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Amid all the glamour of new restaurant openings, old classics are sometimes forgotten. Particularly apposite, then, is this week’s Jumeirah Restaurant Week (JRW), where 40 of the country’s top eateries roll out specially priced menus to bring in new punters and old friends alike. It’s all anyone’s going to be talking about for the next few days, so here’s what you need to know.

What is it? When is it? Will I save money?

JRW kicks off at the Madinat Jumeirah on October 5 with Big Bite Out, a dine-around at 14 different bars and restaurants around the four hotels that make up the complex. A foodie map and strategically placed abras help you get around. Through to October 13, eight Jumeirah hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are offering set menus every day (many for both lunch and dinner), and special one-off dinner experiences. Prices ranging from Dh95 to Dh350 per person for a three-course menu, which includes both signature items and new dishes.

What’s the aim? To mop up extra revenue in a slow season?

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“Previous Jumeirah Restaurant Weeks were hosted ahead of the quieter summer months at the end of the season, but this year we want to start the season in style,” a JRW spokesperson told Gulf News tabloid! via email. “It’s the one point in the year where our restaurants are united to offer a range of added-value offerings such as special menus and exclusive dining experiences.”

Any celebs to Instaselfie?

The chain says it wants to put the focus on the food, but nevertheless, “we are extremely lucky to have some great characters working within Jumeirah.” Whether it’s our Resident Duck Master Ho Hai Leong who can be found at Zheng He’s at Mina A’Salam or Chef Jean Pascal who heads up Jumeirah Al Naseem’s seafood restaurant Rockfish — there is always someone with a tale to tell.”

Interesting, but how about some bells and whistles?

Aha. Now you’re talking. There are chefs’ tables at Khaymat Al Bahar on Sunday October 8 and Tortuga on October 12. There’s a mixology session at The Rib Room on the October 10, and for meat lovers, a Latino-style ‘Nose to Tail’ menu in La Parrilla on October 11.

I’m more of a brunch body, myself.

This is Dubai, so anyone brunching at a Jumeirah venue next Friday gets a chance to win a free brunch every week for an entire year for four people. And there’s a huge after party at 360° to close out the week.

Where do I book?

With the individual properties, or via roundmenu.com


REVIEW: Burj Al Arab’s Al Muntaha

You could do a lot worse on date night than Al Muntaha, the modern European restaurant that occupies the crossbar of the Burj Al Arab’s sail mast. A preview of the under-$100 (Dh367) Jumeirah Restaurant Week menu earlier this week showed why the 200-metre-high venue is such a big draw with tourists.

While the interiors pop with the intense jewel tones seen across the hotel, a stunning view of the coastline — or the sea at sunset — provides all the romance you need. The food, new outlet chef Thorsten Killian told us, uses the best ingredients available anywhere in the world (that extends to the choice of grape, and sommelier Qusai has some fine suggestions). What that translates to is some very fine fare indeed — on plates with beautiful colour schemes.

Our amuse bouche, a leek and potato espuma (or foam) enclosing a poached quail egg was a fine match for the sky-high venue. The classic combination worked beautifully against the runny egg, a clever, comforting change from the tart flavours more usually employed to titillate the taste buds. Equally superlative was a starter of beef tartare, cleverly paired with tuna tataki and ventresca, or belly. Tiny bits of dashi (jelly) and red mustard (as seeds) popped through this savoury bomb.

The main course paired two textures of wagyu — tenderloin and ribs — with the best potato side I’ve ever eaten: a single French fry that had been, in turn, baked, smoked, frozen and fried so it was crisp on the outside but soft as butter inside.

For dessert, there’s a choice of a light Catalan cream, chocolate and dulce de leche cookies, or a lime foam paired with a tart berry coulis that will find favour with those who don’t like their dessert overly sweet. Overall, Killian keeps the bar high right to the end, but whether you can take it higher afterwards depends entirely on you.

The details

Dh350 per person, with grape from Dh65.