Truffles, the “diamond of the kitchen”, are being used in innovative ways in these high-end restaurants in Dubai.
The brainchild of Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton, Marina Social is as hip as its name suggests. Wooden floors, cool greys and atmospheric lighting give a sleek but cosy vibe. The open kitchen, bustling with immaculately dressed chefs, lends a sense of drama while quirky menu items add a playful touch: look no further than the mushroom and bone marrow English breakfast tea. It’s an inventive and flavour-packed spin on tea and toast with a savoury broth made of field mushrooms, dehydrated ceps and morels, poured out of a teapot and coupled with homemade sourdough, parmesan milk and bone marrow butter. Gourmets will delight at the meltingly delicious foie gras and confit duck terrine with poached pears, the stunning smoked Boston lobster and the decadent white truffle flatbread. Despite its fine dining leanings, the restaurant never strays into stuffiness thanks to funky furniture, affable service and upbeat contemporary tunes.
Intercontinental Dubai Marina, +971 4 446 6664
This place is undeniably sexy, from romantic red lighting and sleek interiors to pulsating music from the resident DJ. In the dining area, a fresh market displays the best in produce and seafood that money can buy and planes can jet in – carbineras from Portugal, oysters from France and rare live shrimp from Japan. It is what you would imagine a Russian oligarch’s pantry might look like. The food benefits from these fresh, quality ingredients and a precise knowledge of how to cook seafood perfectly. A liberal use of truffles also helps. The roast duck is a culinary masterpiece – the skin, rendered of all its fat, transforms into a crispy sheet of glass with succulent meat underneath, housed in a bowl of broth that is bursting with umami.
Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Rd, +971 4 388 8744
The Garden is churning out Peruvian classics with a twist under the watchful eye of Peruvian chef Edgar Hurtado, formerly of The Act. The decor is outdoorsy with patterned sofas, wooden chairs and weathered lime green tables, topped with recycled glass bottles and simple lavender flowers. A contemporary slant on traditional Aztec painting with newspaper cuttings and modern graffiti add eye-catching colour to the walls.
Sip fruit-infused piscos before trying the classic ceviche with diced sea bream soaked in leche de tigre, a Peruvian lime and red onion marinade. A classic tiraditos of seared yellowfin tuna with smudges of guacamole is perfect for sharing before digging into hot dishes of sweet scallops served in their shell and smothered in a creamy white wine and Parmesan cheese sauce. The tender wagyu slices with chilli paste are mellowed with more creamy goodness; the wild mushroom quinotto enhanced with black truffle.
Garden restaurant, JW Marriot Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay, +971 4414 0000
Peruvian food, an exemplar fusion cuisine thanks to its long multicultural history with European, Asian and West African immigrants, is having a moment. The dark panelled interior of this hip new restaurant showcases a gallery wall with original pieces by portrait artist Tamara de Lempicka and Spanish painter Juan Gris. The grilled octopus over squid ink quinoa risotto with truffle is modern Peruvian at its best. The butter poached lobster and potato gnocchi is a new addition to the menu and tastes divine with the creamy mushroom quinoa risotto. There is also a wide selection of creative ceviche with sea bass being the star player but it is the juicy beef tenderloin anticucho served with classic chimichurri that has us talking.
Sofitel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, +971 4 346 9295