Our stay in Dubai at the Damac Maison Canal View was regrettably approaching our final sunrise. Every morning at the strike of seven o’clock and seemingly magical – piping hot dishes from around the world would materialize on an infinite stretch of cut marble like in Hogwarts’ Grand Hall.
Peering over the counter past entertained guest, intently following the spectacle of live omelets, chef Thanu, had been toiling away in the kitchen since the wee hours of five am. He was in good spirits and in company of extremely good food.
Thanu Lakshmi Narayanan, 33, might have very well taken his first steps in his parents’ restaurant in Chennai. Experimenting with native spices and flinging popadoms around the kitchen, he’s been in the culinary game since the age of seven.
He later moved to Dubai, which is now eleven years ago. Cooking his favourite meal of Mutton Biryani at home, he relishes the joy of sharing it with his wife, his two year old son and his mother.
The food he serves at the hotel, is not only tuned to the spices and aromas of the Middle East. Far from it. Traversing as far as China with fried rice or even Britain with a (nearly) full English, guests are indulged from every part of the continent.
Thanu’s region of Thamil Nadu in South India, is known for its deep belief, that serving food to others is a great service to humanity. His opulent buffet is a crystal clear reflection of that mantra, which has had guests such as ourselves look forward to breakfast at dinner time.
To pull of the grand feat of serving an estimate of sixty guests plus/minus every single morning, he walks the extra mile of prepping the night before. From five to seven am the following day, he calmly moves among countless bubbling pots and sizzling pans - plating up dish after dish. It is witnessing a complex three dee jigsaw puzzle come together in a variety of elegant, effortless and flavourful dishes.
Lifting each dome is a sensual gratification - be it the Indian mixed veggie curry, steaming Parathas or even baked beans. The latter was even prepared with Indian spices, catering to guests inclined to kick start the day with a peppery breakfast.
Floating along the vast selection of hot dishes. The epicurean climax is heightened with a crispy side of spinach and cheese samosas. Unless you’re building your breakfast higher than Burj Khalifa, there’s plenty of Indian inspired condiments to go with your dish before circling back to the smell of a refreshing espresso.
Chef Thanu’s food is more than reason enough to jump out of bed before sunrise and start the day on top of the world.