Our food ed rounds up the best menu's at this annual festival of dining
First launched in 2012, this year Jumeirah Restaurant Week kicks off on Friday May 23, running until Saturday May 31. The annual event takes place across 61 Jumeirah restaurants worldwide, including outlets in Dubai, Abu Dubai, London, the Maldives and Shanghai. Divided between four-price categories in Dubai (Dhs90 at Noodle House, Dhs120 for casual dining, Dhs180 for signature dining, and Dhs270 for buffet dining at the Burj Al Arab), diners can sample a selection of signature dishes from the three-course set menus available. With just over a week to go until the beginning of the promotional dining experience, we give you a preview, with our pick of this year’s most appetising-sounding menus.
Al Qasr At this hotel within the canal-linked complex of the Madinat Jumeirah you can sample Jumeirah Restaurant Week menus at MJ’s Steakhouse, Pai Thai, Pierchic and Segreto (signature), and at Al Hambra and Khaymat Al Bahar (causal). Pierchic is consistently voted the most romantic restaurant in Dubai at the Time Out awards and is also well-respected for its elegant, albeit pricey seafood menu. Dishes on offer for the signature menu include a starter of yellow fin tuna carpaccio with king crab, crushed avocado, spiced tomato reduction and lemon dressing, or a main course of braised beef cheeks served with garlic mash potato, braised savoy cabbage and baby carrots. Despite the venue’s seafood-focussed concept, vegetarians are also well catered for with an option per course, such as cauliflower velouté or baby peppers stuffed with aromatic quinoa. Another consistently popular spot at this hotel is ambient Asian restaurant Pai Thai. It will be serving a menu of Thai classics, including pad Thai with prawns, vegetarian green curry with tofu and aubergine, or spicy deep-fried fillet of dory dressed with a combination of garlic, chilli and sweet and sour sauce. Finish this meal with exotic desserts such as ‘tap tim krob’ (crispy water chestnut, sugar syrup, coconut milk and crushed ice) or ‘kao kiew ma maug’ (better known as mango sticky rice). Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).
Burj Al Arab The addition of Dubai’s only seven star hotel in this promotional week is a good opportunity to try a more affordable option at this notoriously pricey hotel. As such, it may be no surprise to hear that this year (as with last) the Burj Al Arab menus come with their own price tag of Dhs270. This year’s participating restaurants from the Burj Al Arab are one of our favourite South East Asian eateries, Junsui, and also Arabic restaurant Al Iwan. Both restaurants operate a buffet system, and as part of Jumeirah Restaurant Week, at Al Iwan you can try classic Arabic hot and cold mezze to start (hummus, moutabel, vine leaves and spinach fatayer to name but a few), followed by shrimp majbous, fish shamola, an Arabic mixed grill or lamb ouzi as main course options. At Junsui, tackle the Korean cooking station for jap chae glass noodles; sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki at the Japanese counter, or see the ‘pull noodles’ (aka ramen) being made in the Chinese corner. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7600).
Jumeirah Beach Hotel This beachside resort will be serving signature menus at La Parrilla and Villa Beach, with casual menu promotions at Al Khayal, Carnevale, Der Keller, La Veranda and Waterfront. Fine Latin experience La Parrilla is serving South American favourite empanadas, stuffed with Argentine beef, as well as a Brazilian style salad of palm hearts, and the modern Peruvian creation of quinotto (risotto made with red quinoa and Peruvian yellow chilli ‘aji amarillo’). At German dining spot Der Keller, you can also sample a hearty menu of Teutonic recipes that range from matjes herring with potato leek terrine, to cheese spaetzle (German pasta), and apple strudel for dessert. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim (04 348 0000).
Jumeirah Creekside Hotel This stylish-looking boutique hotel in Garhoud is one of the newer additions to the Jumeirah portfolio in Dubai. Here, you can sample a signature menu at fine dining restaurant Blue Flame, which also has a cooking school inside the dining room, or a casual menu at international concept Nomad. Blue Flame’s modern European selection for this promotion features a sunchoke soup starter, served with pickled carrots, crème fraiche and lemon brioche, a main course of beef short ribs (slow-cooked over 24 hours) and teamed with brussels sprouts, garlic confit and braising jus, and finally, for dessert, dark and white chocolate cheesecake with summer berries. At Nomad, you can enjoy original dishes such as pistachio crusted chicken Milanese or a ‘doughnut box’ of ‘crumble, chocolate glazed and jelly filled’ treats for dessert. Or opt for some classic and comforting dishes such as seafood pie (filled with scallops, mussels and prawns), or a dessert of warm double fudge chocolate cookie, served with vanilla ice-cream and a strawberry milkshake ‘shot’. Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Garhoud (04 230 8459).
Jumeirah Emirates Towers This year at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, there is an impressive list of award-winning and acclaimed restaurants. Try causal menus at the likes of Alfie’s or Tokyo @ The Towers, or signature menus at Al Nafoorah, Alta Badia, best European restaurant of 2014 The Ivy, and best steakhouse of 2014 The Rib Room. Best newcomer nominee and fine-yet-friendly Italian option Alta Badia will be serving starters of white asparagus soup with chanterelles and broad beans and northern Italian classic vitello tonnato (chilled roasted veal, tuna sauce, celery, capers, sweet paprika). Uniquely, there is also one diabetic-friendly main course available on the promotional menu: ‘orata al forno’ or oven-baked black sea bream served with a zucchini and tomato salad and caper pesto. And at the opposite end of the dining spectrum, you’ll find desserts such as roasted pineapple with yoghurt parfait and passion fruit mousse, the more indulgent-sounding chocolate caramel lava cake with ice-cream and a mascarpone cheese mousse with marinated cherries and crunchy chocolate.
The Ivy, with its charmingly vintage British (meets Paris) decor, is serving a signature menu during the week. Opposite, you’ll find a more affordable British dining option with a causal menu being at Alfie’s. Here the vibe feels like a British gentleman’s club meets slick New York brassiere, and the menu reflects that with an unfussy but modern menu of cured salmon with mustard dill dressing, Angus beef tartare with toast and pickles, broccoli and goat’s cheese pie, fish and chips, or an exciting-sounding dish of duck cooked two ways, with honey-roasted breast and slow-cooked leg, with celeriac puree and pear tatin.
Finally, meat lovers can head to award-winning steakhouse The Rib Room for beef dishes such as wagyu beef rib croquettes with celeriac remoulade and crispy parsley, or a duo of slow braised beef ribs and chargrilled beef tenderloin. Vegetarian options include quinoa and avocado salad with sesame dressing or mushroom risotto. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8088).
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray This Ottoman-inspired hotel is participating with signature menus at Vôi, Lalezar and Amala, as well as casual menus at Al Nafoorah and Plaj. Fine dining French-Vietnamese fusion spot Vôi is serving a set menu that includes crispy tofu with spicy caramel and egg dumpling, steamed seabass with vanilla, coriander, lemongrass, chilli and endive, as well as Asian-style desserts of pear soup with ginger lime ice-cream and pandan leaf-flavoured sago. At Lebanese eatery Al Nafoorah, try a signature selection, featuring classic hot and cold mezze, plus main courses such as Tripoli-style fish, chicken shawarma or grilled sujouk, with hot bread and manakeesh. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0444).
Mina A’Salam Located within the Madinat, the Mina A’Salam hotel will also be taking part with signature menus at Chinese venue Zheng He’s and at its newest eatery, Tortuga. Casual dining menus are also being served at Toscana, Shimmers and Honyaki. For an accessible Japanese dining experience, head to Honyaki. Start in Japanese style with edamame beans (with chilli or plain seasoning), opt for the curve ball of a ‘Honyaki beef pizza’, made with a crispy wonton base, or go for a little Nikkei-style Japanese-Peruvian fusion, with a salad of crispy skin salmon and quinoa. Main courses include California rolls, salmon sashimi or seared tuna. There’s also mochi ice-cream flavours for dessert. If you’re craving Latin flavours, new Mexican restaurant Tortuga is even offering a free welcome drink (hibiscus frappé and chili piquin). Across the Jumeirah Restaurant Week set menu you’ll find Mexican dishes such as axiote-marinated chicken tacos and mushroom quesadillas to start, and main courses of chipotle beef chimichanga, Angus T-bone steak fajitas or seared red snapper. Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).