Enigma opened with a truly unique idea. The head chef would change every three months, each one would be one of the world’s top 50 according to the San Pellegrino list, and each would overhaul the dining room, as well as the menu.
First was Quique Dacosta, a Spaniard with a penchant for dramatic presentation. He was followed by Swedish chef Björn Frantzén, a pioneer of minimalist, Nordic cuisine.
Now, there is another change. The chef, Yunus Emre Aydin, however, is not one of the world’s top 50. Instead, he has worked in the kitchen of Enigma since it launched. Born in Turkey, his reign at the helm coincides nicely with Turkish cuisine finding favour in Dubai.
The dining room is a real treat to eat in. Filled with candles, it’s a cosy venue, especially compared to the grander surroundings elsewhere in the hotel. Staff are also more laid-back than you might expect for the lofty destination, but consistently helpful and as friendly.
Prices are reasonable given the setting and quality, and you can now dine à la carte as well as from a set, six-course, tasting menu (Dhs600).
We start with mezze. Hot fresh bread is perfect with the excellent dips. Of the hot starters, the octopus (above) is perhaps the best in the city right now. Slow-cooked then charred, it comes with avocado mousse and crisp leaves. It’s sublime.
Grilled anchovies are sandwiched between thin slices of bread and fried, served with a fennel salad. It’s salty, greasy and refreshing. We’ve not eaten anything like it.
Mains stand on the merits of the amazing meat. The lamb neck, slow-cooked and spiced is tender and tasty, while the hearty beef cheek is a rich hunk of deliciousness. Both are superb.
It seems a shame this is only temporary, as by deviating from the formula, Enigma may just have cracked it. The Bill (for two) 1x mezze Dhs120 1x octopus Dhs105 1x grilled anchovies Dhs65 1x seven spices lamb neck Dhs190 1x beef cheek Dhs225 Total (excluding service) Dhs705
The Bottom Line Who needs a big name when the food is this good?