Toro & Ko

Not quite the Catalonian tapas bar Dubai’s crying out for
  • +1
    5

Time Out Says

Despite Dubai’s rich and varied dining scene, Spanish food has always been somewhat proportionally under-represented in the city. Enter Toro + Ko, which has arrived to bring Barcelona-style tapas to City Walk, following the success of outlets in Boston, New York and Bangkok.

Set in the licensed The Square, the interiors follow the same funky-urban-industrial blueprint that has defined many restaurant openings in recent years. Nothing new, but it does manage to feel smart, cool and unexpectedly cosy, particularly on the small outdoor dining patio adjacent to the bar.
Service is, initially, swift and polished, but throughout the course of the evening becomes significantly less so. And it soon becomes apparent that the whole dining experience is going to vacillate between two extremes.

Keen to be transported to a Catalonian tapas bar for the evening, we skip over some of the less likely offerings (lobster roll, beef sliders) in favour of more familiar Spanish classics.

First to arrive is a beautifully presented trio of pintxo de queso de cabra – goat’s cheese toast with caramelised onions, topped with a drizzle of honey infused with just a whisper of truffle. It’s sensational, and heightens our anticipation for the rest. Moments later, a waiter flips a pan with flourish to reveal a perfectly golden tortilla. Only, we didn’t order one.

Nor did we order those sliders. (Though perhaps we should have.)

Thankfully, our gambas al ajillo and pulpo a la plancha quickly find us. More fortunately still, the Galician octopus is at least tender and meaty, because the prawns – oddly crunchy, overly salty and savouring strongly of burnt garlic – are nudged to the end of the table.

Desserts follow the same pattern. The crema Catalana brûlée is an un-set disaster that not even the (bizarre) waving around of chilled wafers from a jug of liquid nitrogen can rescue.

But the churros (oh, the churros), with their crunchy, bronzed, sugar-rolled exterior and squidgy, doughy innards are the best you’ll find in the city. Bar none.

But amid a wildly competitive restaurant scene, you can’t build a major dining hotspot on a doughnut. Toro + Ko has its work cut out.

The Bill (for two)
1x pintxo de queso de cabra Dhs58
1x padron peppers Dhs42
1x gambas al ajillo Dhs68
1x pulpo a la plancha Dhs92
1x Catalan cream Dhs38
1x churros Dhs46
1x large water Dhs35
Total (excluding service) Dhs379

The bottom line
You’ll want to like this place – they just won’t make it easy to.

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 25 Oct 2017

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Details

CuisinesSpanish, Tapas
12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM / 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Show number 04 590 5433
Dubai, Jumeirah, Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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