Ravi | January 16.2014

By Aysha Majid

Ravi has been dishing out Pakistani food since 1979 (almost as long as the UAE has been a sovereign state) and is now one of Dubai's national treasures, as intrinsic to the city as the Burj Khalifa (well almost)…

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I spot the white and green sign and eagerly hop out of the car before we're even stationary. The flagship Satwa location is filled with a sense of nostalgia, brimming with hungry mouths while the staff meander around tables providing swift service. We opt for indoor seating (it's a hot day and although fond of outdoor dining, the possibility of perspiring into our tarka dhal is not a particularly enticing one)…

What I love about this place is there is no class divide. The customers are from all walks of life and nationality (from the blue-collar worker, to expat families and international businessmen). The restaurant is basic and has never professed to be anything else. You don't come to Ravi for haute cuisine, opulent surroundings and an ego stroke. You come here for sustenance, consistency and damn good Pakistani food. Satwa has a vibrant energy and it's always pleasing to watch people going about their business while you're enveloped in the restaurant's veteran, plastic chairs.

We stick to our reliable favourites and our order flows like a flight attendant coveys “chicken or fish.” The mutton Peshawari, bhindi, tarka dhal, butter chicken and Maghaz (brain masala) arrive with a hefty, pillowy portion of tandoori roti. Ravi is also known for its true Pakistani biryani and Nihari (a delicate, slow-cooked meat dish) however these don't make our cut today.

It is as I remembered, comforting and non-fluctuating. Which sounds expectantly achievable, but consistency can often be a challenge to obtain in this transient city. The butter chicken is a creamy bowl of thick gravy and tender meat with a subtle and tangy kick. The mutton takes a little more effort but is undoubtedly satisfying (after you've tasked through the bones and dare I say it, sampled the marrow. Not one for the food prude.) With a logbook of duped visitors, the Maghaz has a subtle richness and I am yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy it, pre confirmation of its origin…

For pudding we opt for a mango lassi (a Punjabi yogurt based drink). Not really a pudding at all, but perfect if you'd like to round the meal off with a treat and don't fancy the looming guilt. Then just to contradict this the gulab jamun arrives (round dough balls traditionally from freshly curdled milk, drenched in sugar syrup). Supari is placed on the table (a natural breath freshener of anise, beetle nuts and fennel seeds, to aid digestion). And there you have it, a table beaming with smug faces of satisfaction. It's only been a month since our last visit, but we make a pledge never to become strangers. Ravi we salute you.

Satwa Road, Satwa
04 331 5353