Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents - Siob­han Downes

BB So­cial Din­ing

Tucked away in a dark cor­ner of Dubai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre (DIFC), and con­cealed be­neath a wall of fo­liage with no ob­vi­ous sig­nage, it’s al­most like BB So­cial Din­ing doesn’t want to be found – a bit ironic, con­sid­er­ing the name.

BB is the brain­child of some big names in the Dubai foodie scene. The found­ing team in­cludes Shab­num Stumpf and Spero Pana­gakis (both for­merly of Zuma), with chef Alex Stumpf (most re­cently of Pey­ote) helm­ing the kitchen.

The restau­rant sits in a space that used to house an art gallery, which im­me­di­ately ups the cool fac­tor. Spread across three lev­els, which are con­nected by a spi­ral stair­case, it feels like a trendy lit­tle town­house. There are plenty of cosey nooks and cran­nies where you can set­tle in for the night, or you can choose to dine on the li­censed ter­race, sur­rounded by green­ery.

The menu is mostly Asian-in­spired, and is split into Bs – bao, bites, bowls and BBQ. Ev­ery dish is de­signed for shar­ing, which is where the so­cial theme comes in.

For the real deal, or­der the shabu-shabu (Dhs480). This Ja­panese hot pot dish is cooked at the ta­ble, with each diner us­ing chop­sticks to swish meat and veg­eta­bles in a bub­bling broth. It’s a fun, re­laxed way to dine, and works well with the BB ethos. It’s the prici­est thing on the menu, but BB sug­gests shar­ing be­tween four peo­ple.

Mov­ing onto dessert, we thought we’d bet­ter stick with the ‘B’ theme and sam­ple the brownie (Dhs45), which is served in a fry­ing pan. We’ve rarely met a brownie we didn’t like, but BB’s was par­tic­u­larly good, stud­ded with home­made marsh­mal­lows and fresh rasp­ber­ries.


Great food, with­out a touch of snob­bery. You’re made to feel equally wel­come whether you’re pop­ping in for a quick drink and a bao, or sit­ting down for a full-blown meal. Now that we know where BB lives, we’ll def­i­nitely be back.

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