The popular annual food festival Taste of Dubai returns to Dubai Media City on March 8. We explore some of the highlights
Dubai loves its food, whether it’s truffle and foie gras atop a fillet steak or tacos and a shawarma fresh from a food truck. And where better to sample the best in the city than at a fully dedicated food festival? Taste of Dubai is back next weekend (Thursday March 8 until Saturday March 10) for the 11th year and it’s promising a jam-packed line-up, full of tasty dishes, live music and world-famous chefs. Here’s what to check out.
Bread Street Kitchen
Fans of super chef Gordon Ramsay won’t want to miss this opportunity to sample some of Bread Street Kitchen’s top dishes at a fraction of the price. Dig into crab on toast with chilli (Dhs20) or crispy beef short rib with pomegranate and pomelo (Dhs30). Want something comforting? Order up a dish of shepherd’s pie (Dhs30) and round it off with a portion of banana sticky toffee pudding (Dhs20) to really remind you of home.
Burger & Lobster
You know the drill, this one does what it says on the tin. The kitchen’s Taste of Dubai offering includes sliders and lobster rolls starting at Dhs20. Your only question is burger, lobster or both?
Carnival by Trèsind This innovative Indian eatery presents dishes full of flavour in a colourful and contemporary style. We suggest you try either the Italian job (chicken piccata kebab, sautéed vegetables, tempered cream, Dhs25) or Into The Wild (grilled tenderloin served in a lettuce wrap, Dhs30), or if you’re looking for a street food snack, don’t miss the pav bhaji at Dhs25.
Couqley Carnivores, Couqley is your place. The French bistro, which is popular in its JLT home, is setting up a kitchen serving steak frites and burgers, for just Dhs30.
Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar and Dine-in Cinema by Reel Cinemas This new Jebel Ali cinema from US TV chef Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fame may still be yet to open, but you can get a sneak peek of its dishes at Taste of Dubai. Don those stretchy trousers and get ready for a belt-busting marathon, including Trash Can Nachos (Dhs20), garlic butter Buffalo wings (Dhs20), bacon and mac ‘n’ cheese burger (Dhs30) and NYC cheesecake (Dhs25). Phew.
This Caribbean/Floridian restaurant, which took Highly Commended in the North American & Caribbean category in the Time Out Dubai 2018 Restaurant Awards, is serving up a range of laid-back dishes to deliver those island vibes. Highlights include jerk chicken drumsticks, veggie tacos and beef short rib, all coming in at Dhs20 a portion.
Le Petit Belge
We’ve raved about the cheese croquettes so many times we’ve lost count. And guess what? There’s a whole assortment to try at Taste of Dubai. If you’re after something more substantial, there are steamed mussels with garlic cream or smothered fries (aka chips and stew). Hearty and delicious.
If you’ve always longed to try this fancy restaurant from world-famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, then now’s your chance. Head along to Taste of Dubai and you can try some of his delicious signature dishes including tuna tataki with Matsuhisa dressing (Dhs20), salmon tacos with spicy miso (Dhs20), not forgetting that legendary black cod with yuzu miso (Dhs40).
Royal Orchid For a taste of Thailand, stop off at Royal Orchid, which will be serving up a range of Thai street food, all coming in at between Dhs20 and Dhs30. Dishes include chicken wontons in tom yum spiced cream, traditional Thai green curry, chicken satay, teriyaki beef and wasabi prawns.
The Eloquent Elephant A former winner of our Best Pub Food category, this classy gastropub is making its way from Business Bay to Dubai Media City for the weekend. On offer are dishes including Elephant curry (that’s not actual elephant, lest you panic) or slow-cooked beef cheek with sweet potato purée, both at Dhs30.
Weslodge Saloon This Canadian cuisine is usually served up high on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, but you can enjoy it on ground level this weekend. Don’t miss the Weslodge slider, sirloin steak or pastrami short rib – all at just Dhs30. Winning.
More foodie options...
Of course, that’s not all there is to look forward to. Aubaine, Cucina Mia Ristorante, Kiza, Jodhpur Royal Dining, Ronda Locatelli Rossovivo, Salero, Soul Restaurant & Bar, Sonamu, Shanghai Chic, UBK and Time Out Dubai’s Best Budget Restaurantt 2018, Ayubowan, will all be at the event, too, so you’ll be sure to find something to take your fancy.
Dhs95 (standard Fri Mar 9 & Sat Mar 10), Dhs200 (Thu Mar 8, includes two drinks and Sister Sledge concert), Dhs285 (VIP, includes three food vouchers and two drinks). Thu Mar 8, 4pm-midnight; Fri Mar 9, noon-midnight; Sat Mar 10, noon-11pm. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. www.tasteofdubaifestival.com.
Entertainment at Taste of Dubai
Musicians Chill out and listen to some live music while you chown down. Disco divas Sister Sledge will be headlining on Thursday March 8. Expect all the classics, such as We Are Family, Lost in Music and He’s the Greatest Dancer when they take to the stage from 9.30pm. Get ready for music from Italian swing band Mark Zitti and The Coltelli Brothers and 4THEMUSIC, who will be putting a backdrop of smooth jazz, R&B, pop and blues to your snacking. DJ Darryl Rees and Salha and the Million Dollar Band will complete the musical line-up. Plus there will be flamenco shows, too.
Celebrity Chefs Want some tips from the top? A stellar cast of world-class chefs will be converging over the weekend, too, taking part in cooking challenges and demos. International chefs including Giorgio Locatelli, Sanjeev Kapoor, Valentine Warner, Eric Lanlard, Annabel Karmel, Jun Tanaka, Jenny Morris and Rezza Muhammad will be taking to the stage.
New to Taste of Dubai this year is the Celebrity Chefs’ Tasting Table, part of the Crate and Barrel Chefs’ Theatre, where you could get to try some special dishes. Throughout the festival there’s also the Al Ain Dairy & Kibsons Cooking Challenge, where budding Gordon Ramsays and Nigellas will be able to cook alongside (and judged by) their favourite celebrities. It’s time to brush up those chopping skills.
For the little ones Don’t leave the kids behind. Children under 12 get into the event for free, and there’s a special Splash and Party Kids’ Zone with plenty of activities including bouncy castles, pizza-making and face-painting.