It’s one of life’s sad truths that there are some things that will simply never be as good as the first time you experienced them. In the movies, that would be, say, the first time you realise that – spoiler alert! – Bruce Willis is actually a ghost in The Sixth Sense. Or Patrick Swayze’s heroic “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” parental smack down in Dirty Dancing. Other things, meanwhile, like marriage and cheese, just get better with age. Or so we’re told.
And so it is that we approach our revisit to Ruya, a restaurant we fell in love with first time around, with trepidation. Can they really bottle lightning twice? Or will it all be a bit Grease 2?
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Turns out we needn’t have worried a jot. As it reopens for lunches and brunches after a sweaty summer of just evening service, we are more than happy to confirm that it’s every bit as good as it ever was.
Ruya’s immaculate delivery begins as soon as we walk in the door – those same beautiful ladies in those same stunning white dresses sashaying us to a table with gorgeous views out over the twinkly Marina waters (Note: if you have never been for brunch here before, we firmly suggest you book a daytime table on the stunning terrace to fully appreciate the location).
The food, courtesy of celebrated chef Colin Clague – formerly of Zuma and the much- missed Qbara, to give you an idea of his quality credentials – is astonishing. We start with a cheeky array of plates, not very sophisticatedly wolfed down by the pair of us. The seared spiced foie gras is pure velvet in the middle but encased in a delicious cracked crust that’s both a textural curveball and dream complement of flavours. The pickled Turkish cherries that sit on top are a wow dash of sweet cutting through all the richness. It is, in our humble opinion, an absolute masterpiece.
Same goes for the beef tartare with bulgar and baby gem, and the roasted baby beetroot with goat cheese and corn bread. While the seabass sashimi with mustard, apple and shaved radish is simultaneously delicate and a riot of flavour, the meaty fish is marinated in a sharp sauce so positively life-a irming it might just revive the thing. And the salad, made of mixed quinoa, nuts and pomegranate is – we’re just going to come out and say it – the best salad we’ve ever eaten. Honestly, it’s not a dish we’d have picked, but the waiter’s recommendation proves bang on the money when it arrives as an accompaniment to a wagyu steak cooked perfectly deep-red rare.
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Put simply, Ruya is third-date gold. Majestic food, brilliant service, a terrific drinks menu and the kind of sophisticated sea-view vibe you came to Dubai for in the first place – it’s as instantly recommendable as it is Instagrammable. Oh, and the two-cheese pide with slow-cooked egg, which sees a deep yellow yolk perch atop unctuous cheesy bread before being smeared its length and sliced into slivers of sheer aceness is, we’d wager, one of the best things you’ve ever put in your mouth. It also sums up Ruya perfectly – at once simple and clever. It’s not cheap, but it’s not nuts either. And it’s honestly worth every single dirham.
INFO: Sun-Thu 6pm-1am, Fri brunch 12noon-4pm, Saturday lunch 12noon- 4pm. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, 04 399 9123, reservations@ ruyadubai.com