Review: BB Social Dining, Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Ha-BB has come from Dubai…
Al Maryah Island is home to one of the most prestigious dining strips in the whole of the Middle East, aided in no small degree by two luxe hotels on either side of The Galleria’s waterfront promenade. And it’s one of those – the regal Rosewood Hotel that provides the home for the island’s latest hall of fame signing.
Straight outta DIFC, BB Social Dining is a true Dubai dining treasure – an Asian eatery visited on more than one occasion by Dubai royalty. It’s the latest project from culinary power pairing Chef Alexander Stumpf and Spero Panagakis, and famously divides its menu into boxes beginning with the letter ‘B’. Think Baos, Bowls, Bites and BBQ. ‘Beets, Bears and Battlestar Galactica’ were presumably snubbed at the last minute (profuse apologies to anyone who isn’t a fan of the The American Office).
B is for box fresh
This Abu Dhabi venue has just swung open the doors at its light and airy new location, and in addition to transporting a good deal of its Insta-famous fan favourites from Dubai, it deals in some new dishes uniquely available in the capital.
Other fresh and distinctive features of this Abu Dhabi adventure include a water view shisha terrace that will surely draw the crowds to fragranced clouds as soon as the weather is a little more accommodating. Elsewhere, the brand’s strong and subtle voice comes through cleanly with bold lines, bespoke art, big neon sass, botanical elements and banquettes of blue and white.
We’re snapped from design reverie by the arrival of our first edible ensemble. It’s the crispy soy brussel sprouts (Dhs45) and cauliflower popcorn (Dhs45). Both have their own cult following in Dubai, and for good reason. The former is an unmatched ambassador for the unfairly maligned, festive vegetable, that carefully unwraps any previous prejudice you might have lurking under your canopy.
B is for big flavours
And on to the dim sum. These Abu Dhabi exclusives really deserve applause and although the profoundly juicy prawn and lobster har gow (Dhs55) garner our fondest affection, it isn’t easy to pick a winner. The east-west fusion raging inside the delicate parcels of wagyu gyoza (Dhs55) mark it too as an instant classic. And we have nothing but deep praise for the bright spark that added a spicy tomato salsa to the dipping sauce trilogy.
The hamachi maki (Dhs45), served with a whisper-thin veneer of jalapeño, is our recommendation from the nigiri talent pool. But amongst the cacophony of quality that makes up the BB menu, it’s the truffled rib-eye (Dhs189) that muscles in and steals the belt. Cubed for your chopsticking convenience and served charred with a truffle and smoked aubergine sauce – it’s the sort of eclectic, clever, exquisitely realised dish that exemplifies the brand.
B is for bao-ing out
We end things with a bang on a beignet (Dhs52), a fluffy doughnut variant made with bao pastry, coated in sugar and paired with a berry confiture. A sublime and refined way to bao on out.
Verdict: This venue might be famous for its Bs, but it’s all As for us.
BB Social Dining, Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, midday to midnight (1am on Fri to Sat). (0) 2 236 2600, @bbabudhabi