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The fried avocado tacos here are delicious. But we’ll get to that later.

Peyote, which is named after a small, interesting cactus native to Mexico, has restaurants in Mayfair, Notting Hill, Ibiza and Dubai. Its Dubai venue recently brought in a new head chef to revamp its menu for the year ahead.

Together with the new menu, the restaurant spruced up its interiors as well.

The interiors

The interiors are definitely a conversation starter. If you’re heading there on a date – you will have something to talk about. Here are a few to get you started:

“Are those ropes hanging from the ceiling?”
“What do you think of those branches of leaves?
“Does that painting look like a pineapple or an eye?”

My personal favourite was the Calavera-art styled skull, lit up behind the bar. Very Mexican. This place on the Día de los Muertos would be absolutely amazing.

The new Head Chef Walter Melo, revamped Peyote’s menu with debut dishes that were inspired by over a decade of cooking for Mexico’s rich and famous. Chef Melo joins us in Dubai after a long stint at a private residential community and club in Los Cabos.

Peyote hosted a preview of the new menu recently and here’s what you can expect. Unless you’re fluent in Spanish, you will need help translating the menu. Luckily, with the help of Spanish movies, a limited knowledge of Portuguese, Google translate and the ever-helpful staff, we had a basic idea of what we were getting.

The entradas featured the staple snacks of guacamole, salsas and tostadas, together with two salads, one Mexican and one with Quinoa. It was quite a generous helping of guacamole and it stayed with us during the rest of our meal.

What stood out from the row of appetizers were the calameras and the ceviche. While the palm-sized servings were quite diminutive, what it lacked in size it made up in taste – besides, they look pretty darn good on Instagram. Example:

 

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The Black Halibut Ceviche is usually an acquired taste, the Aguachile de Camaron (Shrimp cooked in lime) was incredibly appealing. Again, palm-sized, but perfectly crafted and incredibly satisfying.

Next up are soft tacos. You can choose from two – the first one, Taco de Aguacate being the star of the evening. Taco de Aguacate or simply Avocado Tacos are lightly deep-fried avocado slices with a light sauce drizzled across it. They disappear within two bites though. However the rendition served at Peyote is one that you would need to experience again. (And again and again).

Representing the Middle East is the Taco al Pastor that features shawarma-style cut meats on a soft taco shell. To be fair, it is reported that this dish, developed in Central Mexico, is based on the shawarma brought by the Lebanese immigrants to Mexico in the first place. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ You learn something new every day.) Let’s just say it has, in a way, returned. While it’s as delicious as everything served at Peyote, pairing it with the Taco de Aguacate just isn’t fair as I’ve already forgotten about it.

After you take a break from the food, by sampling their wide, wide range of beverages, it’s time for the main course – or Plata Fuerte.

These are the dishes that solidify Peyote’s crown as a leading Mexican restaurant in the city. Personally, two items on the menu stand out from the rest.

Those are the Pulpo Baja and the Chuletón. The Pulpo Baja – octopus served with a light sauce –offers more of an experience than that of satisfaction or flavour. It takes a fair amount of skill to get octopus right – it’s almost a science with perfect boiling temperatures, the right time etc. Where you have to get it soft on the inside yet just a bit chewy on the out. These guys got it right.

I would give the Carnitas de Pato (Braised Duck) an honorary mention. While delicious it did not stand out at all and needed to be redeemed by the sauces that accompanied the starters. Perhaps when it comes to braised duck, or duck of any preparation, I’ve been spoiled by dishes served in the back alleys of London’s Chinatown. I may get flack for saying that, but hey – that’s how it is. If you have to choose a main here, head straight for the Chuletón – their char-grilled steak.

Lastly, the Chuletón. The perfect steak in Dubai is a very coveted title for any restaurant. I went out on a limb by admitting to my fellow diners that Peyote’s rendition is one of the best steaks I’ve ever tasted in Dubai.

"Huh?!"
“Can’t beat Gaucho for sure...”
“You… wot?"
"Even Ruth’s Chris?”, were a few statements ping-ponged across the table.

“Yes,” I replied and scurried off for a beverage break, leaving them questioning steaks, my sanity, the meaning of life, etc.

Churros!

What else would you expect for dessert? If you do not fancy one of the best churros in Dubai, you can opt for the Tarta Chocolate Oaxaca – a generous serving of chocolate cake topped with strawberries. Now for the churros. Do not share them. Order two or more portions if you have to. They are delicious, light, and basically melt in your mouth.

The Churros are available as a dessert option in their Business Lunch too. Which would set you back Dh130 for the lunch and an additional Dh35 for a cup of coffee and churros. Peyote have also redone their Friday Brunch, and have introduced a new unlimited Saturday Tacology session.

FYI: The Happy Hour at Peyote runs on weekdays from 5pm to 8pm, with selected beverages at Dh35, inclusive of all charges.

Location Gate Village 2, DIFC - Dubai Contact: 04 521 6300 Instagram @peyotedubai