RESTAURANT REVIEW: AL MAHARA, BURJ AL ARAB, DUBAI
Post-revamp Al Mahara now has a gorgeous little bar and an alfresco terrace. In the dining area the palette is a little more kaleidoscopic and the tablecloths are gone, but the service remains impeccable – as it is in all Burj al Arab restaurants, I’ve noticed to the hotel’s credit. Most newsworthy is the new menu by Nathan Outlaw; his eponymous restaurant in Cornwall, UK has two Michelin stars and he’s quite the celeb in seafood circles.
You have two options at this Al Mahara update: four courses for Dhs650 or six for Dhs850 (bumped up to Dhs1,440 with grape pairing). I plumb for four and start on a high note with citrus-cured brill – a white flatfish – dressed with anchovies, smoked almond slices and basil oil. What a masterpiece! Anyone bored with sea bass ceviche and sashimi will revel in this creation – the fish has a creamy melt-in-the-mouth texture and the smoky, salty, nutty dressing is inspired.
Like the first course, the second – ‘Intermediate’ – offers five choices. It’s hard to decide: crispy oysers; scallops with hazelnut butter; lamb ‘scrumpet’ with hazelnuts and red cabbage ketchup; crispy hen egg with asparagus; or lobster risotto. It’s less hard to see why the latter is the signature dish here – it’s a must-try.
With five more decisions to make for the main course, I’m seduced by the seaweed butter that the Dover sole, oysters and asparagus are served with. Sadly, the sole is overcooked but the oysters are fat enough to be filling on their own, so I don’t go hungry – especially after I polish off a dark chocolate and raspberry trifle with sugared walnuts for dessert!
The mocktails deserve a special mention. Who’d have thought to mix camel milk, hazelnut syrup, berries, star anise and oats together? The creator of Scrummy Viscous, that’s who! INFO: 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-11.30pm, Al Mahara, Burj Al Arab, 04 301 7777. burjalarab.com
SIGNATURE DISH Lobster Risotto
Made with orange, basil and spring onion, this isn’t your usual seafood risotto. Subtle hints of each ingredient mingle beautifully to compliment the lobster, and the rice is creamed with rich butter and Parmesan, and finished with a hit of basil.
Maria Sharapova’s Sugar Fix
Tennis star Maria Sharapova has her own Sugarpova candy line. Apparently it “reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side” of Maria who “interprets classic candies in her own signature style”. It’s not what I’d expect from a health-conscious sportswoman, but I guess you have to take your brand expansions where you can! Her motto “moderation in moderation” borrowed from Oscar Wilde might not work for everyone, though.