El Noctámbulo

Stripped-back Mexican in d3
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Time Out Says


If you work in d3 and are peckish at lunchtime, you’re not in a bad spot. From swanky French restaurants (Chez Charles), to licensed cafés from renowned chefs (Izu Ani’s The Lighthouse) as well as Tokyo-style pizza (Akiba Dori) a variety of tastes are catered for. And one of the most recent arrivals is El Noctámbulo, a Mexican cantina.

The restaurant is from Samer Hamadeh, creator of Japanese foodhall Akiba Dori in d3 and JBR’s Stereo Arcade, so we’re expecting good things
It’s apparently based around a dark urban legend of La Mujer Lechuza – told to scare kids into not running off at night. We’re not sure where this comes in.

El Noctámbulo promises a laid-back vibe. Laid-back is one word for it, quiet is another. On our visit the place is mostly empty, in contrast to Akiba Dori next door.

The space itself is odd. There’s a cool bar-style dining room with an open kitchen and vibrant décor, murals on the walls. But there’s also a terrace, which feels like a bit of an afterthought, and a souless, hallway-style area with tables at the entrance, flanked by starkly plain walls and a till.

However, the menu is interesting. Ten types of tacos, empanadas, aguachile, churros and various guacs adorn a menu designed by chef Maria Sainz.

We’re not desperate to find out what makes the “tropical” guacamole worthy of its name, and although the smoky version – with feta and chilli ashes – sounds interesting we stick with the original. It’s fresh and tasty and comes in at Dhs35.

Prices are fairly reasonable throughout – including three tacos for Dhs69. The octopus and chorizo one is overbearingly rich, smothered in squid ink aioli, while the carne asada is decent, with melted cheese and avocado mousse. The standout is the chicken mole – a delightful sweet-savoury mash-up. A quesadilla is tasty enough, while the potato skins are great – but not really very Mexican. Two massive slabs of the tuber come loaded with “a variety” of cheeses, topped with homemade beef chorizo and bacon. It’s carby and comforting – and something you’d likely get down your local.

With substantial portions and not unreasonable pricing it’s not a bad spot, but there are better.

Stripped-back Mexican in d3

The homemade guac

02 Jan 2019

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
12:00 PM to 11:59 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMMonday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMTuesday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMWednesday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMThursday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMFriday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMSaturday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PM
Show number 04 566 8374
Dubai, Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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