Has celebrity chef Silvena Rowe hit a hole in one at Jumeirah Golf Estates?
Silvena Rowe may be best known for her virtuous, guilt-free fare at Omnia Gourmet, but her latest Dubai opening shows she’s not adverse to the pleasures of the flesh.
The clubhouse at Jumeirah Golf Estates is the polished setting for Nassau, a Med-leaning restaurant that has luxurious comfort at its core. The dining room acts as an extended living room for the golf estate’s well-heeled inhabitants, with toffee-coloured leather couches, graceful archways, and lush greenery at every turn.
Rowe’s menu is equally cossetting. Perhaps it’s a case of playing to her market, but the millionaire’s burger (Dhs125) with a self-described slab of foie gras is about as far from guilt-free dining as you could possibly get.
We skip the heft of the burger, instead following the lead of Nassau’s switched-on maître d, who helpfully steers us towards some of Rowe’s lighter highlights.
First up is a dish of whipped labneh (Dhs65). Laced with black truffle and topped with a colourful jumble of roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and beets, it’s earthy, creamy and satisfying.
The second starter of sauteed king prawns with chilli, garlic and herbs (Dhs65) has a lilting Southeast Asian accent, with lemongrass and kaffir lime lingering in the background.
You’ll want to scoop up every last drop of the aromatic sauce, but you may wish to bypass the dry toast fingers it’s accompanied by in favour of the excellent bread basket served on arrival, loaded with five different loaves on our visit.
It’s a homey touch that speaks to Rowe’s locally sourced, handcrafted ethos. Mains continue to show her dexterity when it comes to crossing borders and cuisines, melding Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian flavours with aplomb.
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A copper pot of Ottoman-style lamb shoulder (Dhs125) has been cooked for 48 hours until it falls apart with a gentle nudge of the knife. Poached organic salmon (Dhs155) is served in a frothy, vivid green Thai broth redolent with lemongrass, coriander and ginger.
The quality of the ingredients is clear, but portions aren’t huge, so if you’ve just walked in after 18 holes, you might want to order a couple of sides for your table.
While the savoury courses were exceptional, we were slightly less wowed by a salted caramel and chocolate ganache tart (Dhs49), which suffered from a too-thick crust that was a tad underdone.
Instead, zero in on the Eton mess (Dhs39), a light, luscious combination of crunchy meringue, pillowy whipped cream, berry sauce and fresh berries.
Unless you’re a local, Nassau takes some seeking, but we wager you’ll be glad you made the journey to Rowe’s latest masterstroke.
The Club House, Jumeirah Golf Estates, daily, midday to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 3601816. dubaigolf.com/nassau