Review: Moonrise, Dubai's bucket list restaurant is back with new dishes
The homegrown concept is arguably one of the city’s best restaurants and a rare one serving unapologetically ‘Dubai cuisine’…
Once in a while, you might find yourself looking for a restaurant that’s a little more special, intimate, and exciting than your average eatery.
Whether it’s for a special occasion, perhaps you’ve got some groveling to do, or you’ve become so spoilt for choice in Dubai that you’re seeking something beyond ‘just food’. A dinner that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Dubai’s piping hot ticket, Moonrise, is just that.
The spot became licensed earlier this year and, a month later, won its first Michelin Star. We return for the first time since, to witness the magic that Dubai-born chef Solemann Haddad is cooking up on the rooftop of Satwa’s Eden House.
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The small dining room is dominated by a U-shaped 12-seater bar where diners can watch the close-knit team of chefs work flawlessly together.
The 11-course tasting menu, served twice nightly for Dhs850 per person, is a creative and clever representation of Dubai’s diverse culinary scene, or as self-taught chef Solemann tells us, it’s the food he grew up eating.
If you can, opt for the wine pairing for an additional cost of Dhs550 per person where bottles are sourced from around the world – from Syria to Greece – and are paired perfectly with the abundance of flavours and textures on the menu.
Things begin with a bang, quite literally – the first course is called ‘Explosion’. It’s a perfect representation of real Dubai cuisine. Pani puri filled with a foie gras ganache and Saudi date syrup is served on a bed of mango and saffron chutney and topped with fresh truffle. The burst of distinct flavours ends with a spicy kick from the chili oil. Our palates are officially warmed up and excited for what’s to come.
Never thought you’d see a cheese toastie on a Michelin Star menu? Us neither. But Moonrise’s grilled cheese is special. It’s served on locally sourced Japanese milk bread, the sweetness of which is balanced with the richness of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black garlic emulsion. Faces around the room light up with joy and we’re left wondering how a bite can bring so much delight.
Each of the 11 courses comes with a postcard featuring a quirky graphic on one side and a detailed note on the other. We learn that the tomatoes are supplied from a farm in Al Ain. The Sidr honey from Ras al Khaimah. Their accountant’s mum in Syria makes the dried za’atar. And organic, small-batch, naturally fermented butter from a farm in the west of France. Never underestimate a chef’s dedication to finding the very best ingredients, wherever in the world that may be. It matters.
On top of this, chef Solemann gives us a brief story of what we’re about to eat, why, and how we should eat it as the dishes are placed in front of us. But ultimately, it’s the food that does the talking.
Save some of the Kubz, 725-day fermented bread served with a brown miso French butter (we didn’t say it was going to be easy), to mop up every last drop of the next two courses…
The newest addition to the menu, the Alfredo Pasta stems from chef Solemann’s childhood comfort food. The ravioli is stuffed with lobster and jalapeno served with a moreish cheese sauce made from the rind of the parmesan used earlier in the grilled cheese. Moonrise may now have a Michelin Star under its belt, but the restaurant has remained true to its core values: minimum waste, local produce, and sustainability.
Then there’s the Sarookh and Scallop which left us weak at the knees. A simple dish to make, chef Solemann humbly tells us, using the finest ingredients: a generous dollop of Kaluga caviar, a succulent slightly-warmed Hokkaido scallop, elevated to otherworldly levels with a punchy, buttery, tangy sauce.
You eat all of this in a sleek, dimly lit, dining room where a serene ambiance is met with a glittering view of Downtown Dubai.
Moonrise feels somewhat like a beautifully-intentioned, well-executed experiment. The dessert is inspired by Dubai’s cafeteria culture and specifically the famous Abood Juice. Chef Solemann’s reinterpretation takes the form of a cheesecake using Alphonso mangoes, honey, and vanilla. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Verdict: A dining experience of dreams and an easy contender for Dubai’s best restaurant.
Moonrise, Eden House, Al Satwa, Dubai. Monday to Saturday, 6.30pm and 9.30pm. Tasting menu Dhs850 per person. Tel:(0)506972946. @moonrise.xyz