Grape nights in Dubai

We go gaga for a couple of grape-related events

La Parilla: gourmet eats on the cheap
La Parilla: gourmet eats on the cheap
Okku: all change?
Okku: all change?
Table 9: learn about grape
Table 9: learn about grape
Rostang: a real end-of-week treat
Rostang: a real end-of-week treat
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We’re all about Thursday-night meal deals at the moment – much like brunches in terms of the all-you-can-eat-and-drink options available, but cheaper and more relaxed.

A shining example of this sentiment is Rostang’s Grape Expectations. Yes, the pun is inexcusable, but there’s free-flowing grape (which changes every week – two whites and two reds from two different countries), accompanied by pork cold cuts (only served on Thursdays), plus seafood and dessert options. And the price is nearly as appetising as the food on offer: Dhs195 for food only, or Dhs295 with grape.

It was at another Thursday night grape-oriented event, the Arcadia cheese and grape night at the Monarch Dubai, where we discovered there are grand plans in place for the Monarch’s restaurants (think Okku, Ruth’s Chris and Amika). Previously, the Sheikh Zayed Road hotel has never been big on publicity, preferring instead to let the quality of food (certainly in Okku’s case) do the talking. Now under new ownership, we’re hearing whispers that the venues will receive some sort of makeover… though when exactly such changes will come to pass is unclear. Watch this space for updates.

In the more immediate future, we’re licking our lips at the prospect of Jumeirah Restaurant Week, which takes place from Wednesday May 23 to Tuesday 29. More than 38 Jumeirah restaurants will be slashing prices, meaning you can dine on three courses at any of the brand’s ‘casual’ restaurants (think Al Hambra, Toscana, Alfie’s and Rivington Grill, among others) for Dhs120 per person (food only). Meanwhile, ‘signature’ restaurants such as The Ivy, The Rib Room, Pierchic, Vôi and La Parilla, will be serving three courses for Dhs180 per person (food only) – a bargain if ever we heard one. Organisers plan to make this an annual event, which will grow year by year and hopefully rival the likes of New York Restaurant Week. We hope these ambitions are realised.

And because we started with grape-based fun, we’ll finish with it. Table 9 is consistently expanding its culinary repertoire and now offers grape discovery classes led by the restaurant’s gregarious manager, Viktorija Paplauskiene (she’s the icing on the proverbial cake of any Table 9 dining experience). Two grape classes are on offer: The Basics, an introductory course covering appearance, taste, smell and pairing for five grape varieties (Thursdays 6pm-7.30pm), and Masterclass Pairings, which can be taken in conjunction with the cookery courses and are designed to complement the dishes prepared during a class (Fridays 2pm-3.30pm). Classes cost Dhs300. And with that, bon appétit.

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