Review: Sean Connolly’s new restaurant at Dubai Opera

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There’s a special pre-theatre menu, but does it get a standing ovation or a slow clap?

Prior to the opening of Sean Connolly At Dubai Opera, it was almost impossible to grab dinner before a show. Most restaurants are just a little too far away to be able to eat and get back before the curtain rose. Now you can head directly to Dubai Opera and try the new two- (Dhs155) or three-course (Dhs195) pre-theatre menu at the venue’s gorgeous new restaurant.

First off, we splashed out on half a dozen Irish oysters (Dhs35 each), which proved to be the perfect pre-show treat. Each divine morsel tasted as it should – like a kiss from the sea – and their very presence on the table had us feeling all fancy, exactly how one should feel on a night at the opera, we suppose.

Seafood is clearly one thing Sean Connolly does very well, as the mussels were similarly excellent as a starter – and the portion was generous. They arrived fresh in their shells, in a tangy broth.

The beef daube was served inside a Yorkshire pudding, on a bed of mushy peas. The meat was fall-apart tender, and beautifully rich – though we did find the dish as a whole to be a tad on the heavy side, especially when we knew we would be sitting down for the rest of the night. While it would have been a delicious option on any other evening, as part of the pre-show menu, it didn’t quite hit the right note.

A better choice would be the ‘fish ‘n’ chip’ – a steamed sea bass (FYI, not battered) on a plate smear of mushy peas and inch-thick potato gratin. Sneak in an extra portion of the duck fat chips (Dhs40) though, because they really are that good.

When it comes to desserts, as in opera, you shouldn’t mess with the greats. Connolly’s lemon tart was a symphony of flavours: silky, sweet, and with just the right amount of sour to make our mouths pucker in the shape of a ‘bravo’. A standing ovation before the show even starts. We’ll be back.

Rooftop level, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 362 7312. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. dubiaopera.com

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Images: Supplied