Dining differently in Dubai…at a chef’s table
Dubai; I dine out a lot, in restaurants that is. But I don’t often dine INSIDE the kitchen. Not my kitchen, even though on occasion I do, but a restaurant’s. Otherwise known as the chef’s table, smack bang in the kitchen or in some cases just outside but with a full view. You can either order à la carte with any special requests, or indulge in a tasting menu – with the chef jotting down your order and even serving you. A sommelier usually takes care of the vino. And there’s no extra charge. Whether you’re after an intimate dinner à deux, or a raucous group celebration, it certainly makes for a different dining experience. Well in Dubai we have quite a few chef’s tables, so allow me to give you the low-down…
Thiptara – The award-winning and hugely romantic Thai restaurant at the Palace Downtown Dubai overlooking Burj Khalifa. A glass-fronted door opens into the kitchen and a cosy chef’s table seating four people, or less if you like. You’re really in the hub of the kitchen here with woks sizzling away, yet the chefs working ever so quietly away at their stations. And if you nab the seat I did, you can even glimpse the magical fountain lake show…worth noting, this is the only restaurant whose sound system is inter-connected to the musical score. Opt for à la carte where you are encouraged to highlight any special requests and dietary restrictions, or just let the chef recommend a Thai feast which is what we did. Here’s what I ate, a rather divine black pepper lobster included, with fellow food blogger Ishita Unblogged. Daily for dinner. T; +971 4 8883444 E; email@example.com
Traiteur – Park Hyatt on the creek most probably ranks as my all-time favourite hotel in Dubai for its serene, white-washed design with specks of Santorini blue. Traiteur is the French restaurant famed for its classy champagne brunch served in the elevated show kitchen – think foie gras, crème brûlée and garlic-infused escargots. The chef’s table here is a private room adjacent to the main dining area, with its own open kitchen where you can witness a live cooking show by the chef. Order à la carte or choose from a number of set menus. You need a minimum of six friends though, with a max of ten. Dinner Sunday to Friday. T; +971 4 3172222 E; firstname.lastname@example.org
Vu’s – This European restaurant on the 50th floor of Jumeirah’s Emirates Towers with panoramic views of the twinkling Sheikh Z skyline is no newbie but remains one of Dubai’s best kept fine dining secrets. The chef’s table sits in the heart of the kitchen’s entrance where a seven-course set menu is served, very similar to this one here, including a coupe of French champagne and canapés. Again, a minimum of six diners with a max of ten. Dinner Sunday to Friday. Bookable through Lime & Tonic. If you’ve not yet registered on the Lime & Tonic site, do so now here to get an AED 50 credit exclusive to FooDiva Friends.
Flow Kitchen – The all-day dining restaurant at the fairly new Fairmont on Palm Jumeirah. The Chef’s Palette as they call this personalised experience here is modelled on a cook-cum-artist’s studio serving family style cuisine from the Middle East, India, the Mediterranean and Asia. Set menu or à la carte with a minimum spend of AED 285 per person. Six to 12 guests. Daily for lunch and dinner. T; +971 4 4573457, E; email@example.com.
Table 9 – Scott Price and Nick Alvis’ restaurant at Hilton Dubai Creek has its chef’s table just outside the glass-walled kitchen with views straight across the pass, along with a live video screen. A seven-course menu priced at AED 495 is created according to your food preferences, with the chefs serving each and every single dish. You can let the sommelier pair wines with each course for an additional charge, or simply order from the wine list. Dinner for two or up to 12 guests. Dinner Sunday to Friday. T; +971 4 2127551, E; firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Flame – The fine dining restaurant at arty boutique hotel Jumeirah Creekside offers a slightly different interactive take on the chef’s table where you dabble at cooking with the help of a chef, before sitting down to savour your creations – all in a rather hip and funky glass-walled cooking pod. Wine pairing is optional. Food aside, if you book through Lime & Tonic, you’ll get a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne, a Blue Flame apron, and a signed menu thrown in. You can even sign up on your tod, or for a maximum of five. Dinner daily.
Alternatively, head to your favourite Japanese restaurant in town and sit at the robata grill à la Zuma, or sushi bar, like Tomo’s where you can actually speak to the chefs and ask for their recommendations. Perfect tête à tête soirée when there’s just two of you.
Now wouldn’t it be fab to see the chef’s table concept take one giant leap ahead here, like Swedish establishment Aveqia in London marrying a restaurant with a cooking gallery – fully licensed of course – where the chef cooks for you front-of-house? Food for thought…what do you reckon?
Any more chef’s tables I may have missed?
P.S – As Geordie Armani so rightly pointed out, if you’d rather not leave the comfort of your home, then why not hire your own chef which also minimises the cost of booze? Here’s an earlier round-up of chefs for hire and caterers in Dubai.