Can Supperclub really add anything special to a congested market?
Supperclub has expanded to Dubai following major success in Amsterdam, Istanbul, San Francisco, LA and London. But does the third food-with-entertainment venue to open in Emirate this year offer something different?
It’s the year of the supperclub. First came Music Hall at Zabeel Saray on The Palm, a cabaret imported from Lebanon, offering riotous fun. Then Simon Hammerstein’s more pretentious venue, The Act Dubai, at the Shangri-La Hotel arrived. Both clubs offer food and entertainment, but the concepts are as far from each other as a chap in leather trews firing a crossbow (The Act Dubai) and an opera singer (Music Hall).
Now we welcome Supperclub – also at Zabeel Saray – a brand with outlets in Amsterdam, Istanbul, San Francisco, LA and London, which is less self-consciously cool than The Act Dubai and offers up more eccentric entertainment than Music Hall.
The two-floor venue features a very bright, and very white, restaurant with a busy open kitchen headed up by head chef Dom Robinson, which transforms into a club with a French, hipster DJ at 11ish, and a bar and private dining/drinking areas overlooking the restaurant upstairs. There is also a large terrace, which will open when the weather cools down (you can also expect a brunch to be launched before the month is out).
Robinson’s menu, which we are told will change on a regular basis, is short, precise and consists of dishes created using a handful of fresh ingredients and a sprinkling of invention – just as we like it.
We started with a plate of burrata, squash, truffle and Yemeni honey – four ingredients that, should they have been introduced to each other sooner, would already be married with children – and a tuna tartare flavoured with curry spices and pickled lime, which was equally impressive.
Before those starters arrived, a cat, or rather a fully-grown human woman dressed as a cat, introduced itself (herself?) by sliding into the booth beside us and pawing at our left thigh. Yep, that’s right.
The food arrived. The creaminess of the moist, yielding cheese, the firmer fruitiness of the squash, the mild truffliness and, finally, the tooth-tingling richness of the honey was a sublime combination. The tuna dish was a clever twist on the typical tartare, which we would happily order again and again.
‘While we waited, a disgruntled housemaid with a fag hanging from her lip set up an ironing board’
For mains, we went with roast turbot, accompanied by sweetcorn gnocchi, chervil pesto and capers, and the wagyu sirloin with béarnaise sauce and chips.
While we waited for those dishes to arrive, a disgruntled housemaid with a fag hanging from her lip set up an ironing board, whipped our napkin from our lap, ironed it and threw it back where she had found it.
We enjoyed the lovely, meaty piece of turbot, but the sweetcorn gnocchi didn’t really add anything to the dish. The beef, cut into juicy, pink slivers, was full of flavour, the béarnaise was silky smooth and the thick cut chips had a satisfying crunch.
We ordered the chocolate fondant and the lemon tart for dessert and, while we waited, a lady swung from a ring hanging from the ceiling while the housemaid plodded around the tables ironing more napkins and stealing sips of wine from people’s glasses.
The fondant was oozy, if slightly bitter, and the lemon tart on a thin, biscuity base was satisfyingly sour. But Supperclub is about much more than the good food. It’s also about cats, ironing boards and acrobats. Bravo.
Zabeel Saray, West Crescent, The Palm, Dubai.
Tel: (04) 4511100. Taxi: Zabeel Saray.