Welcome to the jungle in DIFC…

Brazilian chefs Sandro Silva and Marta Seco, the great minds behind Amazónico, arrive in Dubai with a stellar reputation.

Amazónico Madrid and Amazónico London are the hottest hangouts in each of their respective cities. And from the looks of it, Sandro and Marta are very confident at making their mark in the Emirates. They’ve boldly taken over an entire building in DIFC, transforming it into an enormous three-storey venue with a lounge, main restaurant and rooftop bar – all designed to evoke the jungles of South America.

There is an unmistakable sense of grandeur when you drive up – a fleet of fancy cars are lined up outside beside a dedicated valet crew, while slick house beats reverberate from the doorway.

Amazonico interior

Step inside and you’re engulfed by a rainforest, albeit, an extremely glamorous one. It’s all very ‘shrubbery chic’, with a jungle’s worth of plants, columns transformed into gargantuan trees, and velvety-green fringed lampshades hanging above low-lit booths. Even the plates are painted with frogs and toucans. We love it all.

The menu offers an eclectic mix of dishes, which Chef Sandro says ‘offers references to Brazilian gastronomy’. It includes traditional foods such as tiradito, Brazilian-style steak, yuca sides and guacamole.

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The ensalada Amazónica (Dhs59) is a refreshing salad with cubed avocado and mango marinated in a lovely and sweet calamansi sauce. It’s not at all acidic and pairs beautifully with the hamachi tiradito (Dhs78), which is served as slightly thicker slices of yellowtail, for which we’re very grateful. Also try the unusual locro de zapallo (Dhs55), a delightfully heart-warming dish of roasted pumpkin, sprinkled with goat cheese shavings, zucchini crisps and served with slices of thin and crispy garlic-tinged bread.

Amazonico food

From the grill, we opt for the less fatty solomillo de res (Dhs230), a 250g sliced USDA prime tenderloin, and it’s a notable triumph. The meat is served on a narrow, hot skillet and cooked medium rare as ordered. It’s perfectly seasoned and delightfully tender, and complemented well by lovely – and rather large – side dishes of fried purple Peruvian potatoes (Dhs36) and, the unanimous dish of the night, the queso grillado (Dhs38), a Josper grilled provolone cheese topped with an olive tapanade.

So enamoured are we by our meal that we almost don’t notice Amazónico rapidly filling up around us. The restaurant is running near to capacity despite the fact it’s the early seating of one of its first Tuesday evening services. Clearly the restaurant already has the seal of approval from Dubai’s residents in-the-know who have welcomed the new DIFC addition with open arms – and we’re its latest fans.

Gate Village, Pavillion, DIFC, daily noon to 2am (3am on weekends). Tel: (04) 571 3999. amazonico.ae

Images: Provided