2012's hottest restaurants1 Comments 24 January 2012
It’s hard to believe that 2011, the year of worldwide austerity, was the year that Dubai’s restaurant scene exploded. London faves The Ivy and Hakkasan landed in Emirates Towers, Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho opened a sleek new venue in DIFC, Mexican maestro Richard Sandavol bequeathed us with yet another Latin American gem in the form of Toro Toro, and we said goodbye to Gordon Ramsay’s Verre and hello to Table 9. It will be a hard act to follow, but already things are shaping up nicely for 2012, and gourmands can expect a flurry of high-profile openings this year. Here we take a peek behind the scenes of five of the biggest venues launching in the first quarter.
What’s the story?
Getting information about Marco Pierre White’s DIFC restaurant is tantamount to getting blood from a stone – no one’s admitting they have anything to do with the project and we’ve been left staring at the billboard in hungry anticipation for months. However, we can tell you the basics. There are currently five Wheeler’s venues in London operating in Marco’s name, and it seems that the Dubai incarnation of the brand will be the first outside the UK. How involved the Michelin-star chef-turned-restaurateur will be with this branch remains to be seen – we couldn’t help eyeing the disclaimer on his website that he has no day-to-day involvement with Frankie’s at JBR, which he launched alongside jockey Frankie Dettori in 2007. No surprises there, then.
What’s on the menu?
Matt Brown, head chef of Wheeler’s of St James’s – Pierre White’s flagship restaurant in London – has recently revamped the menu to include traditional dishes such gravadlax, fish pie and oysters, as well as a few meat options. A couple of dishes that caught our attention on the London menu were the grilled yellow-fin tuna à la Sicilienne with lemon and coriander, and grilled lobster with herbs and triple-cooked chips. Fresh fish and seafood is the name of the game when it comes to Wheeler’s, but we’ll have to wait to see whether the menu here will be ‘Dubai-ified’. Hammour, anyone? We hope not.
When can we tuck in?
Marco’s face has been grinning back at us from the boarded-up windows of the DIFC venue for what feels like a lifetime, so surely the opening can’t be too far off. We’re going to guess mid-March 2012.
Why we’re excited…
Frankie’s is fun, yes, but we’ve waited so long for Marco to open a ‘real’ restaurant in Dubai (and now he’s opening two – see Titanic later in the gallery), a wait made all the more galling by the fact he’s long been operating in Abu Dhabi.