Dubai’s newest club pulls off elegant Japanese fusion with style and sophistication
Curiosity, they say, kills the cat. If that adage is true, things weren’t boding well for Time Out prior to our visit to Le Méridien’s latest gastronomic venture, Warehouse. For what else could we feel but curious about a venue that promises to be a ‘one-stop standalone entertainment hub’, comprising a European-style café bar and garden, wine bar, nightclub and fusion restaurant?
Fortunately there’s another saying kicking around somewhere about how managed expectations can result in you being pleasantly surprised. Which, as luck would have it, was what happened when we paid Warehouse our first visit last week.
A sleepy Saturday night might not seem like the best time to visit what is, in effect, a nightclub-cum-restaurant. But there’s nothing quite like having a place to yourself – it adds a whole new meaning to the word ‘exclusive’. To be fair, there were plenty of people in the terrace area outside and the downstairs wine bar had filled up a bit by the time we left. But upstairs, where the fusion happens, it was just us and the staff.
We suspect that upstairs is where the magic happens as well. Subtly lit with underfloor lighting and a tiny mood ring of a cocktail bar (thanks to the ever-changing colour of its main wall), this is a pretty, seductive space with ambient lounge music that, we concurred, was probably loud enough to stop unwanted eavesdropping, while still allowing you and your party to easily converse.
After perusing a truly exhaustive cocktail list (complete with drink names too rude for us to print here), we moved on to the main event. The idea of ‘fusion Japanese’ made us slightly nervous. You can’t throw a chopstick without it landing in a restaurant cooking some version of this in Dubai right now, and yet, given the breadth of ingredients involved, it’s not a style that’s easy to nail.
But our concerns were quickly allayed. A starter order of foie gras miso soup with duckling wonton was cutely presented in a white china teapot, poured with great flourish around a single parcel of canard, and struck a pleasingly delicate balance of flavours. I, meanwhile, was intrigued by the decidedly un-fusion sounding tomato and basil tart. What arrived was a deliciously deconstructed offering – horizontal layers of intense tomato jelly, heirloom tomatoes, and pastry.
Mains comprised chilli-encrusted hamachi with a raw papaya salad that fell a little short of its promise (slightly over-dry fish and muted flavours), but all was forgiven when we tasted the black cod. With flesh so soft and symphonically well-balanced, this was confirmation that we were dealing with something well above what might euphemistically be called ‘nightclub’ food.
Two beautiful desserts – a silver leaf-topped ‘floating island’ of marshmallow and coconut sorbet, and a ‘green apple Saturn’ that truly looked like it had dropped in from a miniature parallel universe – once again produced the kind of edible fun we were coming to expect from the kitchen. We left feeling sated, happy and yes, pleasantly surprised. Curiosity may well slay the cat, but not at Warehouse – this little kitty still has all nine lives.
The bill (for two) 1x Large Panna water Dhs26 1x Foie gras miso soup Dhs55 1x Tomato terrine Dhs50 1x Black cod Dhs125 1x Hamachi Dhs110 1x Green apple Saturn Dhs40 1x Floating Island Dhs40 1x Espresso Dhs19 Total (including service) Dhs465