Beachside dining with an island-inspired menu…
Occasionally, new venues open up with a special power to make you feel as though you’re no longer in Dubai – where for that night, you can enjoy a transportive dining experience. Tamoka is one such place. With its beachside setting, tropical decor and hedonistic playlist, you would be forgiven for thinking you’ve teleported straight to Tulum.
Designed around the theme of the Antilles archipelago, Tamoka’s story is told through Caribbean-inspired dishes, homemade rum infusions and pockets of alfresco seating to match your mood. There are sofas facing the beach, hammocks swinging in the breeze and stylish sunken seating for the ultimate birthday bash.
We start our night earlier than planned, as sundowners at Caña – Tamoka’s private beach bar – are too good to miss. As the sun sets behind Ain Dubai, we dig our toes deep in the sand and sip on a coconut concoction. The small shack has seating all around and wedged in the middle of a circular bar, a DJ drops upbeat house tracks to a small crowd of enthused fans, still sandy from their day at the beach.
Once it’s time to eat we walk back towards the main restaurant where tables come in all shapes and sizes, placed both outside and indoors. Our alfresco table is perfectly positioned to spot the world’s tallest observation wheel, but we feel cosy amongst the leafy décor that surrounds the terrace.
We start with some raw plates, combining three ceviches into a platter (Dhs155). The scallops and hamachi were particularly delicious, with a refreshing texture and plenty of flavour from the sauce. Each came with its own accompaniments to perfectly balance the fish without overpowering the palette.
If you’re in a group (or just want something to enjoy with drinks), the zappalo con queso (Dhs175) is a must try. It’s a whole large pumpkin – yes, really – fondue-style with a warm, gooey cheesy filling that requires you to dip a variety of bites from cassava to plantain, mushrooms and more. A word of warning: it’s addictive.
Onto mains and we’re drawn towards the langosta (Dhs295); craw lobster doused in rum butter and topped with leafy greens. It’s served in the shell but pre-cut so no faffing about, we dive straight into the meaty chunks, while the butter gives a light glossy texture to the seafood.
In addition we check out the panza de cerdo (Dhs135), a less aesthetically pleasing but equally delicious mix of roasted belly, burnt onion puree and finely chopped pineapple. The meat is served in slices and topped with crispy pieces to offer delightfully opposing textures.
Befitting with the theme, we finish our meal with a torta de ron (Dhs40). It’s a Caribbean rum cake and is as juicy as anything, dripping in sweet syrup and sitting on a bed of caramelised banana puree.
Tamoka’s warm hospitality and unique setting make it somewhere we can see ourselves returning to for all occasions, be it a romantic dinner, catch up with friends or even a celebration.
Tamoka & Caña by Tamoka, The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 318 6099. tamokadubai.com