Here, the dishes are served with a side of soul…

It’s a pleasure to dine at a steakhouse where the meat is fantastic. It’s an even greater pleasure when every single thing you sample on the menu is a soaring hit – not just the steak. That is the two-line review of Rare, City Walk‘s newest offering located inside the licensed district, C2. Even if you don’t like steak, you’ll like Rare.

C2 is swiftly turning out to be the foodie gift that keeps on giving, with one fine venue after the other opening doors and making our lives very difficult with the gift and the curse that is choice. First-world problems are generally obnoxious and that’s probably the most obnoxious one to have, but Rare is an easy pick – so well done, as stated by a dear friend. That’s the kind of irony you’re looking for.


As you step through the doors, Rare comes alive, with the sounds, sights and smells that feed your other senses before you even begin to eat. The first thing you’ll see is the stunning bar – it’s hard to miss. Everything is draped in shades of red, wine and brown, from the ceiling to the wood walls and the deep velvet seating to the curtains. It’s edgy, it’s glamorous – it’s a mysterious woman in a leather jacket wearing a killer red lip. The champions of every gorgeous visual – low, yellow lighting and carefully curated greenery – are the accessories, but my personal favourite bits are the two concrete pillars – standing bare and strong. They make me feel like I’ve seen the heart and soul of the place.


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Just as we’re getting settled in and on some drinks, we are served our first round of starters – the smoked eggplant dip with crudites (Dhs24) and the fried olives with crumbled feta (Dhs21). The dip has just the right amount of depth from the smoke and light from the eggplant – easy start, nothing too intense. The olives are salty, crispy and incredibly moreish, an instant favourite.

The second round comes as the seared tuna crudo (Dhs96) and the heirloom tomato and peach salad (Dhs59). The crudo is one of my highlights, a myriad of flavours that I can’t explain and don’t want to end, with the chew of the fish, the fat of the brown butter bearnaise and the salt of the anchovy soy. It’s unlike anything I’ve had before. The salad is a delightful jig in your mouth with a smoked peach you won’t see coming and bright tomatoes that offset the richness of the cheese.


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The bone marrow on toast (Dhs48) is an umami bomb, with mushrooms and pickled onion to add. The sweet bread offers balance and it’s great, but may be an acquired taste for some. The bolognese fritti (Dhs52) reveal steaming tomato goodness inside. They’re deep fried and covered in parmesan cream – what’s not to like?

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The confit beetroot and grain salad with puffed wild rice and pomegranate (Dhs59) is a party of textures, with smoked labneh adding body to otherwise light and airy ingredients. Everything is remarkable, except the chicken skewers (Dhs86), which while delicious, are standard kababs topped with salsa roja. For the less experimental, perhaps.


For the mains, we have the king prawns (Dhs165) – lively flavours with a hint of spice from the chipotle butter – the ricotta agnolotti (Dhs128) and the wagyu striploin (Dhs245). The stuffed pasta is a pleasantly subtle, cheesy affair, with cheese inside, outside and all over, and some black pepper to cut all that. The star of the show however, is the steak – a premium cut of meat, which you would expect they cook right (this is a steakhouse, after all) but the innovation is the wasabi cream, which I suggest they sell by the bottle. Perfectly salted meat, no grey, bland bits and all the kick from the wasabi. It’s a dream.


While we demolish the desserts – whipped burnt cheesecake (Dhs58) and soft chocolate (Dhs67) – the brain behind the beef, Sahil Anand, tells us tales about cheesecakes in blenders and what makes a good Italian, and I feel a little bit like I’m in an episode of The Bear. As I chow down the delightful experiments of textures, like everything else at this spot is, of course.

What’s On Verdict: Just go to Rare. That’s all.

Rare, C2, City Walk, Sun to Thurs, 12pm to 1am, Fri and Sat, 12pm to 2am, Tel: (0) 4 287 4604, @theraredxb

Images: Socials