Ramadan is a time for reflection. So although summer is traditionally a slow month for Dubai’s restaurants, perhaps it is fitting after all that the scene seems to be turning over a new leaf, and taking on a new lease of life. Perhaps the most startling change is the immediate closure of Chinese eatery, Noble House and the bar RED Lounge.Terrace. It’s sad to see these Raffles-based venues disappear. However, they are in fact only wrapping themselves up into a proverbial cocoon for summer before re-emerging in October as an entirely new concept: a Japanese restaurant called TOMO. We look forward to seeing how this butterfly turns out.
More news from Raffles, as the hotel welcomes two new chefs: German chef de cuisine Jan Sheu at Fire & Ice and executive sous chef for the hotel, Finnish national Tuomas Heikkinen. Although Tuomas has worked in kitchens around the world (Europe, Asia, the Caribbean), we are wondering (and secretly hoping) that this Finnish chef’s arrival could see the Scandi food craze that has swept Europe start to hit Dubai.
Another venue undergoing a summer makeover is the Butcher Shop & Grill in Mall of the Emirates, which is currently closed for refurbishment. Dubai Mall is also set for some changes with the opening of Café Moka, as well as a new branch of the Noodle House, which is due to open over the summer. With the rate at which new openings take place at Dubai Mall, our summer’s looking pretty tasty. In fact, this mall’s motto may as well be ‘if you build it, they will come’ à la Hollywood film Field of Dreams. Or desert of dreams…
Once we’ve munched our way through all these new menus, we may just be in need of some inspiration to burn off the calories. You might think it is lucky, then, that the London 2012 Olympics starts on Friday July 27. Actually, it just spells another tempting excuse to get our teeth around Dubai. First on the starting blocks will be Rivington Grill. Both venues (at Souk Al Bahar and Madinat Jumeirah) will be closed for lunch during Ramadan, but for dinner, the restaurant has introduced the new ‘Classics’ set menu, which is available now, until the end of the Olympic Games. Priced at Dhs200 for three courses, this menu includes devilled chicken livers on toast, the restaurant’s signature Rivington Burger and honeycomb ice cream. At the Madinat Jumeirah venue you can enjoy watching the Olympics action on the big screens while you eat your meal.
Throughout the Games, the Madinat Jumeirah venue will also be offering a free orange juice and bubbly based mixed drink for guests to enjoy with their dinner, every time Great Britain wins a gold medal. So, for any British diners, there’s yet another reason for you to get behind your team!