I think I’ve eaten at the best restaurant in Dubai
Find out which one I’m talking about. It’s NOT an import from London!
More new eating places open in Dubai every day, but which of these new places will remain open and become the successes they all hope to be?
Find out what we think on Food News with me, Mark Lloyd, Stef Burgon and Zahra Soar, every couple of weeks on Tuesday afternoons on The Ticket Dubai Eye 103.8 fm
Farzi Cafe in the City Walk extension is definitely worth a visit, but this isn’t the best restaurant in Dubai
The Farzi Cafe opened at the beginning of April 2016 and is already buzzing with Ladies who Lunch, business men and a few bloggers!
Admittedly most of the Ladies who Lunch were from the Asian subcontinent, but if Indians are coming to an Indian restaurant, that speaks volumes for it’s food! It’s located in the new bit of City Walk and although it’s a branch of an Indian chain, the food isn’t necessarily recognizable as just Indian as we have come to know it.
Farzi means an illusion, something that’s really something else. I prefer to explain their cooking style as Interpretation, a multi sensory experience!
So what Farzi is doing is putting their spin or interpretation on classic dishes from around the world. Whether it is something traditionally Indian like the Raj Kachori, a savoury pastry case stuffed with more savoury, vegetarian fillings topped with yoghurt and spicy tamarind chutney, or their version of a Shepherds Pie.
I really liked the desserts at the Farzi Cafe, and I thought their deconstructing of Indian dessert ingredients and then adding things worked really well.
It didn’t matter to me that it was called Tres Leches. I loved the presentation of the rose petals and pistachio nuts on the side of the creamy kheer because it worked on a taste level as well as just a visual level. Expect some molecular gastronomy and freezing nitrogen drama here!
Not licensed but it does have a beautiful bar, lots of the drinks/mocktails are a bit of the sweet side for me, but I was offered a curry leaf martini! An affordable, modern cafe with Indian accents and some dramatic presentation.
Stomping Grounds a very English expression for a new California style cafe in Jumeirah
I loved this cafe but came across it by accident last Friday morning. This isn’t the best restaurant in Dubai either, but it’s a coffee shop, restaurant and a great breakfast place I would definitely go back to again. I liked how you could sit outside even in these temperatures in the Cape Reed style terrace. This place calls itself a speciality coffee hub and it offers micro brews and house brews.
Their house brewed cappuccino was excellent at AED 20 and I’m fussy about my cappuccinos!
I liked the fact you could build your own brekkie starting from a base of 2 eggs and bread from AED 18. So we added a side of avocado for AED 12 and wanted sour dough toast that was extra AED 5. The bill was AED 55. Quite a bit of bread on the menu, bagels, french toast and croissants, but they had fruit and a quinoa bowl as well. My favourite remains the Quinoa in caffe latte at Barsalata we spoke about last week.
LALUZ The Best Restaurant in Dubai, honestly
LALUZ is in my view the best restaurant I have eaten at in Dubai so far. Admittedly I haven’t tried Jean Georges, or Cipriani or Enigma, but I’ve heard about these places and I’m sticking by LALUZ.
It’s not an import from London, it’s an import from Spain. They have restaurants in Madrid, Barcelona and Girona, which is the Costa Brava side of Spain and also in Mexico. This is their first venture in Dubai. It’s based in the Four Seasons in DIFC but like Coya at the Four Seasons Jumeirah, it’s completely independent of the hotel. The DIFC Gate Village location is obviously something they’ve got absolutely right for their kind of offering.
The chef is a man called Alain Devahive who’s actually worked at El Bulli under Ferran Adria for years. Almost all the staff at LALUZ are Spanish speaking, even Bogan their hugely talented bar man from the Ukraine!
To the food. It would be wrong to say that this is a tapas style restaurant, yet you can easily have lots of courses of smaller dishes. They are a far cry from manchego cheese, some olives and patatas bravas! Neither is it a nod towards lots of molecular gastronomy although we did have some molecular olive oil that had an olive tapenade flavour to it.
We also enjoyed some mushroom croqettas, similar to an arancini, but the sauce they was sitting on was also very carefully put together and hugely flavoursome with an intense, mushroom taste and glossy texture.
You could have your whole meal at the bar area, but we moved to the table and ate a special menu of 8 small courses before dessert!
I liked all the courses but some were more worthy of note for today. The lobster avocado roll, it’s tender lobster meat wrapped up in achingly thin slices of advocdo and then presented in a roll shape with some caviar on top. Picture on DoinDubai Facebook and Instagram.
The aubergine with black olive miso almost melted when you ate it, it had an almost silky texture to it. Both of these dishes were starters that we shared.
The potato foam that the Galician octopus was sitting on was more like a bechamel sauce to me and it worked very well, A bit of octopus and padron pepper sitting in the little Le Creuset dish for one.
Alain Devahive knows his potatoes, the baby potatoes served with the wild sole fish from Spain were exquisite. The accompaniments of hazlenuts and meuniere butter on the side that you add yourself turn your fish course into a work of art.
Alain is Mr Detail all over, and yet all this artistry happens in a very open plan kitchen that’s calm, collected and cool, no tempers fraying or swearing or even any banging of pots and pans!
Lunch is on until 4pm, there’ll be a full blog post with drool worthy pictures soon. The last savoury course we had was the oven roasted crispy Spanish lamb belly that they had cooked at 62 degrees for 14 hours. It was succulent underneath and crispy on top. Beautiful to look at and eat.
So cancel any bookings you have for a special occasion at any other restaurant and reserve a table here if you can get one! LALUZ in the Four Seasons DIFC you heard about first from DoinDubai on Food News.
Dinamico a local trattoria type restaurant based in a residential building on the OTHER side
Dinamico is a homely run Italian restaurant that’s light, bright and has a gorgeously green garden terrace in front of it with great views of the DIFC skyline.
BUT it’s on the other side of the road to Gate Village, which I think should now just be called DIFC! The food is quite good value, AED 78 for a squid ink risotto for example, and we got some very good bruschetta to start with, made with tomatoes and fresh basil pesto for free.
The burratta with rocket salad was also good, not like the perfect burratta I’ve had at Satine at Nikki Beach, but it’s priced to reflect that. The problem really is it’s location, it’s up on a higher floor of the Sky Gardens building quite literally across the road from the Four Seasons, but it’s very, very quiet. Great for residents of the Sky Gardens though!
I think these kinds of places would do so much better if they positioned themselves in a densely populated housing development where they’d have a much more captive audience and much less competition where they don’t have to build a reputation or compete with the likes of Zuma, La Petite Maison or the best restaurant in Dubai LALUZ.
PS Just in case you’re looking for a comprehensive list of things to DoinDubai, I found this link that I think has it all, very useful for tourists and us residents too.
Talking about Farzi Cafe and Stomping Grounds here
Talking about LALUZ here.