Review: Step into a Spanish scene at Hola Rooftop
A Balearic-inspired restaurant that hits the mark…
Capturing the essence of three of Spain’s most favourable islands, Hola Rooftop blends elements of Ibiza, Mallorca and Formentera in a seamless fashion. The eighth floor rooftop restaurant overlooks Meydan Racecourse, but the floral decor is even more appealing than the view.
Built with purposely-imperfect white bricks, Hola aims to transport guests to the Spanish isles through an ambient soundtrack, Mediterranean dishes and a relaxed approach to hospitality. It’s quiet when we arrive, but the crowd soon starts flocking, filling tables across the large dining area.
Blue and white armchairs surround large white tables for the ultimate group dining opportunity under the stars. Wicker lampshades hang from fabric sunshades, while fans are angled to cover all areas ensuring guests stay cool throughout the evening.
There’s something for everyone on the mainly Mediterranean menu, which also has influences from Japan and Latin America. Sharing plates include ceviche, tapas, sushi and salads, while mains and big plates focus on larger meat, seafood and chicken options.
We start with a burrata (Dhs85) which has been given an Arabic twist using zataar and confit dates – not a combination we’ve tried before but the balance of sweet and savoury works well. The flavour experimentation continues with the wagyu beef carpaccio (Dhs95) which features capers dressing, parmesan crumble and shallot fritas. The plate is presented beautifully, with the meat forming a ring for the fried onions, while a moat of parmesan adds a welcome crunch to the dish.
Presentation is clearly an important factor to Hola, as the tiradito ceviche (Dhs85) could pass for a work of art. Delicate pieces of fresh raw hamachi are topped with pretty petals, finely chopped onion and chilli to create a punchy yet moreish starter.
Keen to see how the steak fares up, we order the beef fileto (Dhs220) and are left pleasantly surprised. It’s a decent-sized aged Australian tenderloin, accompanied by a lone tenderloin broccoli, a dollop of creamy mash and topped with fresh chimichurri. The exterior is nicely charred while inside the pink hued meat is soft and tender. We’re recommended to try the camarones al ajillo (Dhs185) and happily oblige. Three giant tiger prawns arrive, glistening from lashings of garlic butter and decorated with parsley and thyme. Flavourful and juicy, each bite is a delight.
The venue gets top marks for Instagramability and the laid-back style definitely gives off European vibes. With a solid food menu, and attention to detail, Hola Rooftop has a good chance of being the go-to spot for alfresco dining this winter.
Hola Rooftop, Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba, daily 7.30pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 718 1160. @holarooftop