The opening of Dubai Opera was one of the most eagerly anticipated events of 2016, and now the venue’s back at the forefront of the city’s minds, thanks to the launch of its exciting new restaurant – Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera.
When we visit (not on a show night) it’s very quiet, but manages not to feel empty.
The space is huge, seating 350, which looks like it may be a challenge to fill on non-show days.
It’s the first Middle Eastern venture for the British-born chef who’s a big name in Australia, and the restaurant boasts a compact, classic menu. And the food is excellent.
When Time Out Dubai met Connolly ahead of the opening, he declared he would be taking dishes “back to basics”. That’s visible on the main menu, which boasts favourites such as fish and chips and steak.
There’s a dedicated oyster section (he loves them so much the décor is based upon on them, all greys and pinks) and a raw bar. We opt for a classic prawn cocktail, which comes with huge, meaty prawns in a creamy Marie Rose sauce (on a bed of iceberg lettuce, retro). A mozzarella salad is paired with lightly grilled peaches and pistachio pesto. The flavours and textures work perfectly.
Moving on to mains, and we share a mushroom with ricotta gnocchi and a rib-eye, the former of which is soft and decadent. We can’t fault either dish when it comes to taste.
On opening, the restaurant promised “affordable price points”. However, with a plate of mushroom gnocchi coming in at Dhs170, it doesn’t really deliver on that.
There are, however, pre-theatre menus that fare better at Dhs195 for three courses, and a bar food list with flatbread and sliders at around Dhs60.
But since the venue has such wow factor and dishes this delicious, it’s worth it for a treat.
The Bill (for two) 1x prawn cocktail Dhs140 1x white peach salad Dhs90 1x mushroom gnocchi Dhs170 1x rib-eye fillet Dhs220 1x steamed brocolli Dhs45 1x large water Dhs40 Total (Incl service) Dhs705
The bottom line Excellent food in an upmarket setting.
Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera