Say goodbye to the multi-coloured milkshake trend. These dishes are proof that black food is lighting up Dubai’s culinary world….
01) The All Black Burger at Bridgewater Tavern
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The next time you visit Bridgewater Tavern, ask to see the ‘BWT Signature All Black’ menu. You’ll find a few fun options on the list such as black wasabi shrimp and black truffle mac and cheese, but we suggest you go there hungry and order the mighty black burger (Dhs85). Don your black latex gloves (they come with the burger – yes, really) and feast on a juicy patty, made from Wagyu and Australian Angus beef, that’s layered with two slices of aged cheddar, crispy maple-glazed veal bacon, spiced onion jam and barbecue sauce, all encased in a black sweet brioche bun. The baps, baked in-house at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai every morning, are stained with a natural charcoal colourant to create that gothic look. It’s one huge, juicy mess of a burger that tastes as epic as it looks.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 4pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 4143000. Taxi: JW Marriott Marquis. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
02) Prawn salad with black seaweed at Wise Kwai
Trust DusitD2 Kenz Hotel’s quirky new Thai restaurant Wise Kwai to create a few unusual dishes to spice up their menu. The larb gung isan phan sahray, otherwise known as prawn salad and sticky rice roll, has been lovingly composed by the charming chef Anan Tumya and includes bitesize prawn salad chunks in sticky rice, encased in crispy black seaweed. They look like sultry sushi rolls and, thankfully, taste just as good.
DusitD2 Kenz Hotel, Barsha Heights, Dubai, Sun to Thur 12.30pm to 3pm, 6.30pm to 11pm, Fri and Sat 12.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 5672247. Metro: Internet City. wisekwai.com
03) Slim Shady at koldpressjuiceko
A far cry from your usual green juice, the Slim Shady gets its goth-esque colour thanks to the presence of activated charcoal. It might sound like something you’d find in the barbecue pit after a long weekend, but this ingredient is a real multitasker, and has been used for decades for detoxification (it is said to naturally absorb toxins), reduce bloating and ease digestion. Some people even recommend drinking it the morning after a big night out to help blow away the cobwebs. And don’t worry – the charcoal itself is completely tasteless, and the cold-pressed juice tastes like a zesty lemonade. Other health boosting ingredients include fresh lemon, bee pollen and organic agave syrup to add a little sweetness.
04) Charcoal fry at 3 Fils
One of the tastiest and most fun dishes this year comes from an unassuming restaurant at the Jumeirah Fishing Harbour. 3 Fils’ most unusual dish – and there are many – is the freaky charcoal fry. Don’t expect the menu to give away any hints; there is no description for it. But rest assured this vegetable dish is not just edible – it’s super tasty and utterly moreish. Diners had better have their wits about them, though. When it arrives, the fry is served alongside real pieces of charcoal. Choose wisely or you might chip a tooth.
Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1, Al Urouba Street, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Mon to Wed 1pm to 5pm, 7pm to 11pm, Thur to Sat noon to midnight. Tel: (056) 2730030. Taxi: Jumeirah Fishing Harbour off Al Urouba Street in Jumeirah. facebook.com/3fils
05) Seafood and squid ink risotto at Nine7One
The black risotto at Nine7One is as dramatic as it is tasty. The carnaroli rice is slowly cooked with fresh lobster, shrimp, mussels, squid and squid ink, and is finished with grana padano cheese and sweet peas. It’s healthy, too: black rice is scientifically proven to contain higher amounts of Vitamin E, which bolsters the immune system. Talk about a win-win.
The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 6.30am to 1.30am. Tel: (04) 4441477. Taxi: The Oberoi. oberoihotels.com
06) Black pizza Boardwalk
Like your pizza dough slightly burned and dusted black? Good news: Boardwalk restaurant has made your dreams come true. Available until the end of July, the squid ink-injected Black Pizza is a real showstopper. Fresh out of the authentic pizza oven, the black base can be topped with chicken chorizo, truffle oil with rocket leaves, smoked salmon, or mascarpone and mozzarella.
Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to midnight, Fri and Sat 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 2956000. Taxi: Dubai Creek Golf. dubaigolf.com
07) Paella negra at Al Hambra
Welcome to one of the most popular Spanish restaurants in the city. Aside from the delicious tapas bits, Al Hambra’s stunning squid ink paella, stuffed with juicy prawns, calamari and mussels, is a huge draw. Be warned: your pearly whites might take a beating and your smile may well be stained black, but after a few tasty mouthfuls of this bad boy, you won’t mind one bit.
Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Fri and Sat 12.30pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4323232. Taxi: Al Qasr. jumeirah.com
08) The hangover at Single Fin
Thanks to this protein-packed, veal bacon and truffled scrambled egg-stuffed burger, breakfast couldn’t come sooner. For an extra three dirhams you can order The Hangover in a jet-black bun, to match the colour of your mood after a heavy night. Order yourself a nitro coffee and you’ll be fuelled up to tackle – or recover from – anything.
Surf House Dubai, Umm Sequim Park, Dubai, Sun to Fri 7am to 7pm, Sat 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3211309. Taxi: Surf House Dubai. facebook.com/singlefindubai
09) Shrimp kuroske at Yakitate
Even if seafood baked goods aren’t your thing, you’ll still appreciate the kawaii factor that comes with picking up a fun cartoon bread bun. Yakitate’s latest collection of savoury baked items includes the kuroske, which is designed like the Japanese cartoon character Ghibli. The organic bamboo charcoal bread (complete with bulging eyes) is stuffed with a shrimp patty, tartare sauce and cabbage.
Ground Floor, Al Ghurair Centre Extension, Al Rigga, Dubai, daily 8.30am to midnight. Tel: (04)4551683. Metro: Union. yakitate.co
10) Coming soon: Black ice cream at Salt
Forget the multi-coloured thousand island sprinkles – there’s a new ice cream flavour on sale in Dubai that’s proving that black is always en vogue. A jet-black soft serve ice cream comes courtesy of Salt, the What’s On Award-winning food truck concept. Recently launched at a pop-up market at Dubai Design District, the Salt Black menu included blackened beef patties, black burgers and black fries, and best of all, black ice cream for dessert. Keep an eye on their social media feeds, for their next pop-up around the city. Our sources say it’ll be sometime this summer.