The hottest places to dine that have freshly arrived in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Bushman’s Restaurant & Bar Australian food is not a concept often seen in Dubai, let alone Australian cooking with a fine dining edge. As such, being the first to bring this upmarket vision of Down Under to Dubai, Bushman’s Restaurant & Bar occupies a genuine niche in an otherwise diverse dining scene. Inside, the space is fun and full of character, with little design touches that reflect Australian culture. There’s also a large and tasteful billabong-inspired terrace, perfect for the cooler months. Service tends to be excellent, and in the case of senior staff, also Australian, which nicely sets the tone to dining here. The menu spans a selection of gourmet Australiana, including emu, kangaroo, barramundi, ‘bugs’ (like little flat-tailed lobster) and ‘yabby’ (crayfish), prepared with plenty of international fusion touches, from Asian to Italian. Intelligent service and an intriguing setting make the ambience at Bushman’s very pleasant indeed, while the food is also creative and feeds the diner’s curiosity. Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah (04 567 8304).
Clé The tsunami wave of modern Arabic dining in Dubai continues with the opening of Clé in DIFC, with famous Australian-Lebanese chef and cookbook author Greg Malouf at the helm. This bar and restaurant looks undeniably stylish, swanky even. Decorated overwhelmingly in black, the darkness is offset with pockets of shine. There is plenty of detail in the design, from the Chanel-esque padded leather chairs through to the gilded Kalashnikovs used as lamp stands. The menu at Clé is Middle Eastern food, lovingly couched in tradition, and creatively shaken up with new twists. Open daily noon-2am. Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, www.cle-dubai.com (04 352 5150).
China Grill Originally born in New York, and subsequently launched around the world, China Grill is a 27-year-old brand and one of the original Asian fusion concepts. Tucked around the back of the Westin on Al Sufouh Road, inside you’ll find a spacious mezzanine level lounge bar, dimly and atmospherically lit. Just below the lounge bar is the dining space with very high ceilings, elegantly adorned with large shell-like lanterns dangling from above, and simple Chinese vases scaling the walls. Service here, from the outset, is excellent, and the staff really understand what they’re serving. What you’ll find at China Grill is a list of sharing plates, all largely Asian-inspired, but with plenty of fusion twists. The list ranges across dim sum, sushi and salads, plus dishes described as small and large plates, featuring recipes such as barbecued pulled lamb with steamed buns and lobster and scallion pancake with truffle butter. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-11pm, Thu-Fri 6pm-midnight. Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road, www.chinagrilldubai.com (04 511 7333).
CUT by Wolfgang Puck CUT by Wolfgang Puck is the global steakhouse concept by the world famous chef. It is the first Wolfgang Puck restaurant to launch in the region, with chef Puck himself hinting that this is just stage one of both Dubai and GCC-wide domination. During the evening, although dimly-lit, the restaurant feels airy and elegant. There is also a narrow outdoor terrace running parallel to the restaurant that has views of the Burj Khalifa. The experience is certainly a well-rounded and largely very enjoyable one, thanks to both food and service. Open Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 7pm-midnight; Sat-Sun 7pm-midnight. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).
Frioul Bistro de Luxe Named after the Frioul islands off the southern coast of France, this Madinat Jumeirah eatery takes its inspiration from the similar sense of French-Mediterranean chic that has become increasingly popular in Dubai. As well as white, summery seating outside, the inside continues in an all-white (and very stylish) tone with one of very few design details to break up the whiteness being a tortoise-shell façade above the open kitchen. Service is charmingly polite, and the staff are knowledgeable of the menu and efficient throughout. Expect frogs legs, merquez, bouillabaisse and bone marrow, but with an air of modernity to it. From pretty tasty to truly sublime, the food menu at Frioul is excellent. Open Sat-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-3am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, www.frioulbistrodeluxe.com (04 567 0011).
Rhodes W1 The launch of Gary Rhodes’ latest restaurant concept Rhodes W1 wasa highly-anticipated new opening in Dubai in 2014. From the entrance, where a Kew Garden-esque mixture of fake grass and white butterflies covers the walls, through to the antique and bucolic-looking murals inside, Rhodes W1 creates a pretty, vintage and utterly English vision. Gary Rhodes’ new menu is humble and uncomplicated to the eye, but full of perfectly put together flavours that are sometimes complex, but never confusing. A thoroughly successful move with the times, while still retaining one hundred percent of its uniquely British heart. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-11pm. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina, www.rw1-dubai.com (04 317 6000).
Omnia Gourmet Amid the new complex of restaurants opened up by Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, the signature venue is arguably this gourmet café deli concept from notable Dubai-based chef Silvena Rowe. Inside an ambient Arabic-style souk, this café looks like a rather splendid vision of Ottoman luxury for such a small space. As for the menu, which boasts the words ‘farm to table’, the concept is very much focused on healthy and local eating, with plenty of ingredients apparently sourced from within the UAE, and/or organically. Dishes are laid out at the deli counter, and encompass Middle Eastern flavours with plenty of Mediterranean influences too. For food, setting, service and also price, Omnia Gourmet is an excellent new addition to the café scene. Open daily 9am-11pm. Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah 1, www.omniagourmet.co (04 343 7181).
Solo Bistronomia Following the closure of Raffles Dubai’s long-standing steakhouse Fire&Ice, this space has had a makeover and emerged as Italian restaurant and grape bar Solo Bistronomia&Vinobar.The restaurant itself is huge. A vast, cavernous, high-ceilinged, multi-functional space, all covered in exposed russet-coloured bricks. The food here is a two-tier affair – bar snacks (restaurant equivalents of street food) and deli classics (antipasti, charcuterie and so on) in the bar area and a wider selection of sharing plates on the restaurant menu. Broadly speaking, the menu is clearly Italian and yet far from traditional. You’ll find pizza and pasta on this tight two-page list, but perhaps it will be a smoked eel and foiegras pizza.Although Dubai is awash with Italian dining, this new haunt manages to stand out as offering a menu that is creative, yet unfussy and unpretentious. Service reflects its relaxed vibe and, overall, it’s an excellent new addition to the city. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 370 8999).
The Scene One of the latest additions to Pier 7 and Dubai’s quickly rejuvenating British dining prospects is The Scene, launched by English TV chef Simon Rimmer. What you’ll find on the fourth floor of the Dubai Marina venue is quite unlike anything else in the city. The restaurant describes itself as serving classic pub and comfort food, and this is a very accurate description of what you’ll find on the menu. It is ostensibly British, but with plenty of interesting foreign and fusion references. Open daily 10am-2am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina, www.thescenedubai.com (04 422 2328).
Zengo The name of this unique restaurant concept developed by Mexican chef Richard Sandoval is Japanese for ‘give and take’, and Zengo brings together Latin flavours developed by chef Sandoval, alongside Asian flavours by chef Akmal Anuar (formerly of award-winning Iggy’s in Singapore). The result is a very distinctive menu of Latin-Asian fusion. While this is not the only Zengo in the world, it is the only concept of its kind currently in Dubai. It occupies unique and interesting ground, and it does so exceptionally well and even the most seasoned diners will find something new to try here. Open Mon-Wed and Sat 7pm-2am; Thu and Fri 7pm-3am. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 316 5550)