The BEST dishes in Dubai, part two
Yesterday, we bought you part one of are New Year Resolution-busting countdown of incredible meals that you simply have to eat in Dubai in 2014. If they didn’t break you, try these next 25 on for size.
Can we let you into a little secret? What’s On is borderline obsessed with carrot cake. We seek it out wherever we go. And the best we had in 2013 was at Maison Bagatelle, the new Downtown café. Moist but not lacking in texture, it had two layers of buttery cream cheese icing, as well as some more icing on top, and a sprinkling of walnuts.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown, Dubai, daily 9am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4203442. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. facebook.com/MaisonBagatelle
Fire and ice came together to create a deliciously different dessert that brings all the joys of tempura with the merriment of vanilla ice-cream. It might not look pretty, but the large blob of yummy calories was worth every single bite.
Al Diar Mina Hotel, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 3pm, 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 6778415. Taxi: Al Diar Mina Hotel. aldiarhotels.com
Black pepper beef
Gorgeously tender chunks of meat were nestled in a rich, aromatic sauce that was neither too sticky nor too flimsy.
Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Sun to Wed 11am to 10pm, Thur to Sat 11am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3884825. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. thenoodlehouse.com
Cooking risotto is a magical thing as the rice turns from tooth-chipping bullets to porridge in the blink of an eye. In the capable hands of chef Renaud Olivier, the texture of the scallop risotto here was firm and the flavour wonderfully creamy. Topped with whopping scallops and you’ve got happiness on a plate.
Radisson Blu, Media City, Dubai, daily noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3669111. Taxi: Radisson Blu, Media City. radissonblu.com
Diced onion, chick peas and a dizzying number of spices were somehow crammed into a ping pong ball-sized shell to make these Indian treats. We swallowed them whole because we didn’t want to waste a bit.
Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai, daily noon to 3pm, 7pm to midnight. Tel: (050) 1007065. Metro: Al Karama. facebook.com/claypotdubai
You can barely turn a corner in the UAE without bumping into a steakhouse. But the prime cuts of meat that are served up fresh, hot and beautifully seasoned in this high-end steakhouse are hard to beat.
The Address Dubai Marina, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 4pm, daily 6pm to 2.30am. Tel: (04) 4549538. Taxi: The Address Dubai Marina. ruthschris.ae
To pull off brilliance in simple dishes all the elements need to be just so. With La Serre’s breadbasket this was definitely the case, with loaves baked on site in an enormous oven imported from France using Parisian flour, served still warm with lashings of butter. We particularly loved the sweet loaf with raisins. This is one breadbasket you can justify filling up on.
Vida Downtown, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown, Dubai, daily noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4286969. Taxi: Vida Hotel. laserredubai.ae
When a skewer of chicken hearts arrived at our table at this churrascaria we were a bit sceptical. The guy holding the skewer insisted we try them, and thank goodness we did. This was the softest, juiciest, sweetest chicken we’ve eaten in a long time.
JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR, Dubai, daily 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 8145599. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers. jaresortshotels.com
Shakshouka is a Middle Eastern breakfast favourite and it’s usually pretty good wherever you go in the UAE. But this one at Pantry Café stands out from the rest. The tomatoes were deep, dark red, there was plenty of heat and spice, plus some nice herby flavours coming through at the end.
Wasl Square, opposite Safa Park, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3883868. pantrycafe.me
White chocolate cheesecake
White chocolate can often be a little sickly in desserts – but not in this case. This white chocolate cheesecake at the classy Armani Deli was light and fluffy, providing a nice hit of decadent sweetness without the powdery texture you sometimes get with white chocolate.
Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Sat to Thur 11am to 11pm, Fri noon to 11pm. Tel: (04) 8883888. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. armanihotels.com
Burrah chops lazeez
Yoghurt, cream and spice come together in a festival of fiery flavour in this dish. We were almost jealous of the tender mutton chops who got to wallow in such an incredible sauce.
DIFC, Marble Walk, Dubai, daily 11.30am to 10.45pm. Tel: (04) 3585550. Taxi: DIFC. gazebo.ae
Crispy rice sushi
One of their signature dishes, the crispy rice sushi is a funky take on the traditional Japanese dish. The rice is deep-fried and crunchy and topped with a sushi mousse that comes in two flavours: spicy tuna or yellowtail tartare. Forget the health warning, in this instance, deep fried triumphs in taste and texture.
The Collection, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 6pm to 1am, Fri and Sat 6pm to 2am. Tel: (02) 6783334. Taxi: St Regis Saadiyat. stregissaadiyatisland.com
This burger was tender, juicy and surprisingly tastier than its beef counterpart. Layered with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, we kept going back to this hefty dish.
Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 6575888. Taxi: Manarat Al Saadiyat. fanrrestaurant.ae
Tortellini with ricotta and spinach
Perfectly cooked tortellini, plump with spinach and ricotta cheese in a red pepper sauce, was served with cherry tomatoes, basil and baby mozzarella. The flavours were so well balanced with the sauce being neither too sweet nor too spicy.
Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon to 1am, Thur to Sat noon to 3pm. Tel: (04) 4416342. pizzaexpressuae.com/jlt
Bread and butter pudding
A massive copper vat stood in the corner of this fun brunch. And when we say massive, we mean massive. And what was inside? Creamy, buttery layers of bread, dotted with dried fruit and cinnamon. It was a delicious dessert that had us going back for seconds.
Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, daily 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4262626. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm. atlantisthepalm.com
These treats are light and fluffy, but then sneak up on you with a spicy punch and a heft that fills you up. Perfect for a late night snack, they’re pretty good for breakfast too, but don’t tell your personal trainer.
Al Wasl Square Complex, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 9am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 3881811. Taxi: Wasl Square. yamanoteatelier.com
Sake No Hana
This Japanese newcomer came on the scene in June and wowed us with a trio of tuna sashimi. There was some melt in the mouth otoro from the belly of the fish, a firmer chutoro and then a dark red slice of akami. A luxurious treat.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 4327808. Taxi: Souk Al Bahar. sakenohana.ae
A generous portion of fried noodles tossed with egg, chicken and prawns and sprinkled with crispy onions and coriander, the mie goreng at Social House in Dubai Mall was a delicious and filling take on the Malaysian street food staple, with plenty of sambal to give it that all-important fiery kick.
Social House, The Dubai Mall, Dubai, daily 9am to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 3398640. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. facebook.com/socialhousedubai
Pear fruit crumble
Marco Pierre White Grill
Anything that gets served in a mini iron pot gets our immediate thumbs up. Straight from the oven, we were warned not to touch it. Our spoons dived through the oaty crumble topping and into the dark red and purple fruit below. Served with ginger ice cream, this was a dessert that made us feel warm on the inside.
Conrad Hotel, Dubai, daily 5.30pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4447444. Metro: World Trade Centre. conradhotels3.hilton.com
Caramelised foie gras
This starter sounded intense on the menu and so it proved when it arrived on the table. This was a hot and crispy piece of caramelised magic, accompanied by a fruity jus. It was delicate and light but loaded with rich flavour.
The Burj Khalifa, Downtown, Dubai, 12.30pm to 3.30pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 8883828. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. atmosphereburjkhalifa.com
Shrimp wonton soup
Even though the incredible views of the city skyline at this new restaurant say Dubai, after one mouthful of this this great, simple street food you might feel like you’re on a tucked away street in a town in China. The wonton is firm and loaded with prawn meat, while the soup is aromatic and packed with fresh flavours that tell you you’re doing something good to your body.
Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7pm to 11.30pm, Thur and Fri 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4573338. Taxi: Fairmont The Palm. dineatba.com
This is one of those dishes that, when it lands on your table, turns every head in the dining room and causes you to look at your dinner companion, start giggling and say ‘wow.’ It’s a collection of carefully sourced shellfish on a plate of ice, which requires two big appetites and plenty of determined cracking.
Gate Village 2, DIFC, Dubai, daily noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3860899. Taxi: Financial Centre. wheelersdubai.com
Two thick hunks of grilled ciabatta, some salty corned beef and pastrami, a tangy splodge of pickle and a dollop of smoky chipotle mayonnaise, all topped with a melting lava-like mass of Swiss cheese. What a sandwich.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to midnight, Thur and Fri noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 4222620. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. habana-dubai.com
Atlantic calamari rings
Food that wows the eyes can often mislead the mouth, but that wasn’t the case with this oversized cocktail glass of calamari. Giggles escaped when the dish was served, but once the perfectly battered rings were tasted, the only noise heard was the desperate pleas for the last one.
Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, East Crescent, The Palm, Dubai, daily noon to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 5678888. Taxi: Anantara Dubai, East Crescent. dubai-palm.anantara.com
Steak and kidney dumplings
As hearty British fare goes, it doesn’t get much heartier than steak and kidney pie. A firm favourite in the UK since the 19th century, the dish is revived by Gary Rhodes here using good steak and plenty of lambs’ kidney, cooked in gravy with carrots and onions and topped with flaky pastry.
St Regis Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, daily 6.30am to 11am, noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6944444. Taxi: Nation Towers. stregisabudhabi.com