Our favourite spots for dinner and a show - from jazz to cabaret
Time Out staff
From dine and watch to dine and sing, and even dine and play, 2013 has become the year of ‘dintertainment’ in Dubai. Throughout the year, we’ve noticed a growing trend of new nightlife haunts, with karaoke, cabaret and even ping pong themes, all serving guests with a dinner menu to be enjoyed alongside entertainment. Joining the ranks of Dubai’s cabaret old guard such as Russian spot Tchaikovsky, venues including The Act, MusicHall, Jazz@PizzaExpress and Spin have all changed the way we eat and party this year. This month welcomes a new selection of dinner and entertainment with Bollywood nights at Indian restaurant Amala and a ‘dine in the dark’ event Noire at Spectrum on One, plus Las Vegas-inspired dinner and cabaret shows due to start at Boracay at the beginning of October. From African drumming to Japanese knife-juggling, via North Korean dancing, we explore Dubai’s most entertaining places to dine.
Antique Bazaar With its ornate furnishings and regal-themed vibe, Indian eatery Antique Bazaar is quite an overwhelming place at the best of times, but when the traditional family band takes to the stage each night, things move from the bazaar to the surreal. Expect to witness all manner of twirling dance moves, impressive percussion and impassioned vocal workouts while you dine. Prices à la carte. Daily 7.30pm-3am. Four Points by Sheraton, Khalid Bin Walid Street, Bur Dubai (04 397 7444).
Benihana Pull up a seat at one of Benihana’s teppanyaki tables, place your order and then sit back and watch as the comical, swashbuckling chefs do their utmost to wow and entertain you with the help of their cooking utensils. It’s hardly the Chinese State Circus, but you can still expect lots of juggling, clinking of spatulas and broad, ultimately endearing smiles. Go on, don’t be so serious, loosen up and enjoy! Prices à la carte, teppanyaki set menu from Dhs160. Daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. Amwaj Rotana, JBR, Dubai Marina (04 428 3089).
Bollywood at Amala Recently launched, Mughlai restaurant Amala has introduced a touch of Indian entertainment and glamour to the menu with regular Bollywood theme nights. In addition to dinner served at 6pm, guests can head to the screen room before or after dinner to watch a Bollywood blockbuster, with different movies shown each Saturday. Dhs285 per person. Sat 3.30pm-7.30pm. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0444).
Boracay Currently due to launch on Tuesday October 1, this Filipino nightspot has a Las Vegas- inspired cabaret show in the pipelines to celebrates the club’s revamp. Guests will be able to feast on an international buffet while watching dancing and singing performed by staff sporting outlandish costumes. Dhs179 per person. Daily, dinner served from 7pm, show 8pm-9.30pm. Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira (04 238 7777).
Jazz@Pizza Express Swinging into Dubai after the success of its branch in London’s jazz club heartland Soho, this outlet in JLT offers the same pizza and jazz combination over dinner. Whilst eating, guests can listen to the resident pianist every night of the week, with live acts which change on a monthly basis appearing on Thursday and Fridays and an open mic night on Tuesday. No entrance fee, prices à la carte, Daily 8pm-1am. Next to Mövenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A (04 441 6342).
Noire at Spectrum on One Launched last week, Spectrum on One introduces a form of dinner entertainment that has previously swept world capitals – the ‘dining in the dark’ trend. Here, diners are led into a pitch-black room by servers wearing night-vision goggles and served a three-course menu of fine cuisine, with the fun challenge not only of eating it in the dark, but also working out what you are putting in your mouth. Dhs27 from each dinner guest will be donated to Sightsavers Middle East. Dhs325 per person. Fri-Mon 7.30pm-10pm. Spectrum on One, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
Pyongyang Okryugwan Every Friday, Dubai’s only North Korean restaurant pulls out all the stops by wowing diners with a showcase from its multi-talented waitresses. The lights are dimmed, the sound system turned up and the costumed waiting staff take to the raised stage in what can only be described as a well-meaning, yet undeniably bizarre variety show. Expect karaoke-style renditions, guitar and flute recitals, and semi-choreographed dances. Oh, and there’s also a somewhat unwelcome smoke machine. Prices à la carte, Friday 8pm-midnight. Al Maktoum Road, Deira (04 298 1589).
Rock Bottom Café This infamous Dubai favourite bills itself as a ‘dine and dance’ concept and offers a more rough-and-ready version of dinner and entertainment. Dine on an Americana menu of fajitas and burgers then head to the dance floor to watch the house band belt out cover tunes. Prices à la carte. Daily 7pm-11.45pm. Ramee Rose Hotel, TECOM (04 450 0111).
Spin Dubai This cool table tennis club’s regular full-moon parties involve glow-in-the-dark face paint, energetic staff showcasing super-charged dance moves and, of course, lots of ping pong. It sounds bizarre, but it actually works, enhanced by the casual, informal atmosphere and dress code, and having a dedicated person whose sole job is to pick your ping pong balls off the floor is pure luxury. Prices à la carte (bar food and sharing plates) Open Sat-Tue 6pm-1am, Wed-Fri 6pm-3am. Wafi, Oud Metha (04 370 7707).
Tchaikovsky While this Russian restaurant serves a classically Slavic menu of borsch through to caviar, the real pull for guests is the cabaret, which take place each evening. With three performances (10.45pm, 11.45pm and 1am), each lasting 30 minutes, we recommend late dining, so you don’t miss out on the magicians, instrumentalists and vocal performances that make this a Dubai cabaret institution. Dhs150 per person (Monday night buffet including soft drinks). Dhs175 per person (Thursday night three-course set menu including soft drinks). Fri-Sun, Tue and Wed, prices à la carte, minimum spend Dhs100 per person. Daily 8pm-3am (cabaret starts from 10.45pm). Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 448 8222).
Tribes While it might not be a nightly occurrence at this African restaurant and steakhouse, on Fridays, and also in honour of guests celebrating special occasions, diners at Tribes can be privy to an ad-hoc performance. With drumming, singing and dancing, staff entertain guests with traditional African song. Prices à la carte. Fri 2pm-midnight. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 395 0663).
Yuraku In keeping with the nightlife vibe of an izakaya, a late night Japanese dining and drinking spot, guests in one of the three private karaoke rooms can entertain themselves with singing and dining. Guests can order a range of creative Japanese-fusion sharing plates and Japanese rice beverages. Dhs100 per hour (room fee). Food and beverage prices à la carte. Sat-Wed 7pm-2am, Thu and Fri 6pm-2am. Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira (04 238 7777).
Supperclub Dubai Expect a troop of dancers and aerial artists to hit the stage at regular intervals in a variety of enticing costumes, ranging from Louis XIV-style finery to exotic masked characters. Dubai’s high-end version of the progressive concept, which originated in Amsterdam 20 years ago, is lively, shiny, bright and very white. The mischievous dancers mingle among tables of fine diners, while circus-style performers writhe through silk ribbons above. Supperclub also spins nightly tunes from its resident DJ as well as hosting special surprise acts. Dhs5,000 minimum spend per table. Thu-Fri 7pm-3am (kitchen closes at 11pm). Free. Sat-Wed, 7pm-2am. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 451 1100).
MusicHall This venue is a nod to old-school opulence in high-end surrounds (think lots of red velvet). In terms of the entertainment on offer as you dine, expect an eclectic international line up of ten or more musicians from across the globe, covering a variety of genres, from folk and jazz to reggae and soul. Each act usually plays around three tracks before making way for the next performer after the interlude. In keeping with the original Beirut MusicHall’s Greek Lebanese founder Michael Elefteriades’ ethos, acts appear on an equal billing regardless of their celebrity. Dhs450 minimum spend. Thu-Fri, 9pm-3am. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (056 270 8670).
The Act We have to admit, even we were a little taken aback the first time we witnessed The Act’s show, a brave and bizarre showcase featuring a paraplegic woman performing Cirque du Soleil-style stunts, a Russell Brand lookalike murdering Iggy Pop and an Alice in Wonderland-esque giant rabbit. Between the late night stage shows costumed performers wander amongst the tables, adding a strange thespian feel to the 42nd floor venue. Prices à la carte. Sun and Thu 9.30pm-3am. Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 811 9900).