Eat Sleep Rave Re­peat

VIVA ES­PAÑOLA

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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

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