11 wackiest dining experiences in Dubai

Dining in the dark, dinner and a show, pay-by-the-minute meals and more

Nose to tail dining, dine in the dark and pay-per-minute meals. That’s just a few of the unique eating out experiences on offer in Dubai. Penelope Walsh discovers more…

Sharing dessert at Pure Sky Lounge & Dining
If you have ever wished to see a chef go Jackson Pollock on your plate, live before your eyes, then this is certainly your chance. Opt for the sharing dessert, available on the normal à la carte menu, and you can watch as the chef plates up the day’s at-a-whim creation, swirl by swirl, smashed meringue, by smashed meringue, right before your eyes.
Wacky rating: 2/5
Dhs150 (for two to four diners). Daily 5pm-1am. Ongoing. Hilton Dubai The Walk, JBR (04 374 7888).

Sip and slide at La Brasserie

This brand new promotion offer diners a mixture of unlimited mini burgers and beverages each evening. Not so revolutionary thus far. However, the selection of sliders that has been devised for this deal involves six different recipes, which have been inspired by different countries across the world. This selection includes the Greek-inspired ‘Spartan burger’ with a lamb patty, tzatziki and a black bun; the ‘Alabama Slammer’ made with pulled brisket with barbecue sauce; ‘El Nacho’, a Mexican burger with a patty of crispy nachos and chilli con carne with guacamole, sour cream and Manchego cheese, and the Arabian-inspired ‘Falafel Habibi’, which contains a falafel patty, along with zaatar, tahini and pickles.
Wacky rating:
Dhs110 (soft drinks), Dhs230 (hops), Dhs430 (bubbly). Daily 6.30pm-10.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).

Mango May-hem at La Porte des Indes

This colonial French-Indian restaurant has decided to give its lunch menu a fruity makeover. Launching this week to coincide with mango season in India, is an entirely mango-themed menu where the fruit is featured in every course, as well as in mocktails. The recipes for this fortnight include puffed rice and green mango salad, mango mint chicken tikka, Alleppey fish curry (sea bream poached in a coconut and green mango sauce), kairi gosht (goat meat stir fried with curry leaf, chillies, black pepper and sour mango), and a mango and ginger crème brûlée
for dessert.
Wacky rating: 3/5
Priced à la carte. Daily noon-3.30pm. May 20-31. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 438 8610).

Globetrotting love stories at Bertin Bistro and Restaurant

If you’ve ever watched Raymond Blanc’s UK TV show The Restaurant, you’ll know that his favourite word is ‘concept’. And also ‘daunting’. That is because concept is all important for a restaurant’s success. So, what if a restaurant took three entirely different concepts and turned them into one overarching theme, tied together by an entirely fictional story about a French man falling in love on his travels. Neat, no? Well, that is what you’ll get at brand-new bistro Bertin, which offers Alsace-French, Spanish and Moroccan food, all served in different spaces, designed to match the food. Bonkers, but original.
Wacky rating: 5/5
Priced à la carte. Ongoing. Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 321 9239).

Head to tail lobster at Ossiano - Best for foodies
Nose to tail eating has been all the rage elsewhere in the world. If you put this idea in the hands of Dubai’s Best Seafood restaurant (for a staggering three years running), what you get is a degustation menu using every single bit of luxurious crustacean, the lobster. The menu kicks off with a chilled consommé, with Sturia caviar, gold leaf and cauliflower, and continues through courses of carpaccio, claw tempura and lobster tail teamed with braised beef ribs. Dessert and petit fours are also included, but luckily for you, there is no lobster in there. We hope.
Wacky rating: 3/5
Dhs650 per person. Daily 7pm-11pm. Until June 1. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).

Coming soon: Pay per minute at BookMunch Café - Best for families

Do you remember dial-up? Well, these days, there are few things that you still have to pay for per minute. Dubai’s Best Family eatery of 2015 and 2014 is dialling back the clock to the days of per minute internet, only in this instance, it is really per minute food that you are paying for. The café will be offering guests free wi-fi and unlimited food from selected menu items. You have to stay for a minimum of 15 minutes, but beyond that, you’ll only be charged Dhs1 per minute that you stay, eat and browse.
Wacky rating: 4/5
Dhs1 per minute. From the start of Ramadan until August 18. Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road (04 388 4006).

Cut and weigh at Rodeo Grill Steakhouse & Bar
If you’ve ever tried to guess the weight of a sheep or a jar of jelly beans at a county fair, imagine how much better this game would be if you got a juicy steak out of it instead. This steakhouse has introduced a promotion that allows you to choose how big you want your angus beef steak to be cut. Then, you’ll have to guess the weight of the steak, and if you do so correctly, you’ll get it for free. Apparently, the restaurant will also be giving diners a three gram margin of error. Happy guessing!
Wacky rating: 1/5
Priced à la carte. Sat 7pm-11.30pm. Ongoing. Al Bustan Rotana Dubai, Garhoud (04 282 0000).

The Barn at CLAW BBQ - Best for birthdays
Dubai loves a private dining room, but this one at CLAW BBQ is more fun-filled than most. Just launched earlier this month, it is more like a games room than the average private table. The new space has been crammed with arcade games, 65-inch screens to watch sport on, a juke box, board games and a fridge full of hops. If you’re booking this space for a private party, you can opt for one of the five- or three-course party packages featuring signature dishes and options such as a keg for the room or a bath full of beverages. So, basically, you’re looking at a college house party, without the parents or the cleaning up afterwards.
Wacky rating: 5/5
Prices vary. Minimum of ten guests. Maximum of 24 seated and 40 standing. Ongoing. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 432 2300).

Viva at Pacha Ibiza Dubai - Best for live shows

Viva is the new season of dinner and entertainment at Pacha Ibiza. Now running until June, the event involves between 12 and 40 choreographed shows, performed by artists from around the world. While you watch, there is also a choice of two set menus, each featuring a selection of Asian fusion dishes. On the lists you’ll find recipes such as green mango and papaya salad, organic chicken and lemongrass curry, winter truffle dumplings, Korean-style prawns and mochi for dessert.
Wacky rating: 3/5
Dhs350 and Dhs550. Tue-Sat 7pm-9.30pm. Until June 16. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 567 0000).

Coming soon: Dinner in the dark at Ginger

Due to the popularity of Ginger’s one-off dine in the dark experience for Earth Hour in April, the restaurant will be relaunching this as a regular event, starting in September. At this event, diners must eat their four-course set meal with a blindfold on. The experience is designed to heighten your other senses and gastronomic enjoyment.
Wacky rating: 4/5
Dhs155 per person. Ramada Jumeirah Hotel, Al Mina Road, Al Hudaiba (04 702 7000).

Kick back with cats at Ailuromania Café

It’s the opening swathes of animal lovers have been waiting for; Dubai’s first-ever cat café is now welcoming patrons on Jumeirah Beach Road. Enjoy a bite to eat or a cup of coffee while offering tummy rubs and ear scratching to the fluffy likes of Sami, Smokey, Snow and Moe, plus Jumbo, Bob, Boodi and many more. Walk-ins are not always accepted, so it’s wise to book your coffee-and-cuddle session in advance.
Wacky rating: 5/5
Open Sun-Wed 2pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 2pm-midnight. Near Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.ailuromania.com (04 321 6661).

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