Dishtrict: Dubai restaurant hopes to bring together cultures with unique fusion menu

Items include chicken katsu biryani, Thai green curry risotto and tahini nachos chaat

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Dubai's culinary scene has long been known as a melting pot of flavours, with everything from Tokyo-Neapolitan pizzas to Chips Oman sushi to be found.

And a newly launched restaurant in Wasl 51 is taking this concept to a whole new level. Dishtrict, which opened earlier this week next to the likes of Brunch & Cake and Milk Bakery, has crafted a menu that fuses cuisines from around the world to create eclectic dishes.

A scan through the menu brings up the most unlikely food combinations: tahini nachos chaat, red curry flatbread, zebra fries, Thai arancini, tandoori chicken yakitori and more. Signature dishes include the chicken katsu biryani (an aubergine version is also available), Thai green curry risotto, and mango and edamame chaat.

With founders Khushboo and Rahul Sajnani both long-term Dubai residents, the menu also focuses heavily on Middle Eastern dishes with a twist, such as falafel bao, charcoal hummus, Oman Chips kumpir and shatta crab salad.

It’s a mixed bag, with cuisines from more than 15 countries represented. That's also precisely why Khushboo and Rahul believe the restaurant will work in a place as multicultural as the UAE.

“Dishtrict has been inspired by different worlds coming together. We wanted to take people on a culinary journey,” says Rahul. “A lot of restaurants here may serve more than one cuisine, but we bring dishes from different districts around the globe and then fuse them together to create something completely new.”

Travel through food

The duo are already known for their other popular restaurant Moshi, which rolls out Japanese fusion dishes, including the aforementioned Chips Oman maki. Their latest concept was born from a desire to branch out.

Inside of the newly opened Dishtrict restaurant in Wasl 51.
Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National
The interiors of the restaurant are travel-inspired. Reem Mohammed / The National

Dishtrict first launched as a pop-up at Beach Canteen in February 2020. However, because of the pandemic, the founders pushed the launch of the restaurant to 2021.

This delay gave them time to conceptualise new dishes and come up with the restaurant’s travel-inspired theme, which extends to everything from the logo – featuring a plate and a globe – to the wooden table tops carved with a map.

With people missing travel more than ever this year, we hope this gives them a little taste of foods from all over the world in one location

“We want to connect food, travel and Dishtrict. Especially with people missing travel more than ever this year, we hope this gives them a little taste of foods from all over the world in one location,” says Khushboo.

It wasn't just travel that was hard hit in 2020. The past year has been difficult for the food industry as a whole, yet Rahul and Khushboo hope their new concept will bring together different cultures and make them more open to trying new flavours.

“People love eating here, they’re always looking for new options. What we are giving them is variety in a different way,” says Rahul.

“Opening up a restaurant at any point in time can be tricky. But it all depends on your concept, how creative you are with it. We think when they see the food, they’ll realise how different it is.”