Does this new beachside spot live up to its hype?
While Dubai regularly welcomes new restaurants, rarely does one achieve as much hype as recent opening, Tagomago. The reason could be its location and takeover of former beloved venue, Il Faro; or it could be that the brains behind the concept produced such hitters as Twiggy, La Cantine, Kyma and Mimi Kakushi. It could also be due to the fact that Spanish cuisine is somewhat underserved in the city, and Tagomago aims to bring trendy Balearian flair to the shores of Palm Jumeirah. Whatever the reason, the restaurant has been bursting with residents since the day it opened.
The experience begins at the entrance as we walk under the now Instagram-famous orange hued flags, emblazoned with sun motifs and the venue’s island-inspired name. The first section is a stretch of private beach, adorned with orange parasols and bright pink towels on comfortable-looking sun loungers, as if taken straight from the pages of an Assouline book. There’s a thatched roof beach bar serving Spanish cocktails, with pretty wicker bar stools from which to sit on and gaze out to the azure waters ahead.
The familiar light-house shaped structure has a wraparound outdoor terrace where groups of friends catch up on cushioned wicker furniture as the sea breeze gently blows. Our table is inside, where Il Faro’s interiors have been reimagined beyond recognition. The space now boasts a Latino-inspired colour palette, with plenty of lush greenery, red patterned booths, and unique lamps and plant pots tucked into organic holes cut out of the wall.
The menu is surprisingly extensive, filled with Spanish flavours given a modern twist. Kicking off with spicy beef chorizo croquettes (Dhs45 for three), after one bite we immediately order another round. The spherical deep-fried bites are indulgent and moreish, bursting with juice from the creamy filling and a kick from the chorizo on top. Garlic prawns (Dhs98) are also delicious, served in a clay pot on a bed of chilli and roasted garlic oil. Our best tip is to save your complimentary bread to dip straight in the sauce.
Paella o fideuà is a must-try, and we were intrigued by the beef short rib variety (Dhs320 for two pax or Dhs595 for four pax). A huge tray of rice arrives soon after, and in the centre is the star of the show, a slow cooked short rib already falling off its bone, topped with rosemary, roasted mushrooms and cherry tomatoes on the vine. The meat is wonderfully tender, melting in our mouth while the slightly-al dente rice adds a welcome bite.
Our final dish is an indulgent Tagomago take on French toast, torrija de crema (Dhs72). A thick slice of bread is drenched in cream and coffee liqueur before being pan-fried until ultra-crisp. The caramelised toast is served with fresh berries and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If you love to combine crunchy and soft textures, don’t skip this dish – but remember its designed to be shared.
What’s On Verdict: A brilliant local spot that ticks all the boxes.
Tagomago, Azure Residences, Palm Jumeirah, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 832 6620. @tagomagodubai