Is this the most affordable fine-dining restaurant in Dubai? 

Dubbed “the new DIFC”, Dubai Hills Business Park is on our radar thanks to the recent influx of exciting new (licensed) restaurant openings. One of which, Duo Gastrobar, hails all the way from St. Petersburg and has a rather impressive CV, recognised by the likes of 50 Best Discovery.

Chef-owned (always a good start), the founders Dmitry Blinov and Renat Malikov are bringing their 40 best dishes, as well as reasonable prices, quality ingredients, and a lively atmosphere, to the first Middle Eastern outpost in Dubai Hills.

After a few word-of-mouth recommendations and, with the fear of missing out, we decided to go down and check it out. Could this be the knock-out, reasonably priced neighbourhood restaurant we’ve been missing?

On a hot summer Friday evening, the newly opened restaurant is bustling with a mix of families, couples, and larger groups. The dining room occupies a sophisticated, intimate space with neutral tones and wooden tables, leading our eyes to the slick open kitchen and focused team of chefs.

Modern European cuisine with a slight touch of Asia, the one-page menu is separated into starters, pastas, mains, desserts, and signature dishes. Most, if not all, the dishes call out to us.

To kick the night into motion, start with the Hugo cocktail (Dhs50), a simple yet refreshing combination of prosecco, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice.

Order the broccoli pate (Dhs35) and yellowtail with black truffle and horseradish (Dhs85) to start. Two no-brainers and we can see why they’re Duo’s signature dishes. Four glistening pieces of raw yellowtail are served in a bed of umami-rich black truffle soy sauce and sprinkled with horseradish, lending a fiery kick.

Don’t skip the young cabbage with truffle (Dhs75). Rich, tender cabbage topped with shavings of fresh black truffle, crunchy salt, and cheese sauce warms our soul and feels slightly nostalgic.

Chef Dmitriy ensures the kitchen operates on zero-waste, with all his restaurants built around the idea of conscious consumption. In fact: you’ll notice a lot of the dishes are based around one vegetable, with every part carefully used so nothing goes to waste.

The oxtail pie (Dhs75) is certainly worth seeking out, in all its flaky, buttery, creamy glory. Nodding between mouthfuls at the balance of flavours between the tender oxtail and Taleggio cheese, this comforting dish definitely steals the show.

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Although we’re enormously full, the coconut cream with raspberry (Dhs45) is calling our name, and we are glad it did. A light sponge, fresh raspberries, dehydrated raspberries, pistachios, and coconut cream provide the perfect end to an excellent meal.

Whether you live in Dubai Hills or have to travel to get there, trust us when we say, Duo is worth the journey.

Verdict: Duo will win you over with its crowd-pleasing menu, quality food, reasonable prices, and buzzing atmosphere. We’re already planning what to try when we return…

Duo Gastrobar, Dubai Hills Business Park 4, Dubai. Weekdays 12pm to 11pm, Weekends 12pm to 12am. @duo.uae

Images: Provided