Make an impression at your next out of the office encounter
Time Out Dubai staff
Winner – Best Business Lunch Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
Gaucho A slick and professional environment that’s hard to beat if a working lunch is on the agenda, Gaucho’s yin and yang, black and white decor is suave and sophisticated, while staff go to great lengths to be friendly and put you at ease without being slapdash. Their knowledge of the menu – even when describing how the steaks will taste – is also excellent. The business lunch menu is great value. You can choose from four cold starters, four hot starters and four mains, and we strongly recommend the famous Gaucho burger and the fillet steak served with a grilled portobello mushroom. Dhs100 for two courses, Dhs120 for three courses, Dhs140 for four courses. Served daily noon-3pm. DIFC (04 422 7898).
Highly Commended – Best Business Lunch Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
Indego by Vineet You get what you pay for at Indego – but be prepared to pay a lot. Dhs190 per person seems a lot to fork out for a business lunch, but bear in mind you’re getting food from a menu designed by a Michelin-starred chef, not to mention a novel twist on the original thali. Don’t expect to have your food served the traditional way – all the dishes arrive at once on a round silver tray – and don’t expect the usual curries and dahls. Instead, you get several courses of beautifully presented food, including an exquisite chicken pakora and lemon tandoori prawn (they’ll offer you refills as well). The marble walls and regal decor hint at a long-gone era of colonialism and the al fresco section is spectacular as well, with great views of the Marina, while the slick, knowledgeable staff enhance the overall excellent experience. A great spot to take a client. Dhs190 for thali. Served Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 399 8888).
Highly Commended – Best Business Lunch Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
Zuma It’s one of the most talked about restaurants in Dubai and walked away with two gongs at Time Out Dubai’s 2013 Restaurant Awards. If impressing a client is the order of the day, there are very few places more stylish and slick than Zuma. The two-tiered lounge-restaurant in the heart of DIFC is positively buzzing at lunchtime, with barely an empty seat in the house (booking in advance is advised). Service is impeccable, confident and friendly without being OTT. The business lunch menu, or Ebisu as it’s called, is a snip at Dhs130 and a great way to try a selection of dishes on the menu. You get four courses, one of which is miso soup, and we recommend the miso-marinated black cod donburi and the spicy beef tenderloin. Zuma still delivers and is one of the best eating out experiences in Dubai. Dhs130 for four courses. Served Sun-Thu 12.30pm-3pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC, www.zumarestaurant.com (04 425 5660).
At.mosphere Grill If you’re looking to wow a client to clinch a deal over lunch, there’s no better spot in Dubai than At.mosphere. Let’s start with the obvious – it’s very high up: 122 floors, to be precise, meaning you’re guaranteed the most spectacular views of the emirate from the Burj Khalifa (even the lift ride is fun as it hurtles up to its lofty destination). Although the booking process can appear stuffy and formal (repeated mentions regarding dress code), the staff are top-drawer, combining professionalism with a friendly, relaxing manner. The decor may be a little 1980s for some but still has plenty of class about it, so it’s just a shame that the rather limited business lunch menu doesn’t carry the same quality as the rest of the experience (we’re not convinced by any menu serving prawn cocktail as a starter in this day and age). But you’re paying for an experience here, and overall it’s one of the best in the city. Dhs390 for three courses. Served daily 12.30pm-2.30pm. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com (04 888 3828).
Caramel Sitting spot in the middle of banker-friendly DIFC, Caramel is a good reflection of its surroundings. It’s posh (in a clean and modern way), expensive and ruthlessly competitive. We’d recommend going for the tapas, which is a delicious mixture of Spanish standards and pan-Asian morsels. If you’re looking at Caramel in the context of a bar, it’s a notch above your standard pub grub. Admittedly you do pay a premium, but dishes are reasonably portioned and you get the impression that there haven’t been any shortcuts in terms of ingredients or cooking. You can opt to sit in the understated, chic interior, or you can hang out with the business folk on the massive terrace, watching them strut past in their power suits. Lower the prices and we’d be here more often. Open Sun-Thu 11am-2am, Fri-Sat 7pm-2am. Building 3, DIFC, caramelgroup.com (04 425 6677).
Hakkasan This modern Cantonese high-end eatery offers a three-course business lunch with one thing missing – dessert. Instead diners choose from dishes such as chicken dumplings, Mongolian prawns, Chinese wild mushroom soup, sweet and sour chicken with pomegranate and mains such as rib-eye beef. The sleek dark-walled panelling gives it an air of sophistication and the al fresco area is a decent place to sit, although the lack of a view (apart from the back wall of what looks like a car park) makes it a slightly flat outdoor option. Service is also polished, and while the overall experience is positive, many of the dishes lack pizzazz and greater strides need to be made to raise the food. Dhs120 for three courses, Dhs140 for three courses (with selected glass of grape). Served Sat-Thu noon-2.30pm, Fri noon-3.30pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, hakkasan.com/dubai (04 384 8484).
Okku To avoid any problems, it’s best to book in advance for this popular business lunch at Okku. And it will certainly impress once you take your seat to conduct some business over the highly-renowned Japanese cuisine. Staff are incredibly friendly and all smiles. The business menu, or tezukuru, is worth trying thanks to the sheer variety on offer, including the succulent Okku burger and the sprightly, slightly sweet black cod donburi. The minimalist, classy wooden decor and quality of food and service here make it a great place to conduct business. Dhs69-Dhs125. Served Sun-Thu noon-2.45pm. The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, okku.com (04 501 8777).
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse This rather classy steakhouse manages to achieve two things at once: it appears airy and bright despite the dark, moody Mad Men-style decor – in small part due to the massive windows that offer rather impressive views of Dubai Marina. As a location for a business meeting, it’s ideal. It carries an air of sophistication that will impress colleagues alongside those aforementioned views. The lunch menu, surprisingly, doesn’t include steaks, but you can order à la carte as well. Staff don’t go overboard on the platitudes and serve reasonable if not Earth-shattering food in a reserved, professional manner. Dhs109 for three courses. Served Sun-Thu noon-3pm. The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 454 9538).
The Ivy The entrance to The Ivy in Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard is understated, almost hidden, and it’s very much in keeping with the eatery’s vibe as an exclusive, private club. Inside, the ambiance is the same. A whole forest worth of wood dominates the floor, furniture and pillars, with the place very much modelled on its sister branch, the original Ivy in London. The business lunch menu changes every week, although we wonder if focusing on the same dishes every week might improve the overall quality. Considering the prices you’ll pay here, the food very rarely reaches the same heights as that of the decor and service. Overall, though, it’s perfect environment to conduct a meeting or seal a deal – just don’t take a ‘difficult’ client whose opinion might be swayed by food that doesn’t quite match the setting. Dhs130 for two courses, Dhs150 for three courses including tea or coffee. Served Sun-Thu noon-4pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.theivy.ae (04 319 8767).
The Observatory Lunch 52 floors up makes The Observatory an obvious, stylish place to take clients for a business meeting. The black marbled decor and far-reaching views of the Marina and Palm make it even more so. But you won’t just find corporate types here. Despite the classy fixtures and fittings, this international restaurant is just as popular during the day with people staying at the hotel, meaning you get an eclectic mix of business parties, families and tourists. Staff are slick and helpful, and the business lunch deal is a real bargain at Dhs120 per person for three courses and soft drinks – plus you can choose from many starters, mains, sandwiches and desserts from the à la carte menu. The starters and desserts are dependable, but the mains need a bit of work both in terms of taste and presentation. Dhs90 for two courses, Dhs120 for three courses. Served daily noon-3pm. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4000).