04 Dec 2016

With a New Orleans speakeasy vibe, this bar-restaurant draws in the crowds

I’m late to the table at Nola. It’s been open just over a year now and has already established a firm fan base: revellers who smoke like they’re in Mad Men and celebrate each Thursday like it’s their last. It’s packed at weekends. From the outside you’d hardly know it. Hidden behind boarded up walls, this JLT hideaway has a secretive speakeasy vibe. If you want a table, book ahead, and be prepared to squeeze up around a small one. Space is at a premium, such is the popularity of this place.  

With a nod to New Orleans, the menu features lots of South American classics, such as Bayou shrimp beignets, shrimps flavoured with Cajun spices in a black-eyed pea beignet batter (Dhs67); Louisana crab cakes (Dhs77); and jambalaya (Dhs76). There are European flavours too, from French-style mussels in vino (Dhs89) and baked Camembert with figs (Dhs68)  to Italian lamb osso buco (Dhs89) and prawn tagliolini (Dhs77). At those prices, you can see why this venue draws in punters.

Cheap, cheerful and manned by ever-courteous staff no matter how rowdy the clientele become, this is a place to grab a bite, raise your glass to the weekend and let your hair down. Lapses les bons temps rouler – as they say on the menu. INFO: Nola, Cluster P, Armada Blue Bay Hotel, JLT, Dubai, 04 399 8155,

SIGNATURE DISH: Blackened Salmon


Blackened Salmon is the most popular main course on Nola’s menu. Pan-seared in a hot skillet, the salmon is seasoned with Cajun spices to give it tons of flavour and a little spice, and it’s served on a healthy bed of zucchini noodles. Together they mix very well like a jazz party in your taste buds.