Marco Pierre White's new venue rides waves high and low 6 Reviews
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It’s one of the city’s most hotly anticipated openings, yet when Titanic finally docked in Bur Dubai, nobody – including the staff – seemed to know whether the restaurant had actually opened. The confusion started during the reservation process. At first, with a hint of anxiety, nobody was willing to make a booking for me. Bad luck, I thought –the reservation list must already be crammed. Yet after being put on hold, leaving me waiting and wondering when I’d get a table, I received an unexpected answer: ‘Just show up whenever you like.’
So we did, and fairly early, just in case. Eventually it all became clear – officially, this was only the soft opening. Although the argument goes that soft openings allow for a warm-up period, if a high-profile opening is happy to charge full price, in our opinion is out to be ready to offer full quality too.
The dining space was small but extravagant: the restaurant’s choice of moniker slowly started to seem a little less preposterous. The design evoked a subtle sense of the grandeur of a bygone age and ’20s (if not 1912) glamour. Shiny beaded fringing dripped from the ceiling, while the unusually high-backed soft seating contained the room like a shell. The tables were jammed in too tightly, yet their generous size and the space between place settings meant that in a full restaurant, it may well be easier to feel familiar with neighbouring diners than companions at your table.
Scanning the menu, a sense of guilt struck me as I realised how poorly my vegetarian guest was catered for: the veggie options were limited and looked unexciting.
The waiter, who was friendly and just the right side of chatty, did offer to have the chef create vegetarian versions of other dishes, although we wondered how well spaghetti with clams, for example, would work without the clams.
My guest eventually opted for vichyssoise, served with white truffle oil. The chilled soup arrived as an icy white cream, topped with a lacy web of tuiles and exuding the intense aroma of truffle. The rich yet delicate flavours and the wonderfully airy, velouté-like texture ensured it was a triumph – and an unanticipated one at that. I’d expected fairly little from this dish, but it was the highlight of the evening.
Conversely, my carpaccio of scallop with ginger and coriander, which sounded so fresh and zingy, didn’t live up to its promise. It looked pretty, but not enough had been made of the wonderful flavours on offer because the dish had been drowned in oil.
Apparently a White signature, the ‘magret of duck Marco Polo’ came in a vibrant display of colours: the greens, reds and oranges of the vegetables and the pink of the duck made this an inviting plate. The duck, cooked with sweet grape and white peach, was delicious.
Even so, after the triumph of the vichyssoise, I was now standing in the green corner, routing for the vegetarian dishes. The deceptively simple-sounding risotto of asparagus and parmesan was sure to cause more excitement. Biting into undercooked potato on my own plate, my guest countered as I complained, inviting me to try his dish. The flavours were good, but it was also disastrously undercooked.
While it’s early days for the restaurant, it’s a shame it failed on so simple a dish, especially with so few guests to fuss over. The waiter dealt with our complaints well, immediately offering to replace the dish, and to strike it from our bill. Unfortunately, the second attempt was cooked, but over-salted and under-flavoured. We didn’t have the heart to say a word.
Despite the ominous name, Titanic is no disaster. It’s early days, but the restaurant will need to iron out the creases if it’s to live up to the Marco Pierre White name. We look forward to revisiting later in the year.
The bill (for two)
1x Vichyssoise Dhs35
1x Scallop carpaccio Dhs75
1x Duck Marco Polo Dhs130
1x Eton mess Dhs40
1x Tiramisu Dhs45
1x Large water Dhs30
Total (excluding service) Dhs355
Time Out Dubai,
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