First look: Marina Social’s menu

We go with Jason Atherton and his chef-patron Tristan Farmer on an exclusive journey through their signature dishes

English Breakfast tea & toast, Dhs45

Chef Jason Atherton: ‘This is a take on the great British breakfast classic, tea and toast. We have a snack part of the menu, and we want people to have a bit of fun with it. What we have here is mushroom tea, made with field mushrooms, dehydrated ceps and dehydrated morels. You end up with this really umami-flavoured cup of tea. Inside the little cups you have parmesan milk, with cep powder on top. The mushroom tea was invented as a pre-starter at Pollen Street Social [Atherton’s restaurant in London], quite a few years ago. We evolved the dish for Marina Social. You also have bone marrow butter (the dishes have been made to look a bit like bones), homemade sour dough toast, and ‘gentlemen’s relish’, a traditional conserve invented hundreds of years ago in gentlemen’s clubs in the UK. And you end up with tea and toast.’

Social dog, Dhs60

Chef Tristan Farmer: ‘This is a duck and foie gras sausage with caramelised onions, cheddar cheese and mustard mayonnaise in brioche.’
Jason: ‘I found these little foraging knives when I was on a skiing holiday. We then had them made with the Social branding.’

Squab pigeon, Dhs180

Tristan: ‘This is squab pigeon; we pan-fry the breast, and braise the legs, so they are nice and tender. Then you’ve got oats and grains, which is kind of based around what the pigeon eats, and adds some texture. Also, Brussels sprouts, since they are not just for Christmas, as well as Roscoff onions.’
Jason: ‘These are a French variety of onion, grown in the UK. The season for Roscoff onions is three to four months and everyone goes crazy for them. They are a bit of a delicacy. Normally, when you cook an onion that lightly, it is quite harsh, but the Roscoff onions are sweet, even though they are almost on the verge of being raw. We have a supplier in the UK that helps us find these unusual plates. These are handmade, and each one is slightly different.’

Salad of snow peas, Dhs55

Jason: ‘Now we move on to the raw part of the menu. Everyone is starting to get a lot more involved with vegetables, especially in Dubai, where it is warm and you don’t really want to eat a lot of heavy protein. We thought we’d have some dishes on the menu to celebrate vegetarian food as well. Snow peas are delicious served raw, so not a lot is done to them in the preparation. They are served with Persian feta, radishes, tiny little baby onions, and mint oil. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Really fresh, clean flavours. It’s not a challenging dish, but it is super delicious.’

Italian beef tomato and burrata, Dhs85

Jason:
‘This is what we call the Instagram dish. We challenged ourselves to do something different with nothing more than tomato and burrata, so the burrata is inside the tomato to create a beautiful tomato salad. We want people to have fun with it. Inside there is a dehydrated tomato salad, fresh (locally made) burrata, then you add a little tomato salt, and some 25-year-old aged balsamic, which has just the right acidity. Tristan: ‘You don’t realise what you are getting when it’s served, because the work is inside the tomato.’
Jason: ‘It is just tomato and burrata. But we thought, how do we elevate that and take it further.’

Bergamot & lemon verbena dessert, Dhs50

Tristan:
‘This is a lemon and olive oil sponge, with bergamot and verbena sorbet, bergamot meringue and lemon and basil sherbet.’
Jason: ‘We had a dish, sort of similar yet not similar, at Pollen Street, which was based around citrus. Tristan and I wanted to create the next generation of that dessert for Marina Social. So Tristan came up with the olive oil and lemon cake. The sorbet is from Pollen Street. These meringues are very difficult to make, trust me. A lot of marriages would have broken down for less. If you break into the cake, you can see it’s got a nice gooey centre. Inside the lemon shell, there is lemon granita and lemon curd. Our food is fun. It is about discovery: discovering new flavours and
new techniques.’

Smoked lobster, Dhs125

Tristan:
‘We blanch the lobsters, remove the meat and then smoke the lobster shells with oak wood. So you get a really smoky, oaky flavour into the shells, and when we reassemble it and warm up the lobster, it takes on that smoky flavour. The smoke box is just a little bit of fun at the end. We’ve already got the flavour into the dish. It’s a show-stopper. We made this dish at the Beach Canteen pop-up for only Dhs35. People kept asking us what was wrong with the lobster because it was so cheap.’

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