Indian restaurant in Dubai turns 50
Dubai: Joshi Restaurant and Café, an Indian eatery in Meena Bazaar, has just completed 50 years. Established in 1968, the vegetarian restaurant is renowned for its thalis (traditional Indian platters) and snacks.
“It all began in 1962 when my eldest brother came to Dubai to work as a chef,” says Kaku Maharaj, 60, co-owner of the restaurant.
“A year later, he brought me and my other siblings. As time went by my brother’s culinary skills became well known among the Bhatia community here. So much so that community members suggested he open a restaurant. So in 1968, my brothers and I started Joshi Restaurant and Café in Bur Dubai. It was the only Indian restaurant that served Indian vegetarian food in Dubai back then.”
The restaurant was initially located in a villa opposite Al Fahidi Plaza. “We targeted only about 50 customers, mainly officegoers. Some would come all the way from Deira to eat the meals we served. As the Indian community started to grow and more people came to live in Dubai our menu expanded and so did our business,” says Maharaj.
All about the thali
Back in the 60s and 70s, the restaurant only served the thali, a platter of food consisting of items like vegetable curries, lentil gravy, rice, bread and yoghurt.
“Back then the dirham was not yet in operation and we charged 100 Indian rupees for a thali. Our regular thali today is priced Dh20 while a Bhatia Thali which is a more elaborate serving is priced Dh40.
Through the years we have changed our menu to suit the tastebuds of our customers. We used to prepare only thalis and samosas, but today we have a chaat counter and introduced a number of Indian snacks, savouries and sweets.”
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