As my date and I perused what we thought were the starters, our server appeared and told us that, no, they were sharing plates, and earnestly recommended we order at least three. When they came, however, the portions were big enough to feed a table of five. Blatant up selling, it seemed, was part of the staff training.
We opened with a salad made with a mix of fennel, green apple, grapefruit segments and walnuts. It was the sort of dish that grew on you; the first bite merely inspired a gentle nod. The more we tucked in, though, the more we appreciated the amalgamation of flavours. Our other two plates were a bit blander. An order of eel fingers seemed exciting on the menu, but was in fact glorified fish fingers, served alongside a strangely indistinct horseradish cream sauce (where, oh where was the horseradish?). Some pork rillettes were a bit dull on their own, but the small salad they were served upon lent a much-needed zest.
My date ordered the signature Twenty10 burger, served atop a sliver of potato roasted in duck fat and topped with a melting slab of foie gras and a sultry shallot sauce. It was hands down the best burger in Dubai (and the most expensive). Though she ordered a side of chips (which were fat and gloriously crisp), she admitted that it wasn’t necessary; the burger was big enough to stand on its own.
Unable to bypass a Gary Rhodes dessert, I ordered a sticky toffee pudding that came with toffee sauce and toffee ice cream. It may sound like overkill, but it wasn’t, as each element had a different strength – the taste equivalent of having three shades of the same colour. The whole thing was spongy, gooey and brilliant. My date had the treacle tart, which, for some reason, had a heavy citrus flavour, and like my dessert, was three shades of citrus (in the form of an accompanying marmalade custard and orange ice cream).
I don’t mean to sound churlish. Rhodes Twenty10 is a good restaurant, but that doesn’t stop it from being criminally overpriced. If they only brought the prices down to earth, it could be one of the best steakhouses in Dubai.
The bill (for two)
1x Large bottle water Dhs35
1x Eel fingers Dhs55
1x Fennel salad Dhs55
1x Pork rilettes Dhs55
1x Burger Dhs165
1x Wagyu sirloin Dhs350
1x Steak garnish Dhs40
1x Chips Dhs30
1x Treacle tart Dhs55
1x Sticky toffee pudding Dhs55
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs895