Eat Sleep Rave Repeat PACHA IBIZA DUBAI
launching a club in Dubai is all about balance. Balancing what you’d like to do, with what you can afford to do, balancing what your customers expect and what you can deliver in an ultra- competitive market place. And Pacha Ibiza Dubai is a prime example of that, having to balance huge expectations, their delayed opening, three rooms of music and thousands of clubbers every weekend. They quickly adapted their gameplan – gone is their nu- disco room, with hip hop and RnB instead filling the Red Room void, while big names like Paul Van Dyk and Derrick Carter have been drafted in to give the club traction. And it’s worked, with sell out crowds, increased column inches while – crucially – leaving their main room and rooftop music and food policy intact. And that balancing act is quickly on show as we sit down for dinner, as a bald and exceedingly buff man performs keepyuppies with a glass ball before carefully balancing it on his head and waltzes out of the room. From there, 4 stunning women in full Brazilian regalia strut around flapping their fairy wings to a banging Brazilian house soundtrack. If you’re expecting your meat and 2 veg to come with a side of interpretive dance all night, you can relax. The shows last around 5 minutes and ramp up in frequency until 11pm, so there was plenty of time for us to take in the cocktail menu and dig into the creamy truffle popcorn.
The service throughout is warm and chatty, and our server Riona quickly delivered our first course: tuna and salmon sashimi, a fresh and crunchy mango and papaya salad and a trio of dumplings which quickly became an early dish of the meal contender. With beef, truffle, lobster and vegetable dumplings mixed with a range of sauces including spicy pineapple, they’re only upstaged by the next show. With resident DJ ejaz controlling the tempo with a warm nu- disco set full of fun basslines and vocals, we’re drawn back to the main stage as the wild- eyed female aerialist contorted and whirled her way to the top of the main room’s cavernous ceiling before dropping within an inch of the carefully faded wooden floor. It was absolutely stunning, with some of the leg bending moves enough to make even Barbie blush. With our jaws handily propped open from the show, we’re then delivered our mains: a delicate Chilean sea bass which dissolved on the fork, a rich and warm chicken curry in coconut sauce and a perfectly cooked side of vegetables. The servings are nicely judged, leaving us looking forward to desert which is sadly the only off note of the evening. The Japanese rice flour dumplings looked amazing. And with blueberry, apple and banana varieties filled with cream, it sounded just as good. But the claggy, doughy texture and bubblegum taste just didn’t hit the spot for us.
As ever during the night, the next bite- size slice of entertainment was never far away. First, the bald keepy- uppie man returned with a 2m wide hula hoop and proceeded to whirl and twirl himself into a spinning vortex, like a giant dirham coin stuck in an eternal loop. Very, very impressive, as was the body- popping juggler who leapt with all the grace of prime- time Michael Jackson. But again the highlight came with the aerialists. This time a double act, it was the worst anti- smoking advert we’ve ever seen as the two impossibly lithe contortionists swapped drags on a cigarette, firstly with their hands and then with their feet craned backwards over their head, as if tendons and cartilage were just mere medical terms. Yeah, smoking is pretty cool when you can do that. With over 150 diners booked in, Pacha was at capacity and come 11, the show ended, and the dancefloor began in earnest. The biggest problem is that you might let your excellent food go cold while you’re engrossed in the stunning shows, but Pacha have neatly balanced the dinner and the shows so you can get the best of both worlds.
Pacha Ibiza Dubai, Madinat Jumierah, 8pm-3am, pacha.ae, 04 567 0000 Dinner and show - 5 days a week (Tuesday - Saturday)