This restaurant’s pedigree – from Michelin-starred chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin – will fill you with great expectations.
Bringing that kind of flourish to Dubai isn’t difficult. The city is awash with top-notch eateries that take pride of place within the city’s pristine developments, and Demoiselle fits perfectly.
Set within the newest section of City Walk, it’s chic, dainty and demure. The colour scheme is fresh and bright – all white and beige with pops of colour coming from foliage in baskets suspended from the ceiling.
It’s casual by day, with lower lighting setting the mood for an evening meal.
The classic butler-style uniforms, given a quirky twist with green bowties and beige braces, worn by staff add an air of elegance. What they’re serving is very good, and they’re quietly confident of this.
The baked lobster fishcake is a great introduction. It’s fluffy and sweet on the inside, packed with meaty chunks of crustacean. It’s a dream to eat, with a smidgen of chilli delivering a light kick.
As the mains arrive, things only get better. The duck confit comes with a bubbly, crisp layer of skin covering shreds of meat so tender, juicy and sweet we could weep.
A braised wagyu beef short rib with truffle crust and mushroom cream is fall-apart and sticky-sweet. It’s a truly decadent, yet delicate dish that gets us seeing stars of the Michelin kind.
Being a café, the menu at also boasts an array of breakfasts, and a variety of teas, plus an abundance of freshly made viennoiserie, patisserie, macarons and cakes. Head over to the counter to admire these, and definitely don’t pass up on ordering one to finish.
For a low-key meal featuring top-quality dishes, Demoiselle by Galvin is a solid choice.
The bill (for two) 1x baked lobster fishcake Dhs64 1x lamb boulettes Dhs42 1x crisp duck leg confit Dhs18 1x braised wagyu short rib Dhs189 1x Parmesan French fries Dhs34 1x creamed spinach Dhs28 1x chocolate choux bun Dhs38 Total (including service) Dhs523
The bottom line Quality eatery that doesn’t just rely on the name above the door.
Eggpspecation’s flagship eatery on The Walk at JBR is a firm favourite for a weekend breakfasts, and if you can get a table without at least a 15-minute wait then you’re doing better than the rest of us. So when we heard of a new, even bigger, version in City Walk we were curious to try it.
We decide to try it out for an early-evening meal. The restaurant is fairly quiet, so we suspect the word has yet to spread about just how stunning the views across to the Burj Khalifa and Business Bay from the outside terrace actually are.
Service is swift and friendly and we pour over a menu it’s incredibly difficult to choose from – it all sounds so good. We opt for a creamy lobster mac and cheese, that we wish would never end, and wish we could have ordered two of the brie and walnut crostini starters.
Portion sizes here are incredibly generous so it’s a wonder we have room for dessert. But the chocco-banana pancakes prove too difficult for us to resist (they’re not just for breakfast) and we have to hold back from licking the plate clean.
Granted, there’s not the view of the ocean, or a mere hop and a skip to the sand, but there’s still a lot to like about the newest location of the Canadian chain. We can’t wait to go back for breakfast.
Wooden suitcases hiding wagyu sliders; bright red telephone boxes carrying side dishes; an old-school typewriter holding the bill – that’s what you’ll see staff taking to tables at this new, contemporary Indian restaurant in City Walk.
At first glance, the interiors are smart, but rather neutral, with gold and beige accents – not exactly reflecting the colourful, vibrant and inventive dishes, but, already, Farzi Café has made a name for itself.
When we arrive, the place is packed. And we can see why. When the menu features a deconstructed shepherd’s pie, with tawa aloo and seared wagyu beef, you’re bound to attract curious foodies from around the city.
We try a flavoursome raj kachori chaat and crisp okra salad, with crispy shells hiding a tangy pumpkin and sweetened yoghurt covered in a refreshing chutney foam.
But it’s the spicy devilled quail eggs, served on top of chicken keema, with zaatar and labneh spheres that really captures our imagination, thanks to surprising yet delicious, well-balanced flavours.
The menu boasts more than 50 such creative dishes, as well as intriguing molecular mocktails, so there are plenty of reasons to go back for more.
The bottom line Inventive dishes and good service make Farzi Café a must-try.
City Walk is one of the most rapidly growing areas on Dubai’s dining scene, and licensed zone The Square is gradually becoming a hit.
Sitting next to Toro + Ko and Time Out Dubai’s Best Latin American restaurant 2018, LIMA Dubai, is Galvin Dubai. The latest venture from Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin opened in late 2017, and so it’s with high expectations that we head to this chic restaurant.
The dishes take influence from Italy, the South of France and North Africa, promising an “innovative yet accessible” take on classic flavours.
We visit on a weeknight and it’s extremely quiet. But the restaurant is elegant and, thanks to the pocketed dining areas, manages to feel intimate rather than empty.
We opt for the menu du chef – based on the fact that it’s decent value for a seven-course meal from such a star-wielding duo, coming in at Dhs398 a head. It will also give us an excellent overview from the menu curated by executive chef Luigi Vespero, who has been entrusted with the role after several years working with the Galvin brothers.
The feast kicks off with a trio of signature starters, which includes steak tartare (rich and meaty), yellow fin tuna (tangy and fresh) and a beetroot salad (a fruity accompaniment).
The risotto of wild mushrooms is a highlight – a delicate serving of al dente rice in a creamy, shroomy dressing, lifted by a crunchy scattering of hazelnuts. The lasagne of Devon crab is also a big hit, and a far cry from any limp pasta bake you might envisage. Beef tenderloin with caramelised shallots and wild mushrooms is tender and a perfect flavour combination, while a chocolate fondant rounds it all off expertly.
All courses are petite, delicious and a great showcase of the famous brothers’ dishes. The only thing that lacks is the atmosphere. With a few more diners in, it could be top-notch.
The bill (For two) 2x menu du chef Dhs796 Total (incl service) Dhs796
The bottom line Excellently executed dishes but lacks vibe.
So when a new steakhouse opens, it must be tough to make a mark and Graze finds itself trying to do just that. This “gastro grill” is one of the first licensed venues in City Walk. It sits on the ground floor of La Ville, and as well as a minimal dining room, there’s a terrace hidden from shoppers by some cannily placed foliage.
We’re outside, all alone (as we would be indoors) and staff seem surprised that we’re not hotel guests. Presumably business hasn’t quite picked up at the new restaurant yet.
Perhaps understandably, waiters are keen to busy themselves (thanks for recommending the most expensive item on the menu – a Dhs840 Kobe rib-eye – too).
The menu is split into small plates, things to share (essentially sides), grills and seafood.
We nibble on anchovy fillets and olives (which are also stuffed with anchovies – we might have been told) and a good bread basket, before tucking into a grain-fed Australian wagyu fillet (an absolutely sublime cut of meat) and a black Angus rib-eye marinated in mustard for 24 hours (next time we’ll try it without the marinade). Our side of grilled aubergine with a salsa verde and spicy sauce is excellent – all sticky charring and complex flavours. Broccolini with sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino pales in comparison, but judged on its own merits, is still tasty.
We enjoy everything, but it feels like something is missing at Graze. More guests might bring some atmosphere, but as it stands, the quality of meat is the restaurant’s biggest draw. However, there is still work to be done on the overall offering before it reaches the same level as the city’s top steakhouses. The bill (for two) 1x marinated anchovies Dhs34 1x marinated olives Dhs26 1x 180g Australian wagyu fillet Dhs235 1x 350g 24-hour marinated black Angus rib-eye Dhs290 1x broccolini Dhs40 1x aubergine Dhs40 Total (excluding service) Dhs665
City Walk is fast becoming a go-to hub for all things foodie, we’ve got Michelin-starred chefs, family-friendly cafés, tapas, burgers, salads and more.
If you’re after something on the quaint side, though, head to Jolie, a floral boutique café.
The café is kitsch, but cute, with tea-shop-style white-washed furniture and, of course, plenty of fresh blooms. The flowery theme is strong: the ceiling is covered in silk roses, while your coffee will come with a fresh rose. Your meal will most likely contain edible flowers, too.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is a delightful menu sure to pique any diner’s interest. For a morning-time meal don’t miss the avocado on toast. Topped with slices of grilled halloumi, the avocado is guacamole-esque, and the crispy sourdough toast lying beneath is smothered in a tasty, tangy beetroot hummus. The lobster crêpes, meanwhile are decadent and delicious, with sizeable lobster chunks tossed in a light Marie Rose sauce. Cakes and afternoon teas are also delightful.
For a relaxed meal in a pretty setting, Jolie is très bon.
When we got wind that Peruvian pioneer Virgilio Martinez would be bringing his Michelin-starred culinary concept LIMA to Dubai, our intrigue was only matched by our keen anticipation.
So it was with some glee that we took our table at this swish, split venue. The first thing of note is the impeccable service here, with our waitress being both patient and well-informed. She later tells us she applied for the job purely because she’s a huge fan of Peruvian food, and with fine fare such as this, it’s very easy to see why.
It would be remiss of us not to try one of LIMA’s signatures, so for starters we order the braised octopus, which is a fantastic introduction to the sheer craftsmanship on show here. The meaty chunks of cephalopod are cooked to a tee and form a wonderful unison with the creamy bed of potato they sit on. With the scallop ceviche sold out, any tinge of disappointment soon evaporates as we tuck into the sea bass version, which is perfectly executed and wonderfully moreish.
Anticipation heightened, it’s not long before our mains arrive, with the lamb rump seco a triumph from the first nibble. The quality of the meat is top-notch and the coriander marinade is a stroke of genius. While the duck chalaquita might have been a bit chewy for some tastes, the dish is still pleasing to both the eyes and the palate.
Our side of Peruvian potatoes (including a funky purple variety) are also a winner but our Andean adventure ends on a real high when we demolish the cherimoya (custard apple) ice cream from the suspiro dessert. Yum. The bill (for two) 1x braised octopus Dhs80 1x sea bass ceviche Dhs60 1x lamb rump seco Dhs130 1x duck chalaquita Dhs150 1x Andes sautéed potatoes Dhs35 1x Peruvian suspiro Dhs50 1x large bottle of water Dhs35 Total (excluding service) Dhs540
The bottom line A charming venue serving dishes that do Peru’s top chef very proud.
It’s a balmy Friday evening when we head down to City Walk to try out Italian eatery, Sapori De Bice. It’s the sort of evening that draws crowds of hungry residents and tourists alike to this increasingly-popular part of town, creating a feel-good buzz as restaurants jostle for attention.
Pitching itself as “casual chic family dining” is pretty spot on, and we’re welcomed into an interior that manages to pull off that tricky blend of upmarket yet not overly fussy, ensuring it appeals to families and couples alike.
There’s a lofty, bustling feel to the eatery, that’s just starting to fill up as we arrive.
We share a mixed Italian bread basket of olive and cherry tomato focaccia, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar containing dabs of goat’s cheese and an incredibly moreish homemade basil pesto. Next up, it’s calamari fritters accompanied by tempura-style zucchini and mushrooms – the calamari are tender enough but not as enjoyable as the vegetables. Perhaps more seasoning is required.
The traditional lasagne Emiliana is rustically presented in a mini cast-iron pan and is voted as delicious as home-made would be, although we realise we probably should have ordered an accompanying salad. And despite the Italian-twist paella is packed full of seafood and fresh herbs, it somehow lacks the real punch of flavour expected from this sort of dish.
We share a crumbly, warm, salted caramel pecan pie for dessert and plump for scoops of intensely-rich black cherry and pistachio ice cream on the side which works really well.
Worth a visit if you’re in the area, but room for improvement in some dishes.
A bright and friendly eatery serving family fodder that will certainly appeal to young diners. The light pink and white interior reminds us of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and sweet treats are piled high on the entrance table. The menu is extensive with all of the usual favourites including burgers, nuggets and the venue’s foot-long hot dog. The desserts are decadent, with cream and all sorts of gooey surprises hiding throughout.
Despite Dubai’s rich and varied dining scene, Spanish food has always been somewhat proportionally under-represented in the city. Enter Toro + Ko, which has arrived to bring Barcelona-style tapas to City Walk, following the success of outlets in Boston, New York and Bangkok.
Set in the licensed The Square, the interiors follow the same funky-urban-industrial blueprint that has defined many restaurant openings in recent years. Nothing new, but it does manage to feel smart, cool and unexpectedly cosy, particularly on the small outdoor dining patio adjacent to the bar. Service is, initially, swift and polished, but throughout the course of the evening becomes significantly less so. And it soon becomes apparent that the whole dining experience is going to vacillate between two extremes.
Keen to be transported to a Catalonian tapas bar for the evening, we skip over some of the less likely offerings (lobster roll, beef sliders) in favour of more familiar Spanish classics.
First to arrive is a beautifully presented trio of pintxo de queso de cabra – goat’s cheese toast with caramelised onions, topped with a drizzle of honey infused with just a whisper of truffle. It’s sensational, and heightens our anticipation for the rest. Moments later, a waiter flips a pan with flourish to reveal a perfectly golden tortilla. Only, we didn’t order one.
Nor did we order those sliders. (Though perhaps we should have.)
Thankfully, our gambas al ajillo and pulpo a la plancha quickly find us. More fortunately still, the Galician octopus is at least tender and meaty, because the prawns – oddly crunchy, overly salty and savouring strongly of burnt garlic – are nudged to the end of the table.
Desserts follow the same pattern. The crema Catalana brûlée is an un-set disaster that not even the (bizarre) waving around of chilled wafers from a jug of liquid nitrogen can rescue.
But the churros (oh, the churros), with their crunchy, bronzed, sugar-rolled exterior and squidgy, doughy innards are the best you’ll find in the city. Bar none.
But amid a wildly competitive restaurant scene, you can’t build a major dining hotspot on a doughnut. Toro + Ko has its work cut out.
The Bill (for two) 1x pintxo de queso de cabra Dhs58 1x padron peppers Dhs42 1x gambas al ajillo Dhs68 1x pulpo a la plancha Dhs92 1x Catalan cream Dhs38 1x churros Dhs46 1x large water Dhs35 Total (excluding service) Dhs379
The bottom line You’ll want to like this place – they just won’t make it easy to.