More than a BB rating for this new hidden gem…

Tucked away in a dark corner of DIFC, and concealed beneath a wall of foliage with no obvious signage, it’s almost like BB Social Dining doesn’t want to be found – a bit ironic, considering the name. But we suspect it won’t stay under the radar for long: It’s simply too good to be a secret.

BB is the brainchild of some big names in the Dubai foodie scene. The founding team includes Shabnum Stumpf and Spero Panagakis (both formerly of Zuma), with chef Alex Stumpf (most recently of Peyote) helming the kitchen.

The restaurant sits in a space that used to house an art gallery (which immediately ups the cool factor). Spread across three levels, which are connected by a spiral staircase, it feels like a trendy little townhouse. There are plenty of cozy nooks and crannies where you can settle in for the night, or you can dine al fresco on the licensed terrace, surrounded by greenery.

The mostly Asian-inspired menu is split into Bs – bao, bites, bowls and BBQ. Every dish is designed for sharing, which is where the “social dining” theme comes in.

We started with the cauliflower popcorn (Dhs32). These little nuggets are sure to be crowd-pleasers, served with a tasty truffle tofu dip. The super green hummus (Dhs27) was also a winner, a genius blend of edamame, tahini and spinach.

We have to highlight a dish you might not necessarily think to order based on the name alone – the crispy sprouts (Dhs32). Soaked in a spicy-sweet honey sriracha glaze, we can honestly say we’ve never been more excited by a vegetable. It’s a stand-out dish – just trust us.

Bao arrived next, perched on little wooden stands. Our favourite was the crispy duck (Dhs55) with zesty lime hoisin sauce, but the sesame beef and pickled cucumber bun (Dhs48) had us licking our fingers, too.

For the real “social dining experience”, order the shabu-shabu (Dhs480). This Japanese hot pot dish is cooked at the table, with each diner using chopsticks to swish meat and vegetables in a bubbling broth. It’s a fun, relaxed way to dine, and works well with the BB ethos. It’s the priciest thing on the menu, but BB suggests sharing between four.

Moving onto dessert, we thought we’d better stick with the ‘B’ theme and sample the brownie (Dhs45), which is served in a frypan. We’ve never met a brownie we didn’t like, but BB’s was particularly good, studded with homemade marshmallows and fresh raspberries.

What we loved about BB was that it was just really great food, without a touch of snobbery. You’re made to feel equally welcome whether you’re popping in for a quick drink and a bao, or sitting down for a full-blown meal. Now that we know where BB lives, we’ll definitely be back.

Gate Village 8, DIFC, Dubai, Saturday to Wednesday noon to midnight, Thursday and Friday noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 407 4444.

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