Eat Sleep Rave Repeat
Know what spherefication is? Nope, neither did we until our thin-but-should-be-fat food reporter Stephen Day reported back on El Sur’s cooking practices, which aims to bring high quality Spanish food and cooking to the region thanks to its elBulli night every Monday…
The Westin hotel has sat proudly at the bottom end of Dubai Marina for many years and is home to a number of great restaurants and one great brunch. Nestling in the left hand corner now sits El Sur, a restaurant with a Spanish edge and the promise of some unique experiences.
El Sur has launched an elBulli night every Monday and for those who are unfamiliar with this name, it was a restaurant in Catalonia until it closed in 2012. But to call it just a restaurant does it a disservice, it was perhaps one of the greatest places to eat in the world, ever. Ferran Adrià and his team created 40+ new dishes every year for a tasting menu that would revolutionise modern kitchens and impact food forever. No pressure then.
After walking through the entrance foliage, we were shown to our table out on the terrace with a lovely view across the water and The Palm in the distance, given some menus and left to soak it all in. The first thing that hits me was yes, there are 8 courses but apart from our wine nothing stands out as Spanish. Which is a shame as it’s a country rich in produce and dishes. But the arrival of a tart/ sweet gin fizz cocktail, with a lovely meringue- like foam on top made us forget our complaints.
The 2nd course was made up of mouth size bites of caramelized peanuts with a chocolate and curry coating. Sadly, our waiter didn’t know what they were which is always a concern, plus they didn’t really work: the flavours were indistinguishable and left just a dry nut taste in the mouth. We moved on to an olive Oreo biscuit with a cream filling, which was very pleasant.
Next up was a spoon containing a liquid mozzarella. This spherefication technique was invented by Ferran so they had better get it right and they’d nailed it – a rich, creamy cheese that popped in the mouth, utterly delicious.
Next was some beautifully prepared tuna with a blackcurrant jelly and then my favorite dish, the duck breast with seaweed and vegetable scallops, which was well executed and packed full of flavour. For desert we returned to spherefication but this time with a mango puree filling masquerading as an egg yolk on the menu and then some coconut ice cream and a raspberry lime sauce. A very good way to end the meal and cleanse the palette.
Billing your night as elBulli is a bold claim, and to a certain degree, it sets the expectation levels almost impossibly high. Being picky, some of the dishes need a bit more attention to detail, and waiters should really know what food they’re serving and how the dishes are prepared and taste. That said, they have met a high standard of cooking and if you’re interested in experiencing this type of modern cooking, then El Sur is a great start to your journey.
El Sur, elBulli Mondays
Westin Mina Seyahi 04 399 7700 | elsurdubai.com