Review: Canary Club, JLT's trendiest new hangout
Get yourself a reservation at one of the coolest spots in the city pronto…
There’s a lot of expectation resting on the shoulders of Canary Club, the newest opening from Joey Ghazal, the restauranteur behind Dubai’s beloved The Maine restaurants. So it’s with excitement we head to the grounds of JLT’s Banyan Tree Residences, in Canary Club’s second week of operation.
A neon sign lit in canary yellow emblazoned on the side of the building tells us we’re in the right place, and once inside the ground floor entrance, a trio of glamorous hostesses dressed in shimmering emerald green jumpsuits offer one of the warmest welcomes we’ve ever received upon arrival at a restaurant. We take the lift to the first floor, and while that short ride may take only seconds, those brief seconds transport us from Dubai in 2022 to California decades earlier.
Canary Club certainly looks fabulous. Cosy booths are finished in dark leather and woods, there’s botanicals climbing the stone walls, and an open-kitchen is a welcoming invitation to watch the culinary team making magic before your eyes. Intricate details are everywhere you look, and no corner is without something interesting to look at. On a side note, whoever the chandelier atelier is for all of Ghazal’s restaurants is a name we need in our contact book.
The menu is designed as an ode to a Californian diner, and on it there’s influences from Japan, Mexico and across Latin America. Ceviches, sushi, salads and bowls sit alongside a robata grill section, plus a collection of pizzas finished with divisive toppings like chicken and pineapple; short rib and burrata; and oyster mushroom.
We start with a duo of ceviches, both perfectly presented. The yuzu scallop (Dhs95) is full of fruity flavours, thin and fresh slivers of scallop covered in a cucumber yuzu and topped with crisp puffed rice and just a hint of red chili. A Peruvian tropicola seabass ceviche (Dhs65) is another appetizing mix of sweet and spice, with cubes of seabass, yellow pepper and passionfruit swimming in a light coconut milk. From the small dishes, the aji atun tostada (Dhs85) doesn’t quite get the corn tostada to tuna topping ratio quite right, and we’d have liked a little more miso shiro dressing.
After some debate we opt for the spicy tuna (Dhs85) from the sushi options, served on a glazed plate shaped like a palm leaf. The taco-maki options all appeal, and having tried both the tuna belly with caviar and wasabi (Dhs120) and the Wagyu tataki with seared foie gras (Dhs95) we don’t know why they’re not on more menus. Nori and sesame shaped into a taco shell is lined with sticky rice, before being packed with the aforementioned toppings.
From the mains, we choose to share the blackened cod (Dhs160) and a side of crunchy steamed broccolini (Dhs35), both of which are excellent. The mirin marinade is deliciously thick and adds a rich glaze to the flakes of cod.
We order the flourless chocolate cake (Dhs58) to finish a fantastic meal, and it’s as indulgent as we’d hoped. The crunchy coconut base is topped with creamy chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt, served with a perfectly risen meringue. It somehow tastes better with every mouthful.
JLT is one of the city’s most exciting foodie neighbourhoods for homegrown restaurants, but Canary Club has successfully found a gap in the market. And we’re clearly not the only ones that think so, with every seat in the house full within days of opening. It’s glitzy but not pretentious, has a menu that makes you want to come back for more, and the handpicked team are all genuinely out to make sure every guest has a good time.
Canary Club, Banyan Tree Residences, JLT, 12pm to 1am Sun to Thurs, 12pm to 2am Fri and Sat. Tel: (0)4 584 5999, canaryclub.com