Tag Archives: British

Cavendish

Cavendish
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. Powered by Restronaut.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Bonnington Hotel JLT OPENING HRS. 12:30-6, 7-11 pm CUISINE British PRICE PER COUPLE AED 590 TELEPHONE # 04 356 0533 WEBSITE Click Here
THE FORK-O-METER
Ur Well Priced Wine Pairing Spot
       

Rivington Grill

Rivington Bar and  Grill
With beautiful words like these how can you not smile upon arriving at Rivington’s doors? It makes you stop for a second and wonder who you would wish those words were coming from. With a grin from a memory, I enter Rivington to begin another fabulous night of FIOD Tuesdays. Taking a walk around Rivington, I notice a powerful energy coming from a full house both inside the restaurant and on the terrace. What truly feeds to the vibe of the space is the glorious open kitchen. Seeing a kitchen exposed and in full gear is breathtaking. Leaning on the counter, with my chin resting on the palm of my hands, my captivated and curious eyes taken in all the action. Aware of my unabashed stalking, the chef sends over a wave and a Hello, which I respond with a giggle and a Hi. Pulling myself away from the kitchen I take my seat at the head of our 12 seat-er table, on the terrace, and explore the menu while my dinner guests arrive. While taking our orders, I tell the well-informed waitress to bring our starters and mains all together – hungry we are! In the mean time we are kept occupied with loaves of bread and chilled, salty butter. The soft pillow-y insides of the loaves make it difficult to resist, I become like bread and butter to my bread and butter. With 12 dinner guests at the table, conversation is flowing, business, love, friendship, future plans and confessions. Though heavily amused by the conversation I receive a “Where’s the food glance” every several minutes from one of my guests. After inquiring with the waitress and an assurance that our order is on the way, five minutes later, our food arrives. My first fork dive goes to the attractively presented seared scallops, a dish that I was advised not to leave the restaurant without having. A sweet sea breeze – is exactly what this dish is. The scallops taste of a cool day at the beach while the sweet potato purée offers a jolt of honeyed flavor. Continuing my love affair with the crustacean family, for my main, I order grilled king prawns – and kings they are. Large, powerful and confident. Simple yet faultless, the grilled prawns come in a garlic dressing, with a fresh squirt of lemon your good to go. My kings were defeated and polished off in a moment’s time, for it is 2012 after all – queens call the shots now. One of the perks of dining with such a large crowd is the opportunity to taste a handful of dished. It’s a known fact, if you dine with me, I’m going to be taking a bite of your dish – sharing is caring after all. As I do my fork length away round: A bite from the fish and chips, crunchy on the outside and soft and white on the inside – Check. A bite from the T-bone steak, cooked to order and tender – Check. But wait, even though I stand by my check, deep down inside, I believe that steaks should be reserved for steakhouses. I would recommend enjoying something more daring when not dining in a steakhouse. A bite from the grilled sea bass, tender and pure but it came with a side warning of “Watch out for the bones.” No my favorite side. While the dessert menus are being passed around I see most of my soldiers surrendering to their satiated hunger and forfeit the idea of desserts. As a queen who has just defeated a handful of kings, at this point of the battle, surrendering is not an option and with a remaining two loyal knights by my side, three desserts are ordered. Sticky toffee date pudding, honeycomb ice cream and chocolate caramel tart. Going through the desserts like my life depends on it, I have no other choice then to take my fork and with two taps on Rivington’s shoulders dub thee the second best dessert destination in Dubai. Only second to La Petite Maison. Though Dubai holds the title of having such a large spectrum of restaurants from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high there seems to be a black hole with regards to quality mid level restaurants. I believe Rivington takes the crown for that title and may go as far as being my King… just for that evening – because an undefeated queen is a solo queen.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Rivington Bar and Grill OPENING HRS. Noon - Midnight CUISINE British PRICE PER COUPLE AED 400 TELEPHONE # 04 366 6464 WEBSITE http://www.rivingtongrill.ae
THE FORK-O-METER
A Love At First Site Restaurant
           

The Ivy Dubai

The IVY
Walking into the IVY the first thought that comes to mind is “Thank God this looks NOTHING like Scarletts”. Sorry Scarletts but you wuz Uglayy. The second thing I notice is that I am the ONLY non British customer within a 10 meter radius of the restaurant. This clearly demonstrates the pull power of the IVY brand – an export from the UK. If I step in the IVY Dubai a couple of months from now and see that it’s still brimming with return British customers, its success would be proven by its domination of its British inspired menu rather than by its brand name. Can the IVY London be compared to the IVY Dubai? The IVY London is known as the place to eat for the who’s who of celebrities. Other than the Dubai residents who act like celebrities (but aren’t) celebrity sightings would be like finding a parking in the Marina – next to never. With that being said rather than being a sister of the IVY London, I’d say, the Ivy Dubai is going to be its distant cousin. I’ve said this a million times and I’m going to say it again, I like… wait Love, short menus. I’d rather a restaurant do a select number of things perfectly than a never ending list of everything half assed. The Ivy’s menu is well fitted, to the nines and concise – just like a beyond your budget designer suit. Iced Tomato Soup As a lover of soup, and a less than lover (my life is too short to hate, hence the less than lover) of the hot/sticky/humid did I say hot... summers of Dubai, the Iced Tomato Soup is a pleasant remedy to my catch-22. Basil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheerfully bathing in a fresh iced tomato pulp/juice. If you love your Bloody Marys you will love this soup. If tomato juice is too much for you I’d recommend something else. Warm Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce Asparagus is such an earthy, fresh veggie that I feel the more than ample dollop of thick, full bodied hollandaise sauce is too much for me. Though cooked to perfection, I find myself scraping off the excess Hollandaise to reach my beautiful green Asparagi (is that the plural of Asparagus just like cacti or is asparagus already plural?) Fillet of Cod I’m usually not the biggest fish fan. For example when I have quality fish my reaction would be “If fish were my thing I would enjoy this dish”. Taking a bite of my fillet of cod my reaction surprises me. I like! But how can I like? I don’t like fish – but I like this dish… There is something about the smoky, woody, caramelized undertone of a cod that, to me, makes it an un fish and actually delightful. A splash of lemon is all you need. Shepherd’s Pie                                                                                                        I have to admit – I’m a Shepherd’s Pie virgin. While ordering my pie I start to imagine pastry dough stuffed with minced meat. When my pie arrives I have a mini paradigm shift “This is what it looks liiiiikkkee” No dough rather mashed potatoes on top of minced meat placed in a shallow pool of sauce. To me, a Lebanese who has nothing to do with this dish, the secret that brings everything together is the sauce; deep, rich and fruity. Taking a bite constitutes of sliding my fork through the pie and swirling it around the plate to soak up as much sauce as possible and then enjoying. Crème Brulee Is that even British? After a quick Google search on my phone I realize that the question I just posed is actually a hot and heavy debate dating back 100s of years ago. Supposedly the British, French and Spanish are all laying claim to the crème brulee. Either way it’s a delight. Iced Berries The picture says it all. Iced berries topped with warm white chocolate. I know it’s a tradition that the chocolate be white, but deep down inside, while enjoying the amalgamation of hot and cold in my mouth, I secretly wish the chocolate is dark chocolate. The Result The Ivy is the new life line for the ghost town that used to be the Emirates Tower’s restaurant scene.    My personal cooking likes tend to diverge more to French inspirations rather than British – but that’s just me. Do I crave British food – not too often – maybe because of my lack of exposure to it – but I know more than half of Dubai craves/wants/needs it. Do I think the IVY will be a success in Dubai? No… I think it will be a Huge success. Quality food with quality service all at a price your credit card would love.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: Emirates Towers CUISINE: British PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 600 TELEPHONE # type 04 319 8767  
THE FORK-O-METER
A Craving Quencher Restaurant