Tradition dictates that you haven’t tasted Dubai’s spirit until you have experienced a decadent Friday brunch in all its messy and mesmerising glory. But it is now time to pepper this time-tested belief and add a new twist. After my recent evening, it is safe to say that you haven’t fully experienced Dubai until you have booked yourself a window table on the 122nd floor of the swanky At.mosphere Lounge at the Burj Khalifa. This tastefully decorated and incredibly chic lounge, where you get to witness the shimmering city of lights all around you from your seat, belongs to the revered strike-this-off-the-culinary-bucket list.
Despite being a jaded UAE resident for more than a decade, the spectacular views will compel you to see the well-lit skyscrapers that have mushroomed all around us in a whole new light. The bar, that has a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the city with its floor-to-ceiling glass finish, had us floored. But the picturesque views weren’t the only gems here. The newly launched menu that united haute cuisine with some classic street food delights made us feel on top of the world.
We began our food excursion with a divine lobster and smoked veal banh mi, a baguette filled with seafood, veal, slices of fennel, apple and foie gras — it was bursting with flavours. Beautifully presented and served by an incredibly warm staff, it was a fancy sandwich that seemed to be the culinary lovechild if comfort food married its designer food counterpart.
But the street food-meets-haute cuisine hit a particularly sweet spot when spicy shrimp tacos with avocado, corn and mojo brought its classic trucker-toppings to the table. There was something familiar and comforting about munching down a street-food staple like tacos — but made of the freshest organic produce. It wasn’t greasy and was seasoned to perfection.
While we are game to experiment with new tastes, we are a family that never says no to some fried chicken (judge all you want, but that’s who we are). But here the buttermilk fried chicken is served on a waffle and is kissed with caviar and a smattering of creme fraiche. Instead of a bucket of crispy goodness, this came on a grey slate that served as a plate. Funny thing is, it didn’t feel pretentious. We felt incredibly adult while having this grown-up version of spruced-up poultry.
While the food was exemplary, the service was spot-on. Our maitre d guided us through the menu and served us some lush mocktails based on our tastes. Even though there was a nip in the air, it was refreshing.
To round off this splendid meal, we chose the chocolate bar served with hot chocolate macchiato and PB&J sundae with swirls of basil chantilly and raspberry. The serving size was generous and ideally a couple could easily share one dessert. But everything on this menu was enticing and it’s easy to go overboard (exercising restraint would be a good idea here).
But it’s one of the rare meals that doesn’t fill you with regret over a few extra calories. Make sure to spend at least one evening enjoying the sunset while you are in this city. It’s an iconic lounge that needs to be enjoyed in leisure, preferably with a person that you love. In my case, I took my mother who was visiting Dubai, and she rates this lounge as one of her best night-outs.
Where: At.mosphere, 122nd floor, Burj Khalifa, entrance through Hotel Armani
Cost: About Dh1,000 for two