25 top chocolate treats

Time Out eats its way through the city's finest chocolate dishes

Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best
Dubais Best

At this time of year there’s no shortage of Easter deals and festivities cropping up across town, despite the fact that only 10 per cent of the UAE’s population is Christian. And where there are Easter celebrations, there’s chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Traditionally in the West, the Easter Bunny takes it upon himself to hide chocolate eggs from children. This Easter, however, Time Out has compiled a list of Dubai’s best chocolate dishes – from milkshakes to brownies to, erm, chocolate chicken – so you don’t have to endure the humiliation of crawling around on hands and knees in search of sweet treats.

‘How on earth did you find 25 of the city’s best chocolate dishes?’ we hear you cry. Well, it wasn’t easy, but we scoured Dubai high and low, judging each dish on its appearance, size (the more chocolate the better, naturally) and taste, giving each a chocoholic rating out of five. In doing so, we’ve created a rather nifty guide to some of the city’s most delicious cocoa-based offerings, all for your eating pleasure.* *Time Out takes no responsibility for resulting changes in readers’ waistline measurements.

Gianduja chocolate mousse

The gianduja chocolate mousse with bitter chocolate sorbet and caramelised hazelnut is flawlessly presented , and the solid caramel needle protruding from the hazelnut adds drama to the dish’s overall aesthetic. Appearances are a telling indication of taste – the rich mousse is offset perfectly by the sorbet, making this a high point of a meal at the world’s tallest restaurant.
Dhs75. At.mosphere, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 888 3828).
Chocoholic rating: 3.5/5

Triple chocolate cake
This cocoa creation is packed with chocolate (three times more than a regular chocolate cake, if the name’s anything to go by). This is confirmed by its taste – it really is extremely chocolatey, and is perhaps too rich for those who aren’t certified, incurable chocoholics. Much as we enjoyed the giddy sugar rush afforded by a couple of slices, we don’t think we could stomach a whole cake without feeling rather queasy.
Dhs90. Coco’s, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, opposite Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers (04 424 3740).
Chocoholic rating: 3.5/5

Mousse au chocolat chaud et glace à l’orge
This warm chocolate mousse comes in a large portion (the bigger the better, we say), and is rich and dark on the inside, with a crispy, cake-like topping. It really is unlike any mousse we’ve ever had – a love child of mousse and fondant, if you will. The heavy taste of the dark chocolate is offset by the moreish malt-flavoured ice cream.
Dhs60. La Petite Maison, Gate Village, DIFC (04 439 0505).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Chocolate brownie
Put simply, this is the best brownie in Dubai. It could even be the best in the world – though we still have a few more to try before we can verify that. A sizeable portion of slightly warmed dark, milk and white chocolate cookie-cake with melted chunks, the brownie merges together for a marble-effect appearance and guaranteed taste bud-frenzy.
Dhs26. Lime Tree Café, Jumeirah Beach Road, next to Jumeirah Mosque (04 349 8498).
Chocoholic rating: 5/5

Rose-petal chocolates
The good people of Paris no longer have the chance to taste the creations of Forrey & Galland (the chocolate boutique opened there in 1912 but has since closed down). Luckily we can, smack-bang in the middle of The Dubai Mall. Once you get past the shop’s stunning chandeliers you’ll see how many daring flavours are on offer, including rose petal-encased white chocolate truffles. The first bite is a little pot pourri, but the ingredients are clearly premium and the flavours infectiously different.
Dhs515 per kg. Forrey & Galland, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8850).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Where to find the city's best chocolate afternoon tea>

Akhrot wala chaklet
Translated as ‘chocolate fudge brownie with walnuts’, Chef Ankur Chakraborty’s recipe marries a playful use of spice with dark chocolate (for the chocoholic statisticians amongst us, we were told the brownie is 72 per cent chocolate). The resulting concoction is endowed with a subtle sharpness, tempered by the side of vanilla ice cream. It all works wonderfully, and on seeing our delight with the dish, the waiter informed us that the secret to the taste is the baking temperature (again, for the statisticians, 160˚C-170˚C). A curry followed by chocolate – the perfect his and hers meal? Discuss.
Dhs28. Zafran, Mirdif City Centre (04 284 0987).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Chillled valrhona chocolate fondant
In a restaurant that spoils its diners with a menu overflowing with diverse, intricate and inventive dishes, it’s little surprise that the valrhona chocolate fondant brings the three-course set menu or six-course ‘Menu Prestige’ to a wonderful conclusion. The fondant is encased in an intricately wrought honeycomb shell; you’ll almost feel guilty cracking into it. But your remorse won’t last long – the rich, cool chocolate that oozes out from its centre is divine, and its taste is enhanced by the shards of sweet honeycomb that get caught up in the flood.
Verre menu Dhs395; Menu Prestige Dhs495. Verre by Gordon Ramsay, Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 227 1111).
Chocoholic rating: 5/5

Chocolate barfi
Chappan Bhog’s dish is one of the one of the best varieties of barfi – a delectable Indian sweet that’s crafted from lots of condensed milk and sugar – mostly because it has a thick layer of chocolate on top. Made with cocoa powder, the slightly bitter chocolate complements the super-sweet and milky flavour at the bottom rather well. If you’re a fan of Indian sweets you’ll probably love it, but we couldn’t stomach more than four at a time (though we really tried).
Dhs1.50 per piece, Dhs58 per kg. Chappan Bhog, Trade Centre Road, Karama (04 396 8176).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

ChoCo’a caramel collection
These handsome chocolates, made by UAE-based boutique confectioner ChoCo’a, are given a regional twist with their rosewater-flavoured caramel filling. The distinct, almost salty flavour may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s strangely addictive. Despite sporting a slight grimace after biting into one, we found ourselves impulsively reaching for more – we’re blaming it on the rich, quality ingredients used, rather than greedy fingers.
Dhs250 per kg. ChoCo’a, behind Mall of the Emirates, Barsha, boutique@chocoa.ae (04 340 9092).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Chocolate afternoon tea
Spend the afternoon deliberating life’s pleasures over a variety of chocolate cakes, brownies and scones with home-made chocolate spreads and jams, plus six different perfectly petite finger sandwiches. Wash down all that chocolate with a variety of soothing herbal teas – or, for die-hard chocolate fans, hot chocolate. The experience can be enhanced with a cocoa-inspired spa treatment, which includes a full-body massage, a chocolate body scrub and a chocolate lotion finish.
Afternoon tea Dhs85 per person; spa package and tea Dhs345. Axis, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk at JBR (04 318 2530).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Discover a deliciously dark chocolate fondant>

Dark chocolate fondant
With the huge servings on offer at More, it’s a surprise that anyone ever finds room for dessert – but it’s worth it for this little number. The fondant is basically a capsized cupcake in a sea of vanilla sauce, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream perched on top. Push your spoon into the cake and a torrent of thick, dark chocolate sauce oozes out. With so much vanilla on the plate, though, it could be argued this isn’t a ‘pure’ chocolate dessert, because the ice cream and sauce dilute the chocolate impact.
Dhs35. More Café, Garhoud (04 283 0224).
Chocoholic rating: 3.5/5

Chocolate and peanut butter milkshake
This super-sized American-style milkshake uses chocolate and vanilla ice cream, plus a generous scoop of peanut butter, topped with a mound of whipped cream. Thick, creamy and not too sugary-sweet, it isn’t the chocolatiest treat we've tasted, but the peanut butter adds a delicious twist. The sheer volume of molten ice cream you’re consuming means it’s more of a dessert than a beverage, so you may want to give pudding a miss.
Dhs24. Johnny Rockets, The Dubai Mall (04 434 1526).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Coque au chocolate et poire ‘Belle Helene’
Trust the French to come up with possibly the most intricate, complicated and decadent chocolate dish that we stumbled across (and wolfed down). Le Classique’s chocolate shell with pears features a rich, dark chocolate casing that gives way to juicy pear chunks inside. Just to make things all the sweeter (literally as well as figuratively), the dish is doused in a warm, thick chocolate sauce. Don’t forget about the side of almond crumble and vanilla ice cream.Tres délicieux.
Dhs50. Le Classique, Emirates Golf Club (04 380 2222).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Frozen red berries with hot white chocolate sauce
This unusual dish is served as a glass of frozen red berry mush with a jug of hot white chocolate sauce on the side: pour the molten sauce into the glass and it transforms the berries into a deliciously warm smoothie. The warm chocolate and cold berries then melt on your tongue, making this a more interesting, lighter pudding than many chocolate choices. However, we found the white chocolate very rich – we’d advise going easy on the pouring.
Dhs50. Vista, Holiday Inn Express Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village (04 427 5500).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Spicy chocolate soup with white chocolate granite
If you’ve bored of your standard milk chocolate dessert and are after something spicier, here’s your fix. Although dressed as a soup, don’t expect a bowl of liquid chocolate. What you’ll find is a moist dark chocolate truffle-laden pudding capped with some intricate chocolate work, and a pouring of chocolate sauce bedded on a slab of refreshing raspberry sorbet. The hints of chilli and South American spice, and the mix of textures and temperatures, all work beautifully. It’s heavenly and devilish all at the same time.
Dhs60. Asado, The Palace Address, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 428 7899).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Which Mississippi mud pie is served with a river of chocolate sauce?>

Mississippi mud pie
Seafire’s recommended dessert (this and the key lime pie) is served with a river of near life-changing milk chocolate sauce. The heavy pie boasts the texture of a crumbly brownie and is packed with chocolate drops, topped with creamy white chocolate mousse atop a digestive biscuit-style base. Even the most experienced chocolate fans should expect to be electrified. We just don’t want to think about the calories.
Dhs45. Seafire, Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Chocoholic rating: 5/5

Vivani bitter chilli chocolate
Hailing from Ecuador (we all know South Americans are renowned for their chocolate skills), a nibble of this high-end organic dark chocolate bar begins with the delightfully bitter taste you’d expect from premium cocoa beans. A few seconds later the chilli kicks in, adding a wicked little tingle. The bar contains 70 per cent cocoa solids (compared with 40 to 50 per cent in standard dark choc), ensuring an intense chocolate hit.
Dhs11.50. Organic Foods & Café, The Dubai Mall (04 434 0577).
Chocoholic rating: 4.5/5

Mole pablano (chicken in chocolate sauce)
This is one of the few main courses on our list; fitting considering this restaurant takes its name from Mayan culture, from where chocolate originates. The rendition of the dish is a delight, sneaking in just enough fire to balance the sweetness of swathes of sinfully dark cocoa. While it’s not the kind of chocolate dish that you’d pick at while watching a chick flick, it’s nonetheless very good indeed.
Dhs130. Maya by Richard Sandoval, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5555).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Pullman Mad for Brunch chocolate counter
Not one chocolate, but many: the chocolate counter at the Pullman brunch features all manner of inventive chocolate creations, from Earl Grey chocolate pot de crème to white chocolate soup with lime. The options are as vast as they are imaginative, but we’re particularly fond of the banana chocolate tart. The only drawback? Access to this chocolate wonderland comes but once a week.
Brunch Dhs220 (selected house beverages); Dhs290 (bubbly). Pullman Hotel, Mall of the Emirates (04 308 0000).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Chocolate amaretto cream teacup
A solid dark chocolate teacup and saucer, with a wispy handle, filled to the brim with fluffy amaretto cream: this is a pudding straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Scoop out the cream and then take great delight in biting into said cup. It’s rich, decadent and just a little bit bonkers – our favourite kind of pudding, and well worth a trip to the Fairmont brunch.
Brunch Dhs295 (food only), Dhs395 (selected drinks), Dhs550 (bubbly). Spectrum on One, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8101).
Chocoholic rating: 5/5

Dubai's hottest hot chocolate>

Hot chocolate

Liquid-chocolate drinks to die for
Armani Caffé
We expected glitz and glamour from the Armani brand, but were instead served a fairly understated cup of choc: it comes in a glass mug and tastes like a typical home-made powdery hot chocolate (think Cadbury’s or Waitrose). Though thin in consistency, it’s a light, refreshing, no-frills beverage. They’ll offer cream, which you can add to your taste.
Dhs29. The Dubai Mall (04 339 8396).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Avalanche Cafe, Ski Dubai
This mid-slope cafe dishes up a mean mug of steaming hot choc that will give you a much-needed sugar boost – if you’re still feeling a little hypoglycaemic, the mountain of whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkle of M&Ms will do the trick. It’s definitely one for those with a sweet tooth. The best bit? Using the long spoon (supplied) to fish out the molten M&Ms from the bottom of the mug.
Dhs17. Avalanche Cafe, Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates (04 409 4333).
Chocoholic rating: 3.5/5

The takeaway hot chocolate option from Galler is served in a small paper cup – at first glance, it hardly seems enough, but once the thick, heavenly chocolate hits your lips you won’t be complaining. Choose to add sugar or keep it natural to experience the bittersweet goodness of a real cocoa kick.
Dhs18. The Dubai Mall (04 339 9604).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

Served in a comfortable armchair setting away from the neon lights of the busy Dubai Mall, the hot chocolate at Hediard is poured from a china pot into tea cups, alongside an icing sugar-dusted biscuit. Very nice. The drink itself is perhaps not as thick as other offerings, but provides enough of a sugar rush to kick-start the second half of your spending spree.
Dhs16. The Dubai Mall (04 339 9917).
Chocoholic rating: 3/5

Organic Foods & Cafe
This organic offering comes in a huuuge mug, but rather than being topped with sickly cream it’s finished with cappuccino-style foam, making it less sugary than its rivals. The drink itself is also mercifully free of that sickly aftertaste and tooth-fuzz that comes from too much added sugar. The downside? It's served scaldingly hot, so you'll have to be patient while it cools.
Dhs18. The Dubai Mall (04 434 0577).
Chocoholic rating: 4/5

And you love…

Our Facebook fans reveal which chocolate bites make them crazy

• ‘The Chocolate Room at the Al Qasr Friday Brunch (04 346 1111)! A whole room full of divine chocolate delights!’
Chantal Ariëns

• ‘I love the chocolate molten cake at Chocopologie Dubai (Dubai Marina Pavilion, 04 232 9880).’
Ray Ray Hildebrand

• ‘Galler at Wafi (04 327 9120). The dark chocolate is fantastic, and so are the smoothies. And I'm NOT a chocaholic...’
Eva Streich

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