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Posted on: Sunday 11 January, 2015 12:03 pm
Junoon Brings ‘Passion’ for Contemporary Indian Cuisine to the UAE
- Michelin- starred Indian restaurant concept from NYC opens its doors in Dubai

– Junoon, meaning “passion” in Hindi, brings its contemporary Indian cuisine to the discerning diners of the Middle East as it opened its doors in Dubai this weekend.
Having established itself as a world-class dining destination in New York City since opening in 2010, earning a Michelin star for four consecutive years, Junoon opens its second location in the heart of Dubai in the Shangri-La Hotel, under the expert eye of Founder and seasoned restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj.
“Dubai is one of the fastest growing and most multicultural cities in the world, and a business and trade hub with a broad appeal as a tourism paradise,” said Bhardwaj. “It was a natural choice for the first extension of the Junoon brand outside of New York City.”
Junoon’s dining experience satisfies all aspects of fine cuisine, centering around a diverse menu which focuses on high quality, sustainable ingredients with an innovative take on pure and traditional Indian recipes, paired with an extensive and carefully crafted beverage list, and finished with proficient yet unobtrusive service in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Junoon’s menu features five of the most celebrated cooking elements amongst India’s vast and varied traditions: Tandoor – clay oven; Tawa – cast iron cooking; Sigri – open fire pit; Handi – curry and Patthar – stone cooking.
Celebrated chef Vikas Khanna and Rajesh worked closely with an expert team of chefs, including executive Chef Steven Hubbell, who have devised several locally inspired dishes for Junoon Dubai using ingredients sourced here in the Middle East.
“The first thing we did was to explore the local spice souks and markets in Dubai to unearth some key flavours and ingredients that we could work with,” said Hubbell. “We wanted to create a real identity for Junoon Dubai that kept the ethos of Junoon New York, but had its own signature and reflected some of the fantastic produce that we have to hand in the region.”
“The goat here is dynamite, so we knew that would enhance our menu, along with some of the fantastic seafood available in this region and of course the spices and unique Middle Eastern flavours such as using rose and dates.”
Diners can expect a mixture of Junoon signature dishes along with these locally inspired creations which include: Sordid Sweetlip Fish Tadka – curry leaf tadka (spices fried in hot oil, added on top of the fish), grapefruit, crispy dulse and sea urchin; Mutton Rose Biryani – mutton kofta with saffron, mint and rose; and for dessert, Chocolate Date – milk chocolate parfait, date cake, hibiscus puree, chilli glass and braised dates.

Complementing the menu is a beverage selection boasting over 250 grape varieties and a dynamic cocktail menu, which Junoon’s on-hand experts can recommend to pair with dishes. Mocktails are also a highlight with contemporary creations like the “Jaswal” a refreshing potion of cucumber, lime and lychee juices mixed with spicy ginger beer and Pomegranate Lassi in addition to many classic Indian beverages.
The exquisite dining experience at Junoon is housed within a luxury, contemporary interior, filled with dramatic purples, reds and gold accents and a mix of modern and traditional features, designed by New York-based architect and designer Tarik Currimbhoy. The space is subtly and naturally divided into the main dining area, open kitchen and bar, private dining room and more intimate banquette seating.
The ‘tree of life’ motif which is characteristic of the New York location is re-imagined in Dubai with palm tree silhouettes, and forms a glowing golden wall towards the rear of the space. Centuries old Burma teak arches from an Indian palace bring warmth and tradition to the modern aesthetic and provide an element of exclusivity and anonymity for those who wish.
Junoon Dubai will engage the region’s strong Indian community with its innovative take on pure and traditional recipes, whilst also bringing a healthy international following from its flagship NYC location.
“We listened to our Middle Eastern guests who frequented Junoon in New York and found that the restaurant had established a great appeal and following from the region, so we were confident that opening in Dubai would be very well received. We look forward to seeing many familiar faces along with introducing the concept for the first time to the discerning diners of the region,” added Bhardwaj.
Located within the Shangri-La hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Junoon is now open for bookings.

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