Clever name, STAY As our taxi drew up to the gates of the One & Only Palm Jumeirah, the guard approached to greet us. “We’re going to STAY” I said, as I rolled down the window. “We hoped you would,” he replied with a smirk. Seriously? As far as smart restaurant names go, thrice-Michelin-starred Yannick Alléno has really got it going on, and he obviously does in the culinary department too. The first establishment in the legendary French chef’s global micro-chain, STAY (an acronym for Simple Table Alléno Yannick) is the kind of restaurant that imbeds itself into your memory, and not just because of the incredible food. Peppered with black crystal chandeliers, romantic velvet bolstered booths, and giant tables designed for sharing memorable meals around, the focus of the luxe, sultry dining room is a giant pastry library; a giant, sweet-making stage covered in delicious handmade goodies where a couture pudding will be whipped up before your very eyes. Clearly STAY is quite the nirvana for the sweet-toothed diner. But what this much-lauded new destination is actually all about is simple, great-tasting food, impeccable service and a fine-dining experience that makes you feel like you never want to leave. Because you’d rather stay (get it?) and eat there for the rest of your life, thankyouverymuch!
Settling into our plush booth with a rose and lychee martini, already cooing over the divine amuse bouche, our starters arrived. Mine, a Soya bean and mushroom risotto, was light and fresh, but deliciously creamy; my friend’s Lobster caesar salad exquisite – half a lobster topped with fat shavings of Parmesan, fresh anchovies and the most delicious caesar dressing I have ever stolen off someone else’s plate.
On the recommendation of the Maitre d’, we had fish for our main course. My Braised sea bream with marinated clams on roasted spring onions instantly claimed the title of the best fish I have ever eaten. Delicate and juicy, but packed with intense flavour, the side of Dauphinoise potatoes and Buttered green beans with shallots made for the kind of meal people write poetry about. My date’s Wild sea bass with lemon butter sauce earned the same level of breathless admiration – multiple “amazings”, in fact.
Finishing with a desert of superb biscuit-crumbed Pineapple cheesecake and a sublime chocolate creation from the haute couture Willy Wonka fantasy pastry palace, leaving this place – all life-changingly awesome food, flawless service and effortless elegance – was going to be very difficult. Predictably, I’d have rather liked to stay.
Location One And Only, The Palm Dubai
Tel 04 444 11 63
Tasty trio: On the Palm Jumeirah
Smack bang in the heart of Tiara Residences, Solis is a big hit with Palm-dwelling locals. Perched on the edge of a truly awesome pool, with the sound of the sea lapping the shore, this Mediterranean-inspired beachside bistro is a favourite lunching hangout, with a menu that reflects the laid-back, European vibe. During Ramadan, Solis is opening from sundown, and makes for a great place to enjoy iftar and a spot of shisha. Totally chilled.
Location Tiara Residences, The Palm
Timing From sundown during Ramadan
Tel 04 432 9848
The brainchild of arguably the world’s most famous Japanese chef, Nobu at Atlantis has a dedicated following of those who love the very finest in Japanese cuisine. A refined menu with a Peruvian twist, the food is exceptional – and if you’ve never tried Nobu’s signature Black cod, this is the only place you should go to experience it. After Eid, the Friday brunch is heavenly – pricey, but well worth it.
Location Atlantis, The Palm
Timing Sat-Weds 7pm-11.30pm, Thurs, Fri and holidays 7pm-12.30pm
Tel. 04 246 2626
West 14 Steakhouse
Über-popular and trendy New York- inspired steakhouse with top notch views of Dubai Marina and fab outdoor terrace overlooking the giant Oceana pool. Food is consistently good (the Calamari and the Wagyu beef burgers are standout faves) and the atmosphere is all about relaxed, NYC cool. Once Ramadan draws to a close, we’ll be heading there every Monday for West Factor – where the steakhouse’s wannabe singing stars will showing off their vocal talents with the live band.
Location Oceana Residences
Timing 12noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight
Tel. 04 447 7601