Review: Dubai's new concept from internet sensation, CZNBurak
With huge celebrities as fans and queues around the block, what is it about this young chef’s restaurant that gets people so excited?
Burak Özdemir is the most famous chef you’ve probably never heard of. The Turkish restauranteur is the man behind a TikTok account with 30 million followers, and an 18 million-strong Instagram account, both named CznBurak.
At just 26 years old, having already launching six successful restaurant in Turkey, Burak set his sights on Dubai for his next challenge. CznBurak Dubai opened on December 25, 2020 and naturally, What’s On Dubai was keen to see what all the fuss was about.
Known for his outrageous cooking videos, Chef Burak already counts Cristiano Ronaldo and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai as fans. Both were spotted dining at the Dubai restaurant since the opening last month.
The huge ground floor space can be found on the corner of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, across the road from Address Downtown. We arrive at the earlybird time of 6.30pm and there’s already a wait for a table in the 600-seat restaurant.
There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, but the alfresco terrace offers Burj Khalifa views under the twinkling fairy lights of the Boulevard. The venue is well-staffed and everyone knows their role, leading to a seamless operation throughout the night.
Middle Eastern wooden trolleys roll around the venue, delivering food and entertainment in one – and it seems this is what the people came for. An experience that blends food with music and performance, waiters present meals to the sound of clanging drums while flaming salt is repeatedly tossed in the air.
As an unlicensed restaurant, guests come to get their kicks through dine-tainment shows, shisha and the hopes of catching a glimpse of Chef Burak himself.
So what about the food? The menu isn’t minimal but lacks variety, three types of hummus can be found in the starters, and lamb features heavily in the main courses – an element in 14 out of the 16 choices. Most plates are designed to be shared between two to four people and come with the aforementioned show.
Hummus with meat (Dhs47) was unlike we’ve ever had before in the sense that it arrived warm with a soft crust. It’s a strange change that takes a while to get used to but the beef chunks in the centre are very tender and flavourful.
From the kebab and grill section we played it safe with a mixed grill for one (Dhs104), which could’ve easily fed two people. The platter includes marinated beef and lamb, as well as chicken shish, tomato-flavoured rice, roasted veg and Arabic bread.
We also opted for a beef casserole with eggplant (Dhs225) which arrived in a large clay dish. Creamy aubergine puree bubbles and oozes from the top forming a crispy top, while underneath the smooth sauce pairs well with a portion of soft beef cubes.
Of course we couldn’t leave without trying Burak’s famous cheese kunafa (Dhs55). The slice was thankfully not as large as those in his TikTok videos, but looked just as appetising with stretchy melted cheese in the middle. The Hatay syrup was a little too sweet for our liking but the shredded kadayif added a pleasant crunch to the dish.
As we made our way out of the door, we were surprised to see a queue of people forming down the street to get a table at this hotspot. The venue doesn’t accept reservations so if you are keen to check it out, we recommend to arrive as early as we did.
CznBurak Dubai, Boulevard Point, Downtown Dubai, open daily 12pm to 3am. Tel: (0)58 108 1800. @cznburakdubai