What the ex­perts rec­om­mend

The Week Middle East - - Leisure -

Le Cirque Ritz-Carl­ton DIFC, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai (04-3722444)

In New York, Le Cirque is a “well-known circus-themed restau­rant that has been a land­mark in the city since 1974”, says What’s On. The menu “runs the gamut” of Ital­ian and French dishes. The carpac­cio de boeuf was a “good start”. How­ever, the loup de mer cru ce­viche dish was the “star starter”. Think raw sea bass “doused in a co­rian­der, lime and co­conut dress­ing”, sprin­kled with sweet potato, and fin­ished off with just a nudge of red pep­per. The cap­pel­letti au crabe was “another un­ex­pected high­light” – a pert pack­age of pasta filled with king crab and dressed in a bisque-like roasted ap­ple purée. And while the mains were “fine but for­get­table”, “re­demp­tion” came in the form of cake. The “frozen” cheese­cake was “so light” we could have “eaten five” in one sit­ting. Dhs 250 to Dhs 749

Stark 1 Os­car Road, Broad­stairs, Kent (01843-579786)

In ten years of liv­ing in the “bucket-and-spade Ken­tish sea­side town” of Broad­stairs, I’ve never re­viewed a place on my own doorstep, says Ma­rina O’Lough­lin in The Guardian. Sure, I’ve writ­ten about places in nearby Mar­gate, or “Dal­ston-sur-Mer”, as the lo­cal wags have it. But never in “pre­served-in-as­pic” Broad­stairs. I’m not cer­tain I should be mak­ing an ex­cep­tion for Stark: it’s a “lu­di­crously tiny” 12-seater that only opens Wed­nes­day to Satur­day evenings – ar­guably more a “labour of love” sup­per club than a restau­rant. But chef Ben Crit­ten­den is the “real deal” and his mighty ta­lent de­serves to be trum­peted. On the six-course no-choice menu, there’s usu­ally chicken liver par­fait of “preter­nat­u­ral silk­i­ness and del­i­cacy, and huge flavour; this time it comes with pick­led Kent cher­ries” and a shin­gle of hazel­nut gra­nola. There’s cured trout, diced with black­cur­rant, dill and fen­nel. And hake, liquorice-black with squid ink on the out­side, is “star­tling and beau­ti­ful in its creamy white cen­tre” and bathed in a sparklingly clear broth of tomato and dashi. Stark is a “lovely, un­ex­pected lit­tle thing” and Broad­stairs is lucky to have it. Six cour­ses, £45, plus drinks and ser­vice.

Where to eat in Copen­hagen:

When it comes to amaz­ing food, the Dan­ish cap­i­tal is about far more than just Noma, says Brontë Aurell in the FT. No vis­i­tor should miss the great food mar­ket at Torve­hallerne; I’d es­pe­cially rec­om­mend the open sand­wiches at Hallernes Smør­re­brød (top choice: pick­led her­ring) and the pas­tries at Lauras Bak­ery. If my chil­dren are with me, they will in­sist on a visit to Nør­re­gade Bolcher nearby, for the fan­tas­tic hand­made boiled sweets. For street food, Papirøen mar­ket, by the har­bour, is the place to go. My favourites there are Hand­made (open sand­wiches) and Fish ’n’ Chips (“not your av­er­age fish and chips!”). For a fancy meal out, I love Höst: the “award-win­ning in­te­rior is both cosy and hyggelig” and the food is won­der­ful. I had the rose­hip ice cream with green straw­ber­ries last time, and “I’m still dream­ing of it”. Last, for a killer brunch, go to Mad & Kaffe: “give me their smoked salmon with smoked cheese mayo any Sun­day and I’ll love you for ever”.

Le Cirque: some un­ex­pected high­lights

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