Marco Pierre White Grill

Con­rad Ho­tel Dubai

Friday - - Reviews -

Celebrity chef Marco Pierre-White has lent his name to sev­eral restau­rants in Dubai – some that have lasted, some that haven’t – but this so­phis­ti­cated pi­ano bar and lounge looks set to go the dis­tance. Which is a good omen for any­one look­ing to cel­e­brate the big V-day here – per­fect for cou­pled-up car­ni­vores, the large, open kitchen proves there’s noth­ing to hide and the friendly, at­ten­tive servers are knowl­edge­able without be­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing (I can’t be the only one who’s ever felt em­bar­rassed to ad­mit I’m not en­tirely au fait with the dif­fer­ence be­tween a grass- and grain-fed rib-eye).

It’s a big, airy space, but on our visit it was thrum­ming with at­mos­phere – in one cor­ner a live pi­anist and fe­male singer filled the air with jazzy French tunes, while shim­mer­ing ceil­ing in­stal­la­tions and

When the pud­dings came they turned out to be the high­light of an al­ready amaz­ing meal

an artis­tic span­gling of light bulbs cre­ated warmth while re­tain­ing an ur­ban edge – very New York chic.

Which is apt, be­cause al­though this restau­rant bills it­self as serv­ing clas­sic English fare, it’s ac­tu­ally a melange of dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences – from the Chicago-trained head chef Jenny Lorenzo (who’s also worked with Miche­lin-starred Gor­don Ram­say), to the menu’s con­ti­nen­tal­style sauces. Of course there’s Bri­tish grub here too, in the form of the out­let’s sig­na­ture fish and chips, but we de­cided to opt for more Euro­pean fare with our starters of crab – served chilled along­side a tangy, cel­ery root re­moulade and deep-fried soft-shell crab – and a rap­ture-in­duc­ing beef carpac­cio with foie gras and a truf­fle-and-pink-pep­per­corn dress­ing.

The Ital­ian ac­cent con­tin­ued with a risotto of as­para­gus and lemon – the vegetable was fresh as a dewy English meadow, while the rice had just the right amount of bite – be­fore we turned our at­ten­tion to the ‘grill’ part of the restau­rant’s name for our mains. I chose a fil­let of salmon, while my hus­band had a grass-fed rib-eye served medium rare (for any­one still won­der­ing, ap­par­ently the grass feed­ing makes for an earth­ier flavour). To go along­side we or­dered the truf­fle mash (silky and not to be missed if you’re a truf­fle fan), as well as thrice-cooked chips (salty and crisp on the out­side, soft and fon­dant-like in the mid­dle). Tak­ing a break be­fore dessert, it was easy to while away time in the com­fort­able cream-leather so­fas (ask for a booth) while watch­ing the bustling ac­tiv­ity of the open kitchen. But there was no chance of get­ting too dis­tracted be­cause when the pud­dings came they turned out to be the high­light of an al­ready amaz­ing meal. My hus­band de­clared the pear crum­ble and gin­ger ice cream to be the best he’s had in Dubai (for crum­ble con­nois­seurs that means some­thing), while I fell head over heels for the de­con­structed al­mond and rhubarb pavlova – crunchy meringue sheets min­gled with rhubarb sor­bet and white cho­co­late ganache. The lat­ter dish will be star­ring on the restau­rant’s Valen­tine’s menu, so if you’re look­ing for some­where re­fined but re­laxed with top-notch, non-pre­ten­tious food for this day of ro­mance, you’re sure to win top brownie points by book­ing a date night here.

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