Ever since the new movie version of Les Misérables hit Dubai cinemas in January, we’ve felt inspired to make our way through the lengthy but classic French novel by Victor Hugo, on which the film is based. And it seems we’re not the only ones: a new café has just opened in Dubai inspired by the author. Located in Palm Strip Mall on Beach Road, it sounds as though Hugo Café has ambitions to be Dubai’s first fin de siècle-style literary salon, promising to be a haunt for literary types. It offers a menu of French Vietnamese fusion – not particularly Victor Hugo related, but still intriguing. Now we know where to head to finish Hugo’s great work.
For another new concept café on Jumeirah Beach Road, head to recently opened fashion and lifestyle concept store Comptoir 102. The in-store café offers a healthy menu for tired shoppers to enjoy.
There are several more new openings on the menu this week, this time with a distinctly Celtic touch. Popular Irish pub McGettigan’s is launching a sister venue at the Dubai World Trade Centre, The D Bar & Grill. Offering a menu inspired by English and Irish culinary traditions, the restaurant will offer a more fine-dinning experience, using Irish ingredients updated with modern twists. The venue opens on Thursday February 14; not the most romantic of Valentine launches, surely?
Also opened recently is American-Irish chain Bennigan’s in the Claren building in Downtown Dubai – and there’s another branch coming soon in The Dubai Mall. The eatery offers a casual, homely environment, specialising in Angus beef. Following the opening of Scottish-British gastro-pub Girders at the end of 2012, we’re sensing an Anglo-Celtic dining trend taking off this year.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are a few existing Dubai favourites introducing new menus too. Mango Tree at Souk Al Bahar has relaunched its menu, featuring dishes such as crispy soft-shell crab with garlic, basil and red chilli; corn-fed chicken with Thai herbs and Isan chilli sauce; and tom-yam scampi soup. We like the sound of the ‘miang kam’, a traditional stuffed betel leaf snack that can be assembled by diners at the table.
Not far from Souk Al Bahar, but quite some metres higher at the Burj Khalifa, At.mosphere Grill has unveiled a new seasonal tasting menu for two, alongside an à la carte selection. Among the dishes on offer are a micro-garden salad of ceviche yellow-fin tuna, slow-cooked foie gras and wagyu beef. Sounds terribly decadent.
Finally, Indian restaurant Chor Bazaar at the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate has launched a new menu of specialities prepared in a tandoor oven. Until next week, bon appétit!