The latest crop of restaurants in Dubai from JBR to DIFC features some fine home-grown talent.
Maine Oyster Bar and Grill
The entrance to this hip brasserie in JBR is tucked away in the car park of the DoubleTree by Hilton. With its dimly lit monochrome interiors, distressed white brick walls and mustachioed barmen, it evokes a hipster spot in New York’s Lower East Side rather than a New England seaside bistro. Fresh oysters are always on the menu, which also features the popular crispy fish taco starter, served on a soft white tortilla and topped with pico de gallo and lemon aioli. And while seafood is prominent on the menu, do not overlook the steak frites – grilled to perfection and served with crisp salty chips.
Doubletree by Hilton, Jumeirah Beach Residence, +971 4 457 6719
Play restaurant and lounge
Don’t be fooled by the name. From the moment you step out of the elevator on the 36th floor of the H hotel, Play puts its game face on. While the food may be a playful fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine, the design takes itself seriously. It is contemporary with a hint of art decor, combining low-level furniture with bronze accents and elegant marble, pop-out panelled walls and textured ceilings with lighting racks that spotlight the sleek black cutlery and gilded ice buckets. Chef Reif Othman (formerly of Zuma) has designed a menu around the finest quality ingredients from snails to truffle. Must-trys are the raw wagyu with peanut butter drizzle, duck gyoza topped with a crispy parmesan cheese crust and the pitta surprise. The latter, while a little overpriced for two bite size servings, has lightly toasted, puffed pitta bread topped with kobe carpaccio and filled with a truffle cream butter that is heaven in your mouth.
The H Hotel Dubai, +971 4 336 4444
Intersect by Lexus
Designed by cult architect Masamichi Katayama and geared to individuals with an interest in art, culture and technology, guests are invited to use the venue as a destination between work and home where one can linger, converse, peruse the books and enjoy a gourmet meal. The top floor encompasses a cafe and library with a stunning exhibition space below, complete with a floor composed of an installation of Lexus car parts painted white and encased in reinforced glass. Executive chef Tomas Reger weaves Japanese and Meditteranean elements into the menu. Try the seared scallops with butternut squash and samphire, where spicy yuzu jelly cuts through the sweetness of the scallop. The cheesecake, with its disparate mounds of cream, passion fruit curd, and cookie crumble, comes together beautifully.
DIFC Gate Village, +971 4 355 9524
Tucked away on a waterfront promenade in Palm Views West (close to the Golden Mile) on Palm Jumeirah, Senara is a homegrown concept that is a hidden gem for fresh seafood within a casual setting. With a British chef in charge of the kitchen, you would expect nothing less than perfection when it comes to the fish and chips and that’s what you get. Flaky cod with a crispy batter and golden brown, chunky chips come with a side of mint-infused mushy peas and homemade tangy tartare sauce. Another hit is the surf and turf, sweet and creamy lobster thermidor accompanied by juicy tenderloin beef. All that is missing is a glass of grape to sip on while enjoying the stunning sunset views over the Palm but that is coming in the next few weeks, according to the manager. In the meantime, console yourself with the soothing sticky toffee pudding.
Palm Views West, Palm Jumeirah, +971 4 451 6460