. Color me impressed! Being the massive restaurant that it is, service may hit the occasional plateau.
Dinner at Khyber was a spread of paneer tikka salad, palak paneer with naan on the side, vegetable biryani, dal makhani, masala chai, and gulab jamun cheesecake.
Subbing the chicken tikka* salad with its paneer* alternative, I'm glad we took chef Faizan up on his tikka recommendation. One of the most popular spice mixes at Khyber, pounce onto anything with "tikka" on it. Sumptuously soft paneer coated in an explosive tikka marinade, tossed with crunchy leaves, and strips of buttered Indian naan instead of the usual croutons. Flavor bomb!
We followed this with vegetable biryani* and palak paneer* with naan* on the side. Traditionally prepared for Indian and Mughal royals, biryanis normally taste like a million bucks on a plate. This followed suit with its rich flavors and smoky finish. Pair every morsel with a slathering of spiced yogurt, and your eyes will roll to the back of your head with ecstasy. The palak paneer arrived with unexpected company - dal makhani* (compliments of the chef). The dishes immediately dived into a contest of the creamiest. The dal makhani won, thanks to its belly-busting butter to cream ratio.
Adding to my growing bucket list of cheesecake destinations in Dubai, Khyber's fusion gulab jamun* cheesecake scribbled itself on there with the first bite! Although slightly frozen in the middle and tough to slice through, the flavors were on point. My fork refused to be put down.
We chased the cheesecake with a piping hot cup of masala chai*. Boasting soulful bursts of cardamom, cloves, and ginger - this spicy brew keeps you at the edge of your seat.
*Chicken tikka - Spiced meat, predominant in North India, served as an appetizer.
*Paneer - Milk curd cheese prevalent in South Asian and Persian cuisine.
*Biryani - Renowned South Asian dish of slow-cooked rice and spiced meat or vegetables.
*Palak paneer - Indian cottage cheese slow cooked in a creamy spinach gravy.
*Dal makhani - Slow-cooked lentils with hearty doses of butter.
*Gulab jamun - Deep-fried balls of paneer doused in sugar syrup.
*Masala chai - Indian tea steeped in aromatic herbs and spices.
Courtesy extended during the meal
Khyber's head chef, Faizan, swung by to ensure everything was in order. He generously threw in a couple bowls of dal makhani to give us a taste of classic North Indian comfort food.
The ambience at Khyber is palatial. Embellished with extravagant classical Indian paintings, enormous ceramic pots, and ornate seating arrangements - it's like dining in the lap of luxury.
Spanning across an entire floor at Duke's Dubai, Khyber is decked out with a cocktail bar and lounge, private dining room, smoking balcony, and an al fresco terrace. Featuring stunning views of Palm Jumeirah, it's more ideal for tourists than the average Dubai dweller.
Dinner was 300 dirhams, although you can expect a higher bill if you include alcohol.
Overall, would you return?
When it comes to Indian food, southern cuisine wins my vote over the north. If Khyber were to extend its menu with some signature South Indian zest, I'd go rushing back!
Khyber raan*, naali nihari*, reshmi shrimp*, chicken tikka, and gulab jamun cheesecake.
*Raan - Spiced roast leg of lamb.
*Naali nihari - Meat slow cooked with bone marrow.
*Reshmi shrimp - Traditional Mughlai marinade known for its silky texture.