Two new chicken spots to try in Dubai: Pollo Pollo & The Hutch
Join the protein party at these two colourful Dubai cafes that are all about birds (particularly those on a wire)…
1. The Hutch
Can a poultry-only menu be enough to impress?
The Hutch is a locally-owned concept perched inside new shopping centre The Mall. The little terrace is beautiful (it’ll be a perfect alfresco spot when the weather cools), and its décor is pretty – picture black and white tiles and cage-like light shades. Dining at The Hutch is a bird appreciation session. In short, they’re all about chicken.
The wings with potato gnocchi (Dhs60) involved impossibly fluffy mounds of potato doused in a rich mushroom sauce and succulent boneless wings. It was our waiter’s recommendation and a great choice. This was trumped, however, by the roast baby chicken marinated in lemon (Dhs80), which had crispy skin, soft meat, oodles of flavour and dashes of chilli.
The accompanying mash was perilously buttery (and we mean that as a compliment). Both dishes sit among the best portions of poultry we’ve had in Dubai.
There’s also a chicken spit roast section, which comes as a quarter bird (Dhs35), a half bird (Dhs60), or full bird (Dhs160). The half bird is hearty and served with a side dish and marinade. This time, the meat leaned more towards dry than moist. The skin was soaked in a garlic and pepper sauce that made it a bit too soggy for our tastes.
Nevertheless, The Hutch’s atmosphere and largely tasty dishes made this chicken dinner a special one.
The Mall, Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 9am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 9am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3888598. Taxi: opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel. thehutchrestaurant.com
Atmosphere: Family friendly and casual
2. Pollo Pollo
Another Peruvian restaurant, but this one comes with a rotisserie twist.
When your menu has one speciality – Peruvian rotisserie chicken, in the case of pollo pollo – the dish must be flawless. Could this casual Jumeirah café deliver?
The Peruvian empanadas (Dhs18) were crisp, golden pastries filled with creamy chicken that reminded us of a lunchtime pasty.
For mains, we had a quarter pollo (Dhs28) each and sampled the side dishes. The chicken was tender and well cooked, with crispy, slightly spicy skin. The frijoles (Dhs15), hearty beans cooked in Peruvian spices, were good, but the quinoa salad, with baby spinach, avocado and cherry tomatoes, could have used more herbs and spices.
One thing not lacking in flavour was the Inca cola (Dhs18), an imported Peruvian drink unique to pollo pollo that tastes like the sugary sodas we loved when we were kids.
Speaking of sugar, the desserts are worth saving room for. We’d happily eat the arroz con leche (Dhs15) for breakfast: a delicious creamy rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon, coconut and cloves. The alfajores (Dhs7) are crisp, crumbly cookies filled with decadent dulce de leche and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Pollo pollo has a way to go before we’d consider it for a special occasion – the interior feels more like a fast food joint than a sit-in restaurant. But the quality of food is high. We’d go back just for those cookies.
Umm Al Sheif Street, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 11am to midnight. Tel: (04) 4535254. Taxi: Umm Al Sheif Street. facebook.com/PolloPolloDubai