At a special preview lunch in the penthouse of the Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living, celebrated English chef Nathan Outlaw offered a taste of what is to come at his first international restaurant offering, the Al Mahara at Dubai's Burj Al Arab.
Set to open in September 2016, the Burj's Al Mahara (which means the Oyster Shell in Arabic) will see Outlaw bring his simple yet stunning approach to seafood to Dubai. At the preview, guests were treated to a carefully curated selection of some of what the Michelin-starred chef's new menu will entail. Crispy oysters with cucumber chutney, oyster sauce and caviar, and shells of raw scallops dressed with capers, gherkins and herbs, provided morish mouthfuls, while the seaweed- and cider-cured salmon with tarragon and delicate mushrooms was a celebration of texture and taste. The highlight, however, was the baked turbot with a seaweed crust, hollandaise sauce and fresh asparagus.
A lesson in the power of simplicity, the turbot was sweet and meaty, the hollandaise - made with olive oil instead of butter - was light and delicate, and there is nothing quite like the crunch of a spear of in-season asparagus. Dessert did not disappoint; decadent pots of creamy dark chocolate, caramelised peanuts, coffee and lime or vanilla cream, fresh British strawberries and buttery shortbread.
The beauty of Outlaw's food is that it is luxuriously unfussy, letting the flavours of the finest ingredients speak for themselves. This pared-down style will perhaps be something new for the Dubai market - one that is perhaps typically used to more opulence - but Outlaw's dishes are guaranteed to attract city dwellers and visitors alike. And when enjoyed in Al Mahara's exquisite dining space, complete with its stunning floor-to-ceiling aquarium, the experience is certain to be something quite special.
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