The Exchange Grill
The Exchange’s design is a little frosty, and the refined atmosphere conducive to muttering rather than convivial chat but it should warm up a little once the word gets out about this seasonal treat 19 Reviews
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Oh the fickle nature of the Dubaian gourmet! When the Fairmont opened in a blaze of yellow and blue light in February 2002 , the restaurants and bars quickly filled with dedicated diners. A couple of years on, however, any foodies remaining in town for the summer are queuing up to try outlets at the new Shangri-La, while you can hear a pin drop in the Fairmont’s Exchange Grill.
Oh well, their loss – especially when it comes to the new summer degustation menu. Paired with half a bottle of Aussie sparkling wine per person, the light fare combines meat and fish in a five-course protein frenzy. The Exchange’s design is a little frosty, and the refined atmosphere conducive to muttering rather than convivial chat but it should warm up a little once the word gets out about this seasonal treat.
Dining begins with a duo of huge prawns accompanied by crunchy lettuce and sneezily-good freshly grated horseradish in crème fraiche. Impressive in size and flavour, this first course rather took the wind out of the sails of the fourth – Maine lobster with two top hat-style oxtail ravioli. In between times I slurped through a summer soup – a careful balance between a feather-light poached quail’s egg in a julienne of vegetables and a rich truffley, beefy bouillion – and munched a set of delicious sea bass fillets wrapped in strips of crispy air dried beef, lounging on a bed of flavourful ratatouille.
The pudding was a wild mix between great and grotty: a millefeuille, it combined succulent plump wild berries and creamy custard with tired, slightly chewy pastry. Far more successful was my fellow gastro-adventurer’s moreish crème brulée.
He’d opted for the early bird menu – a three-course steal at Dhs125 – beginning with a crunchy Caesar salad, which arrived in a crusty Parmesan lattice.
This levity was followed by the world’s largest steak – accompanied by an array of mustards and sauces – that, despite being a committed carnivore, left him struggling. (Luckily the ultra professional staff showed no sign of blanching when he asked for a doggy-bag.)
Despite a couple of gripes, the five-course menu is a well-priced summer indulgence: time to get out of the heat (and kitchen) and treat yourself to a spot of August degustation-eering.By Rob Orchard
- Previous reviews
- 10 April,2013- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 21 March,2012- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 28 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 23 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 11 January,2010- reviewed by Rebecca Milford
- 30 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 07 October,2008- reviewed by Daisy Carrington
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 25 February,2008- reviewed by James Brennan
- 21 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 30 January,2006- reviewed by Matthew Lee
- 01 September,2002- reviewed by Carolyn Robb
- 01 April,2002- reviewed by Carolyn Robb
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