Review: Barfly by Buddha-Bar Dubai
Here’s our verdict on the Palm Jumeirah’s beautiful new rooftop bar…
It’s hard to think that there was something missing from The Palm’s myriad restaurants, beach clubs and bars. But a rooftop bar is surprisingly hard to come by on this coveted manmade island. Although not any more.
Taking up residence on the rooftop of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah is Barfly by Buddha-Bar, a Paris-born, internationally-renowned concept, that counts celebrities including Naomi Campbell and Reese Witherspoon amongst its fans.
From the same family as Buddha-Bar, Siddharta Lounge and Karma Kafe, Barfly by Buddha-Bar presents a menu of inventive Asian fusion dishes in a setting of rich jewel-hues that brings the decadence of the Far East to life. Though as much as the food offering is extensive and the decor befitting of the theme, it’s in the extravagant cocktails and panoramic views where Barfly by Buddha-Bar really shines.
Perched atop the 13th floor of the hotel, the expansive terrace gazes out over Palm West Beach below, and across to Dubai Marina and Bluewaters. For alfresco drinks with a view, few can rival Barfly by Buddha-Bar in this part of town. On a breezy winter evening, the lush plants sway almost to the beat of the soft live DJ sounds, and guests quickly fill up in the low-lying couches and inviting arm chairs lining the glass edge.
As we’re here to dine, we find that the tables surrounding the bar are better set up for eating, but for grazing and drinks, the terrace is the place to be. Each cocktail feels like a masterful libation of inventive flavours and daring combinations, and on the menu each is given an interesting narrative that adds further emphasis to Barfly’s mixology. An Eastside Paloma (Dhs74) is a rich and fruity twist on the popular Paloma with lime tequila, agave and grapefruit soda, that arrives in a dry ice-filled gold box. Then there’s the special Charles Vintages, a different one designed for each city the brand is present in. We opt for the classic Charles Vintage 1995 – Paris (Dhs78), a sweet, sophisticated serve of red wine, creme de cassis and vodka.
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From the menu, impressive bites include the crispy salmon sushi pizza (Dhs125), melt-in-the-mouth, caviar-topped lobster gyoza’s (Dhs96), and the crunchy ebi emas kunafa (Dhs95), the latter dunking perfectly in a spicy aioli. The calamari (Dhs75) is sadly a little over seasoned with Modon salt.
Arriving still sizzling from the grill, two huge tiger prawns are meaty and delicious, while the universal highlight is the Wagyu beef robata (Dhs245), thinly cut and perfectly pink in the middle. A main that slightly misses the mark is the grilled lamb chop (Dhs265), which although prettily plated lacks the punchy flavours found in many other dishes.
Barfly’s desserts are a sweet and indulgent ending, demonstrating the same decadence and finesse we see throughout the drinks and dishes. A gooey and piping hot chocolate lava cake (Dhs75) gets close to being too rich, but is rescued by a a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Japanese lemon tart (Dhs72), with mini meringues and a thick lemon filling, is fantastically balanced.
Verdict: A lovely sundowner spot with tasty dishes to match.
Barfly by Buddha-Bar, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, The Palm, 5pm to 1am weekdays, 5pm to 2am weekends. Tel: (0)4 423 0000, barflydubai.ae