Bossa Nova: the latest Latin new wave

Penelope Walsh reveals the Peruvian, Brazilian and Mexican venues swooping into the city, provides clarity on a long-time rumour and uncovers some exclusive news…

Now Open

Garden

This Peruvian restaurant opened at the end of July at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The home-grown brand is overseen by Peruvian chef Edgar Hurtado and offers a selection of classic dishes, which means you can expect favourites such as ceviches and tiraditos on the menu, including some dishes with a Nikkei (Japanese Peruvian) twist. The venue is decorated with Inca-inspired art created by local artist Fathima Mohiuddin, and fans of Peru’s national beverage will also find a mixology bar dedicated this famous drink.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 224 0956).

Spirito

This new Latin restaurant and bar just opened at the beginning of this month at the Media One Hotel. The venue has flown in a team of chefs from across South America to work in the kitchens and is serving a selection of dishes with Brazilian flavour, including mandioca frita (cassava root fries) and coxinha (smoked chicken croquettes). To celebrate its soft launch, Spirito is offering diners an introductory 50 percent off the bill until the end of August.
Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 421 0877).

Tesoro

One of the signature dining spots at the new Taj Dubai hotel, this Peruvian restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and Friday brunch, as well as an à la carte lunch and dinner. Signature dishes on the menu include black cod patarashca (fire roasted black cod served on banana leaf), lomo saltado (a Peruvian dish of stir-fried beef with onion and tomato), pollo a la brasa (traditional roasted chicken), plus a unique creation of quinoa caramel custard for dessert. For the winter months, there is also an outdoor lounge on the terrace with views of the Burj Khalifa.
Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay (04 438 3100).

Coming soon

La Tablita

This brand-new Mexican restaurant is due to open in October at Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. Run by Mexican chef Carlos Hannon, his menu will reflect a homely, authentic style of eating, inspired by his own Grandmother’s cooking, and using many of her recipes. So far on the table for La Tablita, we’ve been promised live ceviche and taco kitchens where everything is made to order. There will also be a bar with a staggering 50 different varieties of Mexican beverages (with a certified Mexican beverage sommelier), as well on mixed drinks and Mexican hops.
Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights, Healthcare City (04 553 1234).

Loca
At the time of writing, this new addition to Dubai’s Mexican dining scene was still due to open. The second branch of the popular bar and eatery (the first is located at Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa) will open in Souk Al Bahar. Loca version 2.0 will be serving a menu of Mexican favourites such as fajitas, burritos
and tamales in a huge 5,800 square foot space.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (no number).

Poco Loco

Due to open in mid-August, this new restaurant at The Beach, JBR, offers a pan-Latin menu to reflect the South American travels of its head chef, Neil Witney, who has previously worked at famous venues E&O, Eight Over Eight and Bodega Negra. On the menu you’ll find creations such as yellowfin tuna tiradito, guajillo chilli with cabbage and sesame, grilled corn, quesadilla rustica and a variety of taco recipes.
The Beach, JBR (no number).

Pollo Pollo

Currently due to launch on Thursday September 10, Pollo Pollo will be Dubai’s first casual dining Peruvian venue, with classic dish pollo a la brasa, a whole chicken cooked rotisserie-style, as its signature. There are plenty of other Peruvian favourites on the menu, too, such as quinoa salads and desserts including mazamora morada, a sweet jelly made with purple corn.
Umm Al Sheif Street, Umm Suqeim 1 (no number).

Taqado Mexican Kitchen

Dubai’s first-ever indie Latin fast food brand has exploded since opening its first food court venue in Mall of the Emirates back in 2012. Now, this titan of the taco has standalone stores across Dubai, it has opened up branches in the capital and has yet another new Dubai venue coming soon to The Dubai Mall’s upstairs food court. This latest branch of Taqado is currently due to open in September.
Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (800 827 236)

Exclusive announcement

Top Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez is coming to Dubai. Virgilio trained under Peru’s best-known chef, Gastón Acurio, who is largely credited with starting Peru’s food revolution and bringing its cuisine to the world. In the country’s capital, Lima, chef Virgilio’s restaurant, Central, was recently ranked number four in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The chef has earned a Michelin star for his UK restaurant Lima London. Virgilio will now be bringing this award-winning concept to Dubai in the first quarter of 2016. Stay tuned for more exclusive information coming soon!

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