Elevated mall dining. Yes, really…

Mall restaurants are not supposed to be this good. OFK’s (Open Flame Kitchen) interior design looks sophisticated and expensive, with beautifully presented – and delicious – food, and impeccable service. As the executive chef Mateus Coelho rightly says: “If we packed up this restaurant and put it in DIFC, it wouldn’t look out of place.” 

Coelho’s presence is a major factor in OFK’s success. Previously at Flamingo Room at Jumeirah Al Naseem, he went on to help Natasha Sideris launch DIFC hotspot Avli by Tashas around the corner from the big boys of LPM and Zuma. His knowledge of DIFC’s fine dining scene has clearly informed Coelho’s elevated menu at OFK, which skips around Indian curry and tandoori, sushi, pizza and pasta. Plus there’s meat and fish cooked on a robata grill and a parrilla grill, which have been custom made to fit inside the open kitchen and add energy to the atmosphere.

OFK review

As a result, the menu can seem a little haphazard, with the likes of gyoza rubbing shoulders with risotto, tacos and lamb tikka. But we suppose a varied menu is essential for the business lunchtime crowd, of which there were many during What’s On’s weekday visit.

Served on minimalistic, rustic stone plates, the pomelo and duck salad (Dhs60), spicy tuna wonton tacos (Dhs55), and spicy salmon crispy rice (Dhs50) were right on the money.

OFK review

A pair of sliders (Dhs45) were basically posh Big Macs – we mean that in a good way – but the standout main dish was the wagyu ribs (Dhs80). Cooked sous vide for 48 hours (what other mall restaurant is doing that?), they were absurdly tender and topped with a lip-smacking, sweet chilli glaze. Finish with the homemade tiramisu (Dhs60) served tableside, and you’ll leave OFK happy.

OFK review

A stunning sushi bar of undulating, polished stone is the centrepiece of this surprisingly refined restaurant in Fashion Avenue, which has a light feature above that looks like Saturn’s rings. The staff uniforms of grey grandad collar shirts are cool; the upbeat jazz fits the mood perfectly; and service is speedy, bright and relaxed. OFK is punching way above its weight and must surely be considered the most stylish, most accomplished restaurant in The Dubai Mall. Transfer this place to DIFC and it’d be an overnight hit.

Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall, daily noon to 11.40pm. Tel: (0)4 386 3599. ofk.me

Words: Rob Chilton