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Sanjeev Kapoor opens Signature his first restaurant in Abu Dhabi


The wait is over. The very popular Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor has finally opened his first restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor is now welcoming discerning diners to its upscale location in the Nation Galleria on the Corniche. Kapoor, who already has three restaurants in Dubai, tells The National that Signature’s food is “art on a plate”.

The Abu Dhabi effect

“Abu Dhabi is a cosmopolitan, modern city,” says Kapoor. “People here really enjoy their food. There was a need to create an exclusive dining experience. Bringing Signature here was the perfect solution.”

The restaurant will offer a variety of experiences, including a range of select fare and experiential dining in the form of a new-age lounge offering specially created Indian delicacies.

Situated on the first floor of the Nation Galleria Mall, Signature Abu Dhabi is spread over 8,000 square feet. The restaurant is awash in red and chocolate decor – it’s an inviting, sophisticated venue. There are three private dining rooms along one wall that each seat six. A larger private room (with glass walls) can seat up to 20 guests.

There are nine tables on the terrace and, though it is an indoor terrace, the floor-to-ceiling windows give diners a stunning view of both the Corniche and the city. “It’s all about setting up an exciting fine dining experience,” explains Kapoor. “A live chef’s table and food of the finest quality served with a twist will be at the core of the restaurant’s ethos.”

Home in the UAE

“The UAE, especially Dubai, has been like my second home,” says the chef. Khazana, his first Dubai restaurant, was launched in 1998.

“It’s been more than 15 years and it still looks the same, but the food rules. People love the ambience and so we’ve kept it untouched. But now, we will be creating a new space there for which I’ll be visiting Dubai again soon.”

People in the UAE love food and are ready to experiment and try new things, says Kapoor. “This spurred me to open four restaurants here. The last three came about only because of the people who liked and enjoyed the dining experience at Khazana. Now, with Signature opening in Abu Dhabi, I think there is scope for more.”

The master chef

Kapoor did a stint on MasterChef India, sharing his expertise with young cooking enthusiasts.

“I was approached by Star TV India for MasterChef India season 3 [2013]. I had been approached by them for the earlier seasons, too, but I couldn’t make a commitment then as I was busy with my channel, FoodFood. But, this time when they persisted, I had no reason to stay away.” He says the fellow chef judges on the show, Vikas Khanna and Kunal Kapoor, made for a “great gang. The best, funniest times were when any two of us ganged up on the third.”

Complementary cuisines

But just how does Indian cuisine fit into the Middle Eastern palate?

“I believe Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines are complementary,” says Kapoor. “This is not only because there are a lot of Indians who have migrated to Middle Eastern countries, but because of old trade routes, through which spices were exported.

“To tell you the truth, I am really fond of Middle Eastern cuisine, and if I had to pick my favourites, it would have to be falafel and tabbouleh. As far as Indian cuisine goes, my favourite of all time is simple, yet absolute lovely, home-made rajma and chawal [kidney beans and rice] and kadhi and chawal [gram flour curry and rice]. To me, this is food for the soul – simple, filling and delicious.”

Sanjeev Kapoor’s special Kadai prawns with roasted pepper jam recipe

Serves 4. The pepper jam can be prepared in advance.


400g large prawns, peeled and deveined

4 dried red chillies, broken into bits

1 tsp coriander seeds

Source: The National

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.