Is there a place for 1960s New York in Dubai’s futuristic financial centre?

While Dubai residents may be familiar with Waldorf Astoria’s beachfront resort on the Palm Jumeirah, the hotel chain has recently opened a second offering in the urban jungle of DIFC. The entire hotel has been designed to emulate the glamour of the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, and that’s none more so present than in Bull & Bear.

Though the now-closed New York original was solely a steakhouse, Bull & Bear in Dubai serves as the signature restaurant for the hotel, and promises a menu of international dishes inspired by all-time classics.

The restaurant is beautiful, and while the menu may have evolved from the original New York outpost for a modern Dubai market, its influence is everywhere in the décor.

Huge gold laced statues of a bull and a bear greet guests in the entrance, lined by walk-in wine cellars that allow guests to select their bottle from a carefully curated selection. Inside the restaurant, navy blue hued leather booths, chairs and curtains are complimented by dark woods and glamourous accents of gold that make you feel like you’re stepping into an upscale New York City steakhouse. You’re only reminded that you’re still in Dubai as you gaze out of the floor to ceiling windows of the 18th floor restaurant towards the looming skyscrapers of DIFC and the Burj Khalifa beyond.

When you can draw yourself away from the impressive view to peruse the menu, the Alligator Pear (Dhs65) is a delicate, perfectly presented plate of pickled avocado inside an avocado shell that’s topped with cilantro and pomegranate served alongside Kalamata rice crackers and a punchy gazpacho jelly. The only disappointing dish of the evening is the second starter, the seared Scottish scallops (Dhs105), which are overpoweringly fishy tasting when coupled with a salmon caviar and a slightly tasteless cauliflower puree.

Though the main courses do expand into seafood and vegetarian options, you’re missing out if you don’t order one of the black onyx beef steaks (Dhs195 to Dhs650). The meat is tender and delicious, and served with a sauce of your choosing (the chimichurri is excellent), though you’ll need to order sides separately. A crunchy broccolini and creamy dish of retro Delmonico potatoes (Dhs35 each) serve as the perfect accompaniment. The Australian lamb rack (Dhs185) is another premium offering, well portioned, well flavoured and another well presented dish.

For dessert, the playful black forest cherry (Dhs55) is as impressive in its presentation as it is for its flavours. A cherry shaped dark and white chocolate cremeux is a mousse-like pudding served on a bed of chocolate crumble, complimented by a heaped spoon of yoghurt ice cream.

For a DIFC date night – or top city steakhouse – Bull & Bear is the hottest new kid on the block. 

Bull & Bear, Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, 6.30am to 10.30am, 12pm to 4pm and 7pm to 12am, daily. Tel: (04) 5159888.

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