Bar of the month: Ria Restaurant and Beach Bar
Can this alfresco bar fill the Breeze-shaped void in our hearts?
If you haven’t already met the new venue that replaced Breeze, the much-loved Dubai restaurant on Palm Jumeirah’s Club Vista Mare, then you need to get to know Ria which opened its doors earlier in March and has already made ripples in the Dubai gourmet scene. On a breezy Friday evening, we venture to the beachside haven, excited for a night of delicious tipples and bites.
Ria comes from Addmind Hospitality, the team behind Bar Du Port, Iris and La Mezcaleria amongst many others, and has fast become a celebrated upscale beachside drinking and dining destination. The elegant beachfront spot boasts a menu of beach eats inspired by the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean, making it ideal for an evening out with friends, loved ones and even your four-legged friends.
The venue has a bubbly vibe, with glowing table lights, chic interiors and fun Arabian lounge music. The host guides us to our alfresco table, where we perch at a bar, overlooking the beach, shimmering Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline.
We peruse the menu, opting for a few drinks to kick the night into motion. The limelight (Dhs85) fuses distilled spiced tequila, fresh tomatillo and pickle juice, presented on a wooden plank, adorned with sliced tomatillos. We also opt for a classic lemon margarita (Dhs70) embellished with a salted rim and a floating candied lemon. Intrigued by the presentation, these tipples go down a treat, transporting us to the shores of the Med with each crisp and rejuvenating sip.
First to nibble, two no brainers: a plate of grilled Padrón peppers with tartar sauce (Dhs50), and zucchini fritti (Dhs45). The zucchini is fried to a delicate crisp, layered onto the fresh tzatziki, which pairs well with the pepper’s vibrant charred flavours. Both are incredibly moreish but could have been better seasoned.
Rock shrimp tempura with spicy mayo and chives (Dhs85) can be a hit or miss dish, often with too much sauce, resulting in a soggy mess. However, we are blown away by how crispy the fried shrimps are with their tangy emulsion, finding a complete unity of spicy, creamy and crunchy. Red shrimp tartare (Dhs95), comes elegantly interlaced with sundried tomatoes and stracciatella. We use paper-thin pieces of focaccia that resemble crackers, to layer the trio on. Each mouthful creates a beautiful harmony of creamy and fresh textures with playful hints of acidity from the sundried tomatoes.
With a hankering for raw fish, we select from Ria’s fish counter a mighty 700g Japanese red seabream, that is cut into elegant sashimi slices (Dhs476). This wonder was escorted by a charming miniature bottle of truffle ponzo, and a spoonful of Himalayan salt. Sprinkling and drizzling the condiments, we take to our chopsticks. Overwhelmed with how simple yet sophisticated this dish is, the flavours and textures create a symphony in our mouths, with the Himalayan salt adding a pop of crunch and ponzo a splash of acidity that steals the show entirely.
What’s On verdict: Ria serves casual sophistication that will have you coming back over and over again.
Ria Restaurant & Beach Bar, Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, daily 11am to 2am. Tel: (0)54 394 9898. riarestaurantbar.com