Eat while you can before they start to shut down for Ramadan
We don’t want to be labelled as doom-mongers here at Time Out, but we feel duty bound to inform you that there’s not much time left to get your five-star dining fix. Ramadan is just around the corner: the holy month is a time for spiritual reflection, time with the family and iftars (lots thereof), although it’s worth nothing that a number of Dubai’s best restaurants close over August, and some of our favourite meal deals will be discontinued. So, with one eye on the clock, we round up the restaurants you must visit before summer sets in and fasting starts.
Roasts and renovations Laid-back, accessible sports bar The Academy at The Address Montgomerie is shutting up shop for Ramadan, meaning no more pub grub or watching live sports on the multitudinous flatscreen TVs. However, all is not lost – the venue will be undergoing major renovations during August. Our insiders tell us the restaurant will open up after Ramadan with a new name, new look, a bigger outdoor seating area and more covers. In the meantime, we recommend popping down for the Tuesday curry night (prices vary). Alternatively, just across the road, The Montgomerie’s Nineteen restaurant will be open for dinner as usual, but there will be no Saturday roasts in August. The Address, Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills (04 390 5600).
Call in on The Cavendish Thursday grape nights at The Cavendish, which started on June 30, have made for a nice bookend to the week. Diners can choose between a three- or five-course set menu, with each course paired with a specific grape. To keep diners on their toes, the menus (and the accompanying drinks) change on a weekly basis. But hurry – the last grape night will be held on July 28, before resuming after Ramadan. Bonnington Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0000).
So long to steak Don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of steakhouses operating in the evening during Ramadan, although one of our favourites, The Exchange Grill, will be taking a break until September. The Fairmont’s renowned steakhouse will reopen after Eid (September 4) to continue offering its tried-and-tested meat-loving menu. Anyone with plans to lament the one-month loss of The Exchange Grill with a stiff drink at Cigar Bar or Cin Cin will have to think again, because these venues are also closed until September. However, you’ve still got time to sample The Exchange’s summer grill menu – a four-course set dinner that features dishes such as black mussels, salmon tartare and red snapper (it’ll set you back Dhs350, including one glass of red or white). Or try the four-course beef tasting menu for the same price. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
Gary’s a goner Time Out.’s 2010 Restaurant of the Year and 2011 runner-up Rhodes Mezzanine is shutting up shop for August, giving executive chef Paul Lupton a much-deserved break. However, before he jets off, we suggest getting the most out of him by indulging in the restaurant’s new ‘Savour the Flavour’ summer menu, which complements the existing à la carte menu using fresh seasonal ingredients in dishes such as roast sea bass with oysters, cucumber and tarragon, or roast loin of lamb with caramelised onion tart. Desserts include summer pudding soufflé or Eton mess with rice pudding – the quintessential British summer dessert. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 8888).
Laters, Lime Tree The denizens of Jumeirah, Ibn Battuta and Media City are up in arms at the news that their local Lime Tree Café won’t be open to serve trademark breakfasts, quick and easy lunches and, of course, wickedly delectable desserts and cakes. Those who can’t last through the month should head to the Al Quoz branch. Jumeirah Beach Road, Ibn Battuta mall, Dubai Media City and Al Quoz, www.thelimetreecafe.com.
A final French fling We love the simple yet perfectly executed French fare that has made Traiteur one of Dubai’s sure-fire restaurant winners, so we’re sad to see it close its doors until September 1 (for the record, the Time Out Restaurant Award-winning brunch will restart on September 9). However, there’s currently a 20 per cent discount for anyone who makes a reservation online (every cloud…), so we suggest logging on, booking a table and heading to Deira while you can. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
Say goodbye to Gagnaire The tireless work of the team at Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire and the limitless imagination of the eponymous Michelin-starred chef has bequeathed Dubai’s foodies with some sensational dishes over the past year – purple raviole of capers, La Nicchia and green olives from Nyons, grilled cod kokotchas, tuna rubbed with nettle purée, green velouté of ratte potatoes, cuttlefish carpaccio, sweet and sour pineapple, sweet potato and coconut ice cream… In the wake of Gagnaire’s recent visit to Dubai, now is as good a time as any to book a table and see what all the fuss is about before the venue closes for Ramadan. What’s more, you can soften the blow of the bill with Time Out’s City Card, which will get you 20 per cent off food. InterContinental Dubai Festival City (04 701 1111).
Last-minute Mexican If you haven’t tried chocolate chicken (mole pablano), now’s the time. But it would be unfair to label the winner of Best Latin American Restaurant in Time Out’s 2011 awards a one-dish wonder – Maya has long impressed with its flair and imagination, as well as attentive, well-informed service. If it’s a good meal you’re looking for before summer sinks in and the venue closes its doors, this is the place. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5555).
Arrivederci, Armani Shameless self-promotion alert: you’ve only a limited amount of time to try Time Out’s own special menu at Armani/Peck, which closes for Ramadan. The menu features dishes such as seafood salad, tomato and mozzarella with carpaccio; risotto, beef tenderloin or salmon for mains; and vanilla mille feuille for dessert. Advance reservation is required (quote ‘Time Out Menu’ when booking). Armani’s Japanese restaurant, Armani/Hashi, also goes on hiatus for Ramadan – we recommend you try the sushi tasting menu (Dhs190) while you can. Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa email@example.com (04 888 3444).