Insider eating out news

We explore Dubai’s new restaurant hotpots, indulge in the churrasco trend and welcome another izakaya to Dubai


As 2012 drew to a close, Dubai welcomed several new hotels to the fold, including the JW Marriott Marquis in Business Bay, Ocean View Hotel in Dubai Marina and, most recently, Fairmont The Palm. Where new hotels appear, it’s only a matter of time before eateries begin popping up too. Now that these hotels are getting into their stride, we decided to give you the lowdown on some of Dubai’s newest restaurant hotspots and trends.

The most noticeable trend this week is the sudden prevalence of churrascarias in Dubai. Late last year, Fogueira opened at the Ramada Plaza JBR, claiming proudly to be Dubai’s first Brazilian churrascaria – the city already had a handful of churrasco theme nights, at venues such as Ember, but no dedicated venues. Yet suddenly ‘Brazilian barbecue’ seem to be the buzzwords of 2013. Fogo Vivo has opened as the signature dining spot at the Ocean View Hotel in JBR. The name means ‘living flame’ in Portuguese: as well as meaty barbecue, the churrascaria also serves an à la carte menu of seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Fairmont The Palm has also unveiled a churrascaria, called Frevo, offering more than 15 cuts of meat plus live music every night and a selection of Brazilian beverages.

Not Brazilian in flavour, but also rather meat-heavy, is steakhouse Prime 68, unveiled at the JW Marriott Marquis. Billing itself as a ‘boutique’ venue, the beef selection includes Australian Blackmore full-blood wagyu, USDA prime and Argentinian Aberdeen Angus.

Moving up the continent, and the city now boasts two new Mexican options. After a recent renovation, Maya by Richard Sandoval at Le Royal Méridien has emerged from its cocoon with a more Mexican-heavy concept, and has been renamed Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen and Lounge. Elsewhere, Fuego is set to open soon at Souk Al Bahar: the restaurant describes its concept as contemporary Mexican cuisine, with signature dishes such as lamb shank barbacoa and tres leches cake. We’ll also soon see Dubai’s first Peruvian menu, served at an even rarer venue: The Act Dubai claims to be ‘the world’s highest theatre club’ and is due to open at the top of the Shangri-La in March.

The JW Mariott Marquis is continuing the izakaya trend championed by the likes of Yuraku and Armani/Hashi with the opening of an eatery called – wait for it – Izakaya. The venue aims to offer a young, fun image of Japan, serving staples such as noodles, teppanyaki and sushi, with quirks including iPad menus, J-pop on the stereo and a ‘wasabi girl’ that makes the condiment fresh at your table. Slightly more concerning is the addition of poisonous blowfish ‘fugu’ to the menu.

Back to Souk al Bahar, where Sake no Hana by Crystal is set to open in March. It’s a fine-dining Japanese concept from London, along the lines of (and created by the people behind) Hakkasan. You may be aware that the Pullman Mall of the Emirates changed hands recently, to reopen as the Sheraton Mall of The Emirates. For now, the hotel’s dining venues, such as Sanabel and Soda Box, continue to operate with much the same concept, although there are plans to unveil a new eatery in the next six months. We’ll keep you posted… Until next week, bon appétit!

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