I am yet to recover (below left) from talking to Sanjeev Kapoor – the Chef extraordinaire, the Entrepreneur, the TV Host, the Author and an absolutely down to earth and one of the most humble celebrities that I have come across. My last post talks all about the candid, one-to-one interview that I had with him when the award-winning restaurant, OPTIONS By Sanjeev Kapoor, opened it’s second restaurant very recently in The Mövenpick Hotel Deira. I had also promised my readers that 2 couples will win Romantic Dinner Invites from this newly opened restaurant in this post.

Two things that visibly excite me about this newly opened restaurant – a LIVE cooking kitchen in the middle of the restaurant and Akshada Parab, the Executive Chef (above right). Chef Akshada is one of the very few lady Executive Chefs managing the kitchens of Indian fine-dining restaurants in the world (and definitely Dubai’s first!). The feminine touch might bring back a whole lot of nostalgia related to Mummy’s cooking, as one waits in anticipation for the food, though I haven’t had the experience of having such a young Mummy! All this amidst a lot of aroma drifting out of the central cooking area accompanied by the background score of sizzling and tadka!

I keep showing examples to the Z-Sisters all the time of girls achieving and succeeding in different professions – women astronauts, pilots, doctors etc. I’ve witnessed many Mummy-is-coughing-and-can’t-answer situations (for example, when the F1 Grand Prix was on in Abu Dhabi, they had asked me why there were no lady F1 drivers?). So, Chef Akshada… thank you for saving Mummy this time. As a woman you make me feel really proud!

For a few days it had seemed like a preparation for a big fat Indian wedding – attending the soft launch of the restaurant a few days back; visiting it even the day before the opening and felt the nervous excitement of the staff as they were preparing themselves for the opening; and ultimately the final reception culminating in the grand opening itself! (More pictures of Soft Launch and Official Launch on my Facebook Page).

OPTIONS by Sanjeev Kapoor, DWTC has just won the Masala Award for the Best Asian Restaurant. Quite naturally, the expectation from this OPTIONS is also very high. Mr Md. Sayed Hussain, the Chairman (above left) believes – ‘When you are dining in the Deira restaurant you shouldn’t feel that anything is less than the one in DWTC. The decor, the service, the food – everything should be at par. In-fact, the diners should feel that yes, they are indeed eating in the same award-winning restaurant as OPTIONS in DWTC (yes, the one where I had attended RannaGhar, the Bengali Food Festival).’kitchen

The opening saw Chef Akshada as well as Chef Raturi (Executive Chef of OPTIONS in DWTC, 2nd pic from top in the above image) jointly cook up a storm, or should I say Kebabs, Mutton Rogan Josh and some brilliant Kulchas and Naans (that must have given you the trailer for the Lunch Menu). I didn’t have the luck to sit through the meal as I had better luck awaiting me in terms of being summoned to interview Sanjeev Kapoor.

My previous experience with OPTIONS

Each month a special food festival is celebrated at OPTIONS. I had previously visited the restaurant for RannaGhar, the Bengali Food Festival. Dubai doesn’t have many places where you can get to taste a Bengali meal. My experience was very good. Though there were a few hits and misses – the Kasha Mangsho/Bengali Mutton Curry wasn’t authentic, the fish was too fried in case of Shorshe Bata Maach/Mustard Fish but even for a traditionalista, the Deemer Chop/Egg Chops (Deemer Devil in Bengali), Shukto/Bitter Vegetable Preparation (the most difficult vegetable dish to imitate in my book!), Daab Chingri/Coconut Prawn, Murgir Jhol/Chicken Curry scored high marks. And the Rasgullas were very good – really soft and not too sweet, presented in a very novel way! However, many of my friends who had gone towards the end of the festival didn’t have a good experience to recall. I had also mentioned how this restaurant in Kolkata should inspire the OPTIONS team to take Rannaghar to the next level!11

Food tasting and the Soft Launch

Each one of us who had attended the soft launch of the restaurant were given score sheets and were told that the restaurant was going to open up to the public only when each dish had got a score of 10 out of 10!

We felt that the Starters had been extraordinarily good while the Main course still needed a bit of sprucing to match up to the Starters.

In the Starters… The vegetarian Starters kick-started our food tasting. Spinach Dumpling – cooked with Garam Masala and served after unwrapping them from a foil covered pot, were the most delectable (Scored 10); Badam Bahar, another extraordinary rendition of crushed nuts cooked in spices and made into rolls (Scored 10); Vegetable Sheekh Kebabs were a bit disappointing though, falling flat on the taste (Scored 5); Both the Chicken and the Mutton Sheekh Kebabs were soft, juicy and succulent (was told that they had been marinated with special herbs, spices and yoghurt. Scored 10); Tandoori Prawns were mildly spicy, grilled to perfection (Scored 10); Tandoori Salmon was the winner all the way (Scored 10)!

In the Main Course… The Daal Makhni was fabulous – creamy, buttery and rich in taste and aroma (Scored 10); Shaam Savera – this is one of Sanjeev Kapoor’s most popular signature dish consists of Palak Paneer/Spinach and Cottage cheese koftas (Cottage cheese balls embedded in spinach roundels) cooked in a rich creamy tomato gravy… absolutely delish (Scored 10); Butter Chicken failed to impress us. The gravy was too sweet and tasted almost similar to Shaam Savera (Scored 5). Butter Chicken is perhaps one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine and is most often requested, specially by non-Indian diners. So, this definitely needed some make-over.

All the above was accompanied by the Bread Basket consisting of various kinds of Naans – stuffed and plain… I would have wanted them to be a bit more soft and fluffy (Scored 7). Worth admitting here, is that the Kulchas stuffed with Green Peas that were served on the day of the opening were out of the world. So I am assuming that the restaurant had worked on their score sheet. On the day of the official launch, we were served Mutton Rogan Josh which would have definitely scored another 10!

How could I forget the sweet sign-off – the Desserts? Unfortunately, not much choice was left excepting Gulab Jamuns. Perfectly sweet for my Bengali sweet tooth, however too sweet for a few of my fellow diners – so we settled on an average score of 8!

A LIVE cooking kitchen in an Indian restaurant is quite a challenge with a whole lot of smoke from the sizzling, specially the Tadka that is associated with the Indian cooking style. I had anticipated a lot of smoke and eye irritation. But this didn’t seem to pose any problem – there must be a strong exhaust system taking care of this. In fact, I felt that the entire experience was pretty much like a 4-D experience – we could see the food, smell the food, taste the food and hear the sizzle while it was being cooked!


The Fashion Lounge

Adjacent to the Restaurant is The Fashion Lounge – equipped with a huge projection screen and fully stacked bar…  a bit of lounging and chit-chat with your friends before you go inside the chandelier-lit restaurant for a formal dinner. I think the location of the new restaurant is going to be it’s USP – there are many diners in Deira but there are not too many fine-dining options. I am also wondering how does both the OPTIONS restaurants plan to re-invent themselves every now and then while maintaining their unique identity, specially in a city like Dubai where a new restaurant opens up every minute and the general trend is to visit a new restaurant every time? Different promotions and innovations are still probably the best bait while making sure that certain exclusivity is maintained in designing the menu, I was told. Is that sufficient to appease the seemingly fleeting loyalty of Dubai diners?


OPTIONS by Sanjeev Kapoor, Deira

Fine-Dining Indian restaurant; Fully licensed; Free Valet Parking

Opening Hours: 12pm – 2:30pm; 7pm – 11:30pm daily
Location: Ground Floor,  The Mövenpick Hotel Deira
Tel: +971 4 4446466; Or, you can visit their Facebook Page and Website


The Romantic Dinner Giveaway

Options Giveaway copy

Click here for the Blog Giveaway !

2 couples can win invites to the newly opened restaurant. Friends on referral who join the contest must mention you (referrals could get you an extra point though!). The contest closes next Sunday, 20th January, 2103. Chandi Kaliya, Shaam Savera, Murgh Makhani/Butter Chicken, Methi Chaman, Kaache Gosht ki Biriyani…  are just some of the signature dishes that you can taste in this newly opened restaurant, cooked in a LIVE cooking section in the middle of the restaurant. Specially crafted by the MasterChef, Sanjeev Kapoor himself!

Unblogging it all… Ishita


Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own and are independent of the dinner giveaway from the Restaurant. I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. Please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.

Written by IshitaUnblogged

A Culinary Travel Blog by a Bong Gourmet. From Dubai, Kolkata & the world beyond, street food to fine dining, recipes to chef talks, it pens down experiences. With 2 kids in tow!


  1. I like Sanjeev Kapoor. Maybe because he was the first warm personality on Indian culinary television, Something about growing up watching him on TV makes going to his restaurant feel like going to someplace familiar. I haven’t been to Options yet, though I have been to Khazana a couple of times. I like the food there, though it is a bit too rich to make Khazana visits much of a habit🙂

  2. I love sanjeev kapoors cooking , i follow many of his recepies at home , his rtecnique and the method is smply suprb , a big fan of him ever since my school days as have seen my mom following his recepies from his tv shows , will sure have to make a visit to his restrant hoping to get the same taste like his recepies . Planning to celebrate by wedding anniversary at options

  3. All steps done again…Following Ishita’s blog since long….hope to get lucky in the new year….really wanna win this time for my love of Indian food from my favourite Options by Sanjeev kapoor❤

  4. Movenpick Deira is very close to where I work so I can already imagine myself sitting in the restaurant one of these days! I love Indian cuisine and have been wanting to try out Options. Great to know they are here in Deira!

    BTW, did they replace the Wok In restaurant?

    1. Tumi interviewta porle Shubhomita? Very humbling experience. I can’t avoid my Bengali posts… and have been imposing a bit of Bong cuisine to all my non- Bong readers as well. Did you read the post on Bohemian? Good wishes Subhomita!

    1. Thank you Dina! Really if only I could make everyone win! Ahhha romantic dinners before having the kids? Good wishes for now – hope you can re-visit those days by winning the romantic dinner invite!

  5. Wow!! What an opportunity for a foodie like me. First of all I would like to congratulate Mr Sanjeev Kapoor for his new venture and making our life easier as whenever we need any recipe, we just google it. I had never been to options , might i did not get chance but definitely love to visit the place as heard a lot about it… really Really wanna win this !!!:)

    1. Hi Shy! Looooooooong time! A big welcome back:) Of-course you know him personally as well. Have your read the interview? What did you think of it? Would love to know your feedback. And Good wishes for the competition!

  6. As local i don’t know who is Sanjeev Kapoor honestly but from the pictures and info in the blog i would love to go and try the foods .. As we all know we really do love indian food and Indian dishes had a very nice influence on some of our traditional dishes…… Thanks for the great post =D

    1. Hi Nouria… really appreciate your honesty. Sanjeev Kapoor is perhaps the most well know Chef ever in India and who has changed the Indian mindset into accepting that being a Chef can be a fashionable profession. He’s very well known internationally as well. I had the fortune of interviewing him very recently – would like to hear your comments on that post as well -https://ishitaunblogged.com/2013/01/10/sanjeev-kapoor-talking-to-the-chef-extraordinaire/

  7. I just love the Recipies of Sanjeev Kapoor. I always tell my wife that if u r trying something different then try Sanjeev kapoor’s recipies. And if get chance to dine in Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurent i will feel like king. Hope to win it Ishita

        1. Wishing your son a very Happy Birthday! Yes, the Randomiser has already picked out two names and it’s really breaking my heart to say that it’s not you this time. Good wishes for other upcoming competitions in the future!

          1. Oh😦 well thanks alot for wishing my son. Your message cheers me up. By the way he turns 2. Thanks alot. Thanks for the wishes. I will definately take part in other competitions.

  8. Great.. Congratulations Mr Sanjeev Kapoor. My husband and me both are food lovers and even we cook from Sanjeev Kapoor recipe. And its really lucky moment too taste dishes with the original signature Really wanna win this !!!:)

  9. Really an inspiring personality – OUR VERY OWN Sanjjev Kapoor. Its like he lives in all (us) Indian’s Kitchens. So proud of you for having met him personally Ishita!!! Hope you get many more opportunities to meet him, and hope I WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!!!

  10. Dining at Options in DWTC is always an amazing experience, so I would love the opportunity to try the Indian culinary cuisine at the new Options in Deira

  11. I hav being a big fan of Sanjeev Kapoor and hav n love watching his cookery show n especially his Khama khazana Chanel whichhas being a boon to us so that we getbtomtry so many new receipes ..Love the food at Options n as for Signature hav no words ..wana try this place too…n if i win dis romantic dinner wil be like n icing on cake ….new year mein meetha tho banta hai Boss….

  12. Khazaana, Yellow Chilly, Options….the list goes on and I would love to dine in the latest addition to Chef Sanjeev’s portfolio. What’s the Fashion Lounge all about?! Gotta find out🙂

    1. The Fashion Lounge is just a lounge bar adjacent to the dining area within the restaurant itself. The restaurant is non-smoking. But you can chill out in the Fashion Lounge and order for drinks and starters.

  13. Referred By Delaine Maria Dcosta. I am a huge fan of Sanjeev Kapoor. Our family never missed out on a single episode of Khana Khazana. We watched it religiously and we’d even tried out some of his recipes. I love his food and would love an opportunity to dine at his restaurant. As they say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Yum Yum!

    1. You are absolutely correct – “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and I think this should also be extended beyond the male gender!!! Good wishes to you. And your friend Delaine does earn an extra point to be picked up by the Randomiser:)

  14. Buttered Chicken was the first thing I requested my friend from Kerala cook for me but she’ veggie mama and prepared something else for me instead which was oh so yummy! It would be a dream to be able to dine at Options and first for us as well, hope to win!

  15. Love the food mastero, I have a collection of all his books, and I love his cooking .. would really love to eat at his signature restra🙂 good luck all.. btw Happy New Year!!

  16. Reffered by Mohammad Khurram. Whenever i am watching TV , I m always glued to Khaana Khazana because Sanjeev Kapoor makes very tasty dishes. And to eat in his hotel , simply great. Hope to win.

  17. Reffered by Mohammad Khurram. What a amazing Giveaway. Always want to see Sanjeev Kapoor but atleast if i can win this dinner, i will feel that i see Sanjeev Kapoor. Hope to win Ishita

  18. Reffered By Mohammad Khurram. Being a great fan i just wish to win this Romantic dinner.
    He is such a great chef and he is so popular all over the world. Really feel proud for Sanjeev Kapoor. And also hope to win it.

  19. Reffered by Mohammad Khurram. WoW a lovely give away Ishita. His recepies are great and every women loves Khana Khazana Chanel of Sanjeev Kapoor. I think he is Star all over the world. Hoping my Friend or me won this dinner.

  20. I have been dying to dine at Options after seeing both your posts ( & even yummier pics) of the food been served. Every Indian at some point of his/her cooking period must have been inspired by Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipes. Would be a great experience to check out his legacy being carried on by the restaurant.

    Also, referred a friend Fatema Husain whose mentioned me in one of the comments.

  21. Reffered by Mohammad Khurram. I am one of the greatest fan of Sanjeev Kapoor. I got chance to see Sanjeev Kapoor in India but never tasted food from his restaurent. Hope to get chance this time.

  22. Reffered By Mohammad Khurram. Great Fan of Sanjeev Kapoor , i think all r the fans of Sanjeev Kapoor’s because the way he represents himself is truly awesome and his recepies really awesome. Hope to win Ishita this Romantic Dinner.

  23. This one is definitely special. When I came to Germany some 12 yrs back with little real cooking experiences but very sensitive taste buds, I used to be a regular at sanjeev-kapoor.com (used to be free those days!). I remember flaunting the Shaam Savera to so many of my guests and I still use a lot of those recipes when I am having people over. So, being a huge fan, it’s a proud moment to see my friend with Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor and I’m so happy for you, Ishita. And BTW, the Z-sisters probably wouldn’t need to look too far to find a very successful woman entrepreneur!

    1. Hi Sumana… thanks so very much for your comment! How come you never made us the Shaam Savera? You know how much I love your cooking. You are over-flattering me, that’s what friends are for, I guess! Entrepreneur probably not yet, but successful yes, coz I’m following my dreams and I’m being able to reach out to people and connect with them. Love you:)

    2. BTW, I have been thinking of giveaways for those who are not in UAE. The last giveaway I had promised (but then I think I’m pretty much human and have broken my promise!) Any ideas how I could do this?

  24. Reffered by Mohammad Khurram. I just watch daily recepies of Sanjeev kapoor on TV and i just love them. Hope for best for my firend and myself. best of Luck to u also ishita. Hope to win

  25. Reffered By my Friend Mohammad Khurram. Even if my friend will not refer i will post comment here because i m very big fan of Sanjeeb Kapoor’s recepies. All the best for my freind and me to win this Romantic Dinner.

  26. reffered by Mohammad Khurram. I used to my food while watching the recipies of Sanjeev Kapoor. I just love that. To win Romantic dinner in Sanjeev Restaurent it would be awesome chance. Hope to win it .

  27. Reffered By Mohammad Khurram. Along With sanjeev Kapoor now i became great fan of Ishita. Ur blogs inspired me alot. U are doing a great job. Hope to win this Romantic Dinner Ishita


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