There’s a new high-end Mexican spot in Dubai, here’s what to order when you visit…

Before Peyote came on the scene your only option for gourmet Mexican cuisine was Maya.

The Dubai Marina stalwart, spearheaded by chef Richard Sandoval, has been serving top notch Mexican food for years, with little in the way of competition. 

But that Mexican monopoly is all about to change with the arrival of Peyote, a distinctly upmarket modern Mexican that’s taken over the former Wheeler’s site in DIFC. The brainchild of Eduardo Garcia, the acclaimed chef of one of Latin America’s top 50 restaurants, Peyote’s aim is to elevate Mexican cuisine and introduce a host of regional flavours missing from your average burrito bowl.

There are still chips and dips, brought out to keep your mouth busy as you peruse the lengthy menu, but they’re a distinct cut above the average, with everything made fresh on site – think peanut butter salsa and an insanely spicy habanero paste.

From the small plates lists, calamari (Dhs48) are light and crisp, served with a jalapeño mayo that adds just the right amount of kick, while a scallop ceviche (Dhs95) with young coconut and coriander oil is a perfect example of the Mexicans’ more subtle take on this South American staple – think more sweetness, less citrus. The standout, however, is a hamachi crudo (Dhs85), the sweet, melting fish enlivened with a ginger vinaigrette and truffled huitlacoche, a type of fungus that adds a real note of savoury interest. We practically licked the plate clean.

Our two taco plates are impeccable, one stuffed with ludicrously tender braised beef short rib and salsa verde (Dhs65), the other with a perfectly crisp and plump tempura prawn and chipotle mayonnaise (Dhs52). Just one complaint – each plate contains just two tacos, so if you’re sharing, you may be forced to cut them up. Given the number of large tables in the restaurant, we’d love to see an option to order by the piece instead.

Moving on to mains, a 24 hour-braised lamb shoulder (Dhs195), served with homemade tortillas, is meltingly tender, breaking apart at the mere suggestion of a fork. A perfectly cooked ribeye steak (Dhs210) with cilantro butter and smoked salt is similarly delicious, while a catch of the day sea bass (starting from Dhs195) with red and green adobo marinades is light and fresh, with a beautifully scorched skin and just the right amount of spice.

From the dessert menu, a mamey fruit crème brûlée tart (Dhs48) proves to be the evening’s only disappointment – it just doesn’t pack any of the punch we’ve come to expect – but the crisp churros (Dhs42) are delicious and a warm chocolate and chipotle mousse with raspberry sorbet is incredible. Boasting just the right amount of warmth, a tickle rather than a burn, it’s brilliantly executed and a fine example of why Peyote is a worthy competitor for Maya. Going by how busy the bar was, plenty of folks are fans already.

Gate Village 2, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon to 1am, Thur noon to 2am, Fri 6pm to 2am, Sat 12.30pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 5216300. Metro: Emirates Towers.

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.