I have to admit, JLT is a grey area to me. If you ask me where to eat in JBR, Downtown, DIFC or Madinat Jumeirah I would be able to recommend something to suit your occasion. If you ask me where to eat in JLT, I would be at a loss for recommendations – quelle horreur!
So when a friend tipped me off to Cavendish in the Bonnington Hotel, JLT, I said yes please table for 12!
Walking down the staircase towards Cavendish I am greeted by a dining room with high ceilings, something I like. The welcome party also included velvet dressed lime green chairs, double cloth covered tables and Garden Center houseplants.
Talking a stroll around the dining area I come across a beautiful piano played by the ghost of Mr. Cavendish himself maybe.
Were those stairs I walked down or a time machine that warped me back to a hotel in the 90s?
Taking my seat at my 12-seater table I’m pleased that the restaurant can accommodate large groups, something I always keep in mind when occasions come around.
My dinner guests arrive in bulks of 2 or 3 and before I know it, all hands on deck.
As it is the first Tuesday of the month, Cavendish offers a mushroom inspired three course wine paired menu.
Consciously seating myself next to a die hard foodie, strategizing ensues. The menu offers either or choices for starters and mains and accordingly a pact is made to order each other’s opposite to insure everything on the menu gets sampled.
Our amuse bouche arrives via a cappuccino inspired cup filled with a mushroom soup and truffle foam. Dipping my spoon into the soup and tasting its warm earthy flavors, I set my spoon aside and continue with gulps sips (must maintain lady-like demeanor) to finish it off. The soup proves to be a true amuse bouche that prepares me for the flavors to come.
My salad of pigeon, beetroot and candied walnuts arrives next. Beetroot is one of my new found loves, so it’s a sensitive subject when on a plate. Pairing my sweet beetroot with the citrus of the salad, meat of pigeon and candied walnuts is sublime. Luckily this dish is served to me before my foodie companion, so I have to selfishly admit, I do finish more than half of it before letting him have his share. Wine selection is a pinot noir from Argentina.
A dish of lamb sweetbreads is placed in front of me, aka lamb glands. As it’s a first for me, I do my 5 sense rundown, light in color, soft to the touch, smells like butter scotch meat, biting into it I hear nothing and finally it tastes like rich sweet, butter bread, but its meat. The sweetbreads are served with peas and asparagus which are a much-needed fresh flavor to contrast the rich meat and dense gnocchi. The dish exposed me to a new and beautiful flavor, and I thank it for that, but I would have been satisfied with half of its quantity only because of it’s intense flavors. The wine selection is a Zenfendale from USA.
My veal tenderloin with mushrooms and artichoke arrives. Though overly presented, I prefer dishes that are neat yet still organically plated, doesn’t disappoint. The beef is cooked to medium and the drizzled Madeira sauce (similar to a dry cherry) brings it all together. The wine selection is Chianti Classico form Italy.
I take a bite of the trout served with bacon, which is good, but I decide to continue with the fillet.
Pre dessert to our dessert is presented. Cute, small, honeycomb parfait, more please!
And finally, dark cherry soufflé served with a sweet Monte wine from Chile. Only a handful of restaurants have soufflé on their menu because it needs to be served on the spot and is not easy to master, so bravo to Cavendish for taking on that challenge, all the ramekins are wiped clean.
Laying my head to rest that evening I think about the beetroot salad, the sweetbreads, the parfait, the sweet wine, a sign that the food did make an impact on me.
I would request from the bottom of my heart a design change, not that it’s the only thing that matters, but it does matter. Get rid of the plants, the piano that plays songs on repeat, the lime green and red colors, replace it with all white have some live music and Cavendish would flourish.
For now they fall under the Bring-Your-Own-Ambiance category, but know that they will Bring-the-Food better than a lot of restaurants in Dubai at a price you would also enjoy.
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