The final tier of the three-floor Embassy empire, Kitchen 45, perches atop Grosvenor House’s Tower Two in the manner of the most impressive of cherries. Refined, but cosy; modern but elegant; swanky, but relaxed; intimate with not the slightest hint of stuffiness and quietly cool, it’s not hard to see why the relatively new eatery is fast becoming the hottest restaurant in town. And while the decor is gorgeous, and the views spectacular, it’s the food that will give you the major flavour-high, not the vertiginous 45th-floor location.
Dropping in on a Wednesday night, the place was bubbling away nicely; a few large groups here and there, a handful of romantic dinner dates, a girlie catch-up or two. We were seated right beside the gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer incredible views over the Marina and straight down The Palm, but twinkling Dubai skyline aside, there’s just as much exciting stuff to focus upon indoors as what’s going on outside.
Serenaded by the mellow tunes, wafting up from the bar downstairs, we pondered the menu; a beautifully edited selection of Mediterranean-inspired dishes, given a Provençal twist by Head Chef, Maxim Le Vam. Dining ditherers beware, I guarantee some major to-ing and fro-ing (I was torn between four starters, my date just three). But finally, decisiveness took hold, with the Mussel and lentil veloute winning the vote. Quite honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but OMG!, what arrived at the table silenced two rampant chatterboxes in one single spoonful. A rich soup of mussels and smoked haddock, with an island of saffron cream floating in the middle – we couldn’t help but go a bit googly-eyed over the exquisiteness of it all. Decadent, sophisticated and packed with Southern French flavours and finesse – if Brigitte Bardot were a soup, she’d be this one. The Burrata cheese with caramelised plum and artichoke salad is another triumph – the rich but light Burrata (mozzarella on the outside, even creamier and runnier mozzarella on the inside) paired with sweet, roasted plums and finished with a fragrant tomato, mint and basil dressing is a must-try for all Caprese salad fans – but be warned, you’ll never want to eat regular mozzarella again.
My friend’s Fettucine alla vongole gambero tasted as magnificent as it sounds – ribbons of handmade pasta looping fresh clams and huge prawns in a luscious sun-dried tomato, chilli and parsley sauce. Having just returned from Sardinia, this is a girl who’s not willing to put up with anything other than life-changing pasta. And she wasn’t disappointed. My Beef Wellington was nothing less than dreamy – the beef perfectly pink and succulent; the rich mushroom stuffing divine, enveloped in a light and buttery pastry that melted in my mouth. With a criminally good jus and casseroled vegetables as a side, I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t finish it. Not for lack of trying, I add, but for fear of not having room for pudding, which we’d just seen arrive at the table next door. The Toasted almond panna cotta with coffee cream is a delight, and choccy lovers cannot miss the Chocolate fondant with clove ice cream and orange caramel sauce that gives it a distinctly festive taste – but I won’t be waiting until Christmas to enjoy it again. Let’s just put it out there right now. That, dear reader, was the finest meal I have had in Dubai this year. Chef Maxim, I hold you personally responsible for every kilo of my inevitable weight gain.
Location Embassy, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
Timing 7.30pm-midnight, daily
Tel 04 317 6000
Tasty trio: Dinner and dancing
Tecom’s latest club is certainly one eye-popping affair – all neon lights, technicolour craziness and a giant chameleon to watch over the proceedings. Food is snacky and great for sharing – think sushi and tempura platters to keep you emergised for a big night on the dance floor. So, for relaxed eats in an environment with pumping beats and with a clientele that really knows how to party (and then some), this is well worth a look.
Location Byblos Hotel, Tecom
Timing 8pm-3am daily
Tel 04 448 8000
If dinner and dancing in supermodel style is your designer bag, you’ll love Cavalli Club. Three floors of animal print, glittering chandeliers and sultry, glossy furnishings play host to the gorgeous people of Dubai looking for a luxe night out. The Italian menu is bellisimo, the music will have you dancing ‘til the lights come on (just touch up your make-up first!) and the crowd are fashionably fun-loving.
Location The Fairmont, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Timing 8pm-3am daily
Tel 04 332 9260
A long-term fave of music-lovers across the city, Jambase is one of the few venues that boasts live music every night. Good food, a buzzing atmosphere, and an excellent selection of artists keep this Madinat classic a great night out – trust us, this place is always busy. Busting some shapes on the sunken dance floor is a must, but take your spot early as Jambase fills up super-fast, without fail, once the clock strikes midnight.
Location The Madinat Jumeirah
Timing 7pm-2am, Tues, Weds and Sat; 7pm-3am, Thurs and Fri.
Tel 04 366 6730