Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

New restaurants, deals and menus: your guide to summer dining in the UAE

A round-up of the latest eateries and discounted treats available to foodies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this season

Abu Dhabi

New deal: lunch buffet at the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi

Featuring 16 dishes created by the chefs of each of the Shangri-La’s five restaurants, this summer spread is a blend of Chinese fare from Shang Palace, Vietnamese from Hoi An, French from Bord Eau, desserts from the Lobby Lounge and world cuisine from Sofra Bld, where the spread will be laid out. The buffet costs Dh165 on weekdays and from Dh285 on Fridays, which includes beach and pool access. However, we’re not sure swimming will be possible after this feast that takes in yellowfin tuna nigiri, papaya prawn salad, mango soup with sago and pomelo, rice-paper spring rolls, scallop shumai, hand-pulled noodles, slow-roasted salmon, duck à l’orange, lamb and prune tagine, lemongrass chicken and caramelised apple tarts.

New restaurant: Cho Gao Marina Walk at InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Pan-Asian cuisine has got a new home in the capital, at the waterfront Cho Gao restaurant. From platters of sushi and sashimi, and Chinese black pepper beef, to lighter options such as Vietnamese banana blossom salad and Thai pomelo salad, the multi­cultural kitchen is led by executive chef Chris Curtis. Other favourites include roasted duck red curry, bakmi goreng noodles and sea bass wrapped in banana leaf. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice, too, with ponzu tempura, Asian slaw tacos, tofu in chilli bean paste and wok-tossed bok choy. This month, the restaurant is open from 6pm to 1am, but come September, it will also launch its lunch menu.

Cho Gao
Cho Gao

Read more: Cho Gao at the Crowne Plaze: restaurant review

New menu: Italian innovations at Bocca, Hilton Abu Dhabi

You know you’re in for a special meal when the menu starts with slow-cooked octopus in a bean purée. For Bocca’s new à la carte menu, the restaurant’s chef Leonardo Passone joined heads with the Hilton’s executive chef Walter Miculan. The idea was to source premium ingredients and put them together in a simple style, such as a soup of roasted tomato and melted goat’s cheese. Live pasta and pizza stations mean that guests can customise their sauces and doughs, while mains such as corn-fed baby chicken and pan-fried sea bream will appeal to those with more classic tastes. Miculan says: “A meal is incomplete in Italy until you’ve had dolce, something sweet.” Accordingly, the chefs have created a peach and banana panna cotta, and coconut semifreddo mousse

New restaurant: fusion food at Sushina, World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi

A new sushi bar has opened in the capital, but this one boasts a unique fusion menu of Emirati-Japanese dishes. Jet-setting Emirati founders Ahmed Al Hamed and Mansoor Alhosani say they wanted to incorporate Arabian flavours in their favourite dish: sushi. The duo collaborated with Dubai-based consultants Restaurant Secrets as well as famed chef Khulood Atiq. The resultant menu includes such intriguing options as machboos rice rolled in sushi form, as well as robata-grilled lamb chops, sliders and skewers. All the dishes are infused with homemade flavours typically found in Emirati kitchens, which Al Hamed’s mum helped put together. Even the interiors of the new restaurant are filled with decorative screenwork reminiscent of the mashrabiya design.

New menu: Sundae menu at Café Bateel

If it’s something sweet you’re ­craving, head to a Café Bateel branch and sample its sundae menu. Coffee lovers can get the Bateel affogato: coffee ice cream with Chantilly-whipped cream and an espresso shot. The lemon tart sundae has a citrusy ice cream topped with a meringue and crumble topping, while the Piedmont pistachio is topped with caramelised pistachio nuts. More desserts feature in the Mediterranean cafe’s “summer seasonal menu”. These include the isfahan sundae, maracuja strawberry tart with almond shortbread; yuzu cheesecake with a hazelnut base; raspberry tiramisu with sponge fingers; French toast with Bateel’s special date dhibs syrup; and milk chocolate merveilleux.


New restaurant: all things pasta at upcoming DIFC restaurant Ravioli & Co

A trattoria specialising in pasta will open its doors at Dubai International Financial Centre mid-August. The in-house sfoglina (literally, pasta lady) will prepare the pasta fresh each day, with options such as tortellini, tagliatelle, gnocchi and, of course, ravioli dunked in marinara and other Italian sauces. Ravioli & Co is the brainchild of two women, from Italy and Jordan, who want to capture the essence of “mama’s cooking for an intimate family affair”. An in-house bakery will whip up focaccia and grissini, and the founders also plan to host a weekly ­social aperitivo, serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres before the main meal.

New deal: Summer Blazin’ Brunch at Miss Lily’s at the Sheraton Grand

Its beach shack decor (complete with a disco ball) and Caribbean cuisine have made Miss Lily’s an endearing addition to Dubai’s brunch scene. For the summer, the eatery has the “Easyyy” package, where you can get a starter, main, side and dessert for Dh250, and the “TunUp” (Jamaican slang for turn up) package, which includes drinks, for Dh390. Foodies rate the jerk chicken as first-rate, and the dish is part of the menu, as are the pepper shrimp, Jamaican patty melt and curried vegetable roti, plus a choice of avocado, jerk fries or fried plantains for sides. Best of all, you can enjoy this languid Friday brunch until 5pm.

Miss Lily's interior.
Miss Lily's interior.

New deal: best of Brazil menu at Frevo at Fairmont The Palm

Typically, Frevo’s all-you-can-eat churrascaria menu costs about Dh500, but until August 31, meat lovers can enjoy 18 cuts for just Dh225. This also includes the restaurant’s famous cheese bread with honey-infused butter, a soup, salad and mini churros. The meat options include garlic-­marinated chicken thigh, leg of lamb, crispy spicy flank, rib eye, beef ribs and top side Wagyu, which you can drizzle with barbecue or chimichurri sauces, or a peppery dedo de moca vinaigrette. Should you happen to visit with a vegetarian dining companion, they can partake in the bread, soup and salad, as well as get an asparagus, broccoli, carrot and zucchini risotto, for Dh205.

Read more: four dishes to try at Khyber, Dubai's latest Mughlai restaurant

New restaurant: Talise Fuel, the new clean-eating cafe by Talise Fitness

Working out is but one part of overall well-being. To emphasise the importance of consuming “clean” food, the team at Talise Fitness has launched Talise Fuel at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah. The cafes are headed by cookbook author and the group’s director of nutrition operations Gabriel Kurz. The focus is on fresh produce, natural vitamins, dietary specifications and foods that contribute to building lean muscle and reducing body fat. Everything is made on-site, including the almond and oat milks, and dehydrated flax chips. Made with organic ingredients whenever possible, the superfood salads come with low-fat and egg-free dressings. The chef also ­recommends cumin carrots with cauliflower hummus, wholewheat waffles and post-workout energy truffles.

Read more: Low-carb menu at Right Bite

New deal: Summer Sharing Menu at BiCE at Hilton Dubai The Walk

Nobody does a hearty meal quite as well as the Italians, as the new set menu at BiCE Ristorante proves. For Dh150 per person, chef Davide Gardini (of Eataly fame) has put together a four-course sharing menu that’s both filling and flavourful. The meal starts with a quinoa salad followed by beef carpaccio. The second course is a shrimp pasta tossed in rocket pesto and ricotta-stuffed tortelli. Mains include rainbow trout and chicken tenders in a lemon sauce. Rosemary panna cotta and strawberry sorbet seal the sweet deal.

New deal: Summer Playdate Menu at Play Restaurant & Lounge

Fusing two delectable cuisines, this MediterAsian restaurant offers up dishes such as black cod croquettes, veal tempura with soy sauce, sea bream in banana leaf, and baby chicken with saffron-infused yogurt. The set menu includes an appetiser, a main dish and two house beverages, for Dh300 for two people – which is a few dirhams cheaper than the fine-­dining eatery’s stand-alone steaks and seafood options. Former Zuma chef Reif Othman will oversee the menu. And, while dessert is not part of the offer, the chocolate fondant is a must-have. Located at H Hotel in Dubai, the tiered restaurant is done up in elegant shades of brown and bronze, with wooden flooring, dim lighting and an art deco ceiling: the perfect ambience for an elegant evening out.

New menu: Marina Social Dubai

No fewer than 18 new dishes have made their way onto chef Jason ­Atherton’s menu at Marina Social Dubai. The additions combine home-cooking concepts with seasonal British ingredients, which are then given a travel-inspired twist in terms of spices and presentation. The newbies include a two-hour slow-cooked egg, citrus-cured salmon with avocado purée, and sea bass with cocoa beans. A slew of intriguing desserts includes white asparagus cheesecake with thyme and raspberry jam; and pine nut shortcake bavarois with a vanilla-and-­basil-poached peach. Favourites, such as the social dog, chargrilled prawns and goat’s cheese churros, are still around, as is the laid-back vibe that Social restaurants are known for.

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