Lit­tle Black Door

This el­e­gant yet un­der­stated gem oozes 1920s glam­our with a con­tem­po­rary twist

Inside Out - - DESIGN | PLACES - knock­toen­

THE VENUE Tucked away in the far cor­ner on the ground floor of the Con­rad ho­tel on Shaikh Zayed Road is Lit­tle Black Door – an ur­ban cock­tail lounge that was re­cently ac­knowl­edged at the In­ter­na­tional Prop­erty Awards for Best Leisure In­te­rior Ara­bia. It is the cre­ation of founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Yasin Saleh Mo­hamed, a lawyer by trade, who had the vi­sion for this at­mo­spheric lounge. To­gether with Paul Bishop, man­ag­ing part­ner of Bishop De­sign, they’ve cre­ated a truly unique space that hints to a clas­sic gen­tle­man’s club, be it one with a mod­ern feel.

THE DE­SIGN On ar­rival, guests are greeted by a black door with the sig­na­ture Lo­tus Lion door knocker em­blem that’s also re­peated on a large iron gong be­hind the bar and forms the fo­cal point of the in­te­rior. What makes the over­all space es­pe­cially in­ter­est­ing is the var­i­ous nooks and cran­nies there are to dis­cover – all of which of­fer a dif­fer­ent din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als have been sourced from all over the world – a com­bi­na­tion of leather on walls and on ceil­ing, to­gether with dark wood, cop­per, mar­ble and ce­ment: ev­ery­thing con­trib­utes to the over­all theme of ur­ban un­der­stated el­e­gance. Every de­tail has also been care­fully con­sid­ered – from the cus­tom-made chairs and metal and crys­tal chan­de­liers to the cop­per rosegold bar. My favourite piece is a wil­low chan­de­lier from South Africa that hangs above a pri­vate ta­ble at the top of a stair­case – per­fect for a ro­man­tic date. There’s also a can­dlelit fire­place (only real can­dles are used!); a crys­tal de­canter-lit hall­way; beau­ti­fully pat­terned rugs; cus­tom art­work on the walls… the list of in­no­va­tive fin­ish­ing touches goes on. Def­i­nitely worth men­tion­ing are the re­strooms – with­out re­veal­ing their se­cret, let’s just say they are truly mem­o­rable and unique!

THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE Whether you’re in the mood for a light bar snack or some­thing a bit more sub­stan­tial, the menu caters for all tastes. On Yasin’s rec­om­men­da­tion we opted for a va­ri­ety of dishes and were not dis­ap­pointed. The LBD Foie Gras Hot Dogs – mini brioche buns filled with foie gras, topped with pick­led shal­lots and gherkins – were de­li­cious, as were the spicy prawn skew­ers and beef ten­der­loin slid­ers. We ended our evening with dessert – Dirty Ti­ramisu Bueno and the LBD Cheese­cake Dulce de Leche, both of which we couldn’t get enough of! Go­ing through the Lit­tle Black Door prom­ises a mem­o­rable and un­ex­pected ex­pe­ri­ence, with so much to dis­cover and en­joy – be it the fur­ni­ture, the menu or the great ser­vice from the at­ten­tive staff. We’ll be knock­ing again soon!

Above Dec­o­ra­tive chan­de­liers daz­zle, pro­vid­ing el­e­gant glam­our. The gong be­hind the bar dis­plays the venue’s iconic trade­mark, the Lo­tus Lion, which car­ries through in other el­e­ments such as the cover of the menu – and even the ice cubes!

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