Nestled in the achingly elegant Park Hyatt hotel, Traiteur’s 14-metre-high-ceilinged dining room features an artfully angled origami wall, a dramatic wooden rib cage and a splendid stainless steel open kitchen – and so, while the food now has a bistro feel, a meal here still has a definite fine-dining vibe.
Deciding that the Dubai skyline-facing terrace might still be too hot for a slap-up meal, we sat at a table that faced the restaurant’s open kitchen – and we’re glad we did; the sight of talented chefs during a busy service is as highly choreographed and as entertaining as any ballet we’ve ever seen. “Yes chef,” was the chorus that accompanied our meal, and the occasional punctuation of a flame bursting from a pan added a certain je ne sais quoi.
Opening the concise but mouthwatering menu, Traiteur’s manager, Roman, came over to explain how the new offerings from Chef Simon Wipf worked. Starters – from Salad of roasted cepes with green apple and walnut dressing to Foie gras terrine with pear and elderflower chutney – are designed to be shared, as are many of the mains. Essentially, the menu has the laid-back feel of bistro food but the quality and seasonality of produce of a fine-dining experience.
Well guided by Roman (and in all our time restaurant reviewing, we have yet to meet a man as passionate about his job and restaurant as him), we opted to start with a salad of Marinated heirloom tomatoes, burrata and crostini; Pan-seared scallops with crab meat tortellini and sunchoke as well as Mussel marniere with white wine, shallots and thyme.
The mussels were delicious, and the broth was mop-it-up-with-the-bread-basket-worthy, while the scallops were juicy (and the size of golf balls). But really, it was the burrata salad that stood out thanks to the tiny caviar tomatoes that were dotted around the plate – these delicious little pearls from Holland were like concentrated flavour bubbles (and the best tomatoes we’ve ever had).
Still discussing where on earth we could get our hands on some caviar toms, the mains arrived – a Grilled swordfish fillet with crisp green asparagus and sauce ravigotte, and Braised beef cheek with celeriac mousseline and parsnips. And while the beef had that texture that only hours of cooking can achieve, it was the perfectly cooked swordfish that had us elbowing each other in order to get the greater portion (one hazard of sharing-style eating).
More precisely, it was the Alain Ducasse-inspired Ravigotte sauce that shone – the green, herby, vinegary concoction was the perfect punchy accompaniment to the meaty fish (in fact, we’ve already googled to try and find a recipe).
After ending our meal with a classic, perfectly gooey Chocolate fondant (which is a meal in itself) and a Raspberry macaroon that came with a remarkably powerfully flavoured raspberry sorbet, we strolled through the gardens of the Park Hyatt to let our meal digest – happy, full and still very obsessed with those caviar tomatoes.
Location Park Hyatt, Deira
Timing 12.30pm-4pm for Friday brunch and 7pm-midnight, Sunday-Friday
Tel 04 317 2222
Chef Daniele Capobianco has put his thinking chef’s hat on and come up with a new à la carte menu for this Media City favourite. From a rich Seafood soup to a luxury Lobster salad and cheeseof-the-hour burrata with lashings of Parma ham, he continues to serve up wholesome and true Italian food that’s as perfect for a business lunch as it is for a long, languid weekend family meal.
Location Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City
Timing 12.30pm-3.30pm and 7pm-11.30pm, daily
Tel 04 366 9111
Fire & Ice
One of our favourite steakhouses now has a new sizzling new menu, which includes light starters like the Persian feta salad with smoky eggplant caviar and watermelon (pictured), as well as new steak options (the Grass-fed and dry-aged Irish beef is a fave). There’s also – for serious eaters – a new Signature mix grill, which features a whole lobster, wild tiger prawns, ocean trout fillet, Angus tenderlion, spatchcock and lamb chops, and is obvs designed for sharing.
Location Raffles, Oud Metha
Timing 7pm-11.30pm, daily
Tel 04 324 8888
This brilliant bistro always has a cracking atmosphere, and it now has a range of new offerings to boot. There’s a delicious Cauliflower soup with walnut pesto and the just-seared-enough Beef tataki to start; while mains include a Slow-braised lamb shoulder and Roast chicken for two with foie gras filling. Oh, and the Chocolate crackle bombe is a darn good way to finish things off.
Location The Boulevard, Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Timing 12pm-11pm, daily (11.30pm Fri-Sat)
Tel 04 319 8767