Unique food experiences in UAE, including eating at Dubai's longest dining table

Swap soup and a salad at your local for a West African supper club or an Italian chef serving dishes with an Emirati twist

Jumeirah Al Qasr's private pier will turn into Dubai's longest dining table in March. Photo: Jumeirah Al Qasr
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The UAE is establishing itself as an exciting gastronomic hub for foodies craving new experiences. From casual eateries to upscale dining spots, restaurants are pulling out all the stops to serve a dollop of culinary ingenuity.

Here are some one-off meals to keep on your radar.

A journey through West Africa

West African cuisine is the star of Dubai supper club The CBF Express. Finance professional-turned-chef Roseanne Orim, who is from Nigeria, hosts it at her house, aiming to shed light on the diverse dishes of her region. She changes the menu every three months to capture cuisines from 17 countries.

“I felt called to explore and learn more about where I come from,” she says. "I wanted to share it with the world as I felt it was a rather underexplored cuisine globally that deserved more recognition."

Three evenings are lined up in the next few weeks where diners can expect dishes such as Senegalese fried fish patty with hot sauce and fermented ketchup; Cape Verdean fried cornmeal and sweet potato pastry; and rib-eye with Nigerian palm fruit soup and steamed taro pudding.

From 8pm; January 26, February 3 and February 9; Dh395 per person; Capital Bay Tower B, Business Bay; hello@thecbfexpress.com

A seat at Dubai's longest dining table

Jumeirah Al Qasr's private pier will be transformed into a lavish dining area with a long table that seats up to 100 on March 8. The food is courtesy of mother-son duo Beatrice Segoni of Pierchic fame, and Luca Crostelli from the newly opened Italian restaurant Cala Vista.

The four-hands dinner begins with a champagne reception. On the menu are Italian classics such as tortelloni with aubergine, risotto with lobster ragout, and beef fillet with parsnip date chutney and baby carrots, plus tiramisu for dessert.

The Youngers Band will provide entertainment throughout the evening.

From 6.30pm; March 8; Dh700 per person; Jumeirah Al Qasr; sevenrooms.com

A trip to a historical town on Japan's west coast

Take an armchair trip to Kanazawa, a historical town on Japan's west coast renowned for its premium seafood. Chefs at Dubai's TakaHisa restaurant are teaming up with Mitsuhiro Kibatani from Michelin-starred Sushi Kibatani Ishikawa, about 450km west of Tokyo.

The omakase menu has not been revealed, but guests can expect Hokuriku fish among other authentic Japanese ingredients. Kibatani will also show off his mastery of Edo-style sushi making, as well as his expertise in fish ageing techniques.

Sittings at 1pm, 6pm and 9pm; February 2 to 4; Dh3,000 per person; Banyan Tree Dubai, Bluewaters Island; 04 556 6688

A taste of regional Italian cuisine with an Emirati twist

Husband-and-wife duo Paolo and Kelly Picarazzi are bringing a pop-up of Antica Australis, a restaurant from rural Australia, to Ras Al Khaimah. The restaurant is known for serving age-old dishes from Paolo's home region of Ciocioria in central Italy. For their UAE gig, the duo will use local produce for an Emirati twist.

The lunch and dinner series will take place over three weekends during the Ras Al Khaimah Art Festival. Dishes on the four-course menu will include such as pistachio risotto with local organic dates, tiramisu with pomegranate and milk pudding made from camel milk infused with saffron.

The meal is followed by a short guided tour of Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village.

Sittings at 1pm and 7pm; February 3 to 18; from Dh300 per person; Ras Al Khaimah; rakart.ae

A zero-waste meal by a new kid on the block

Although zero-waste and other sustainability-focused dining concepts aren't new, they are still yet to be fully embraced by many. However, a new Yas Island restaurant puts them front and centre of their ethos, serving Mediterranean cuisine through a Middle Eastern lens.

British-Italian chef Mario Loi has launched Mika. The menu is seasonal and the ingredients are ethically sourced, he says. Its current menu features a variety of small plates, from roasted peach caprese to hand-rolled gnocchi and lamb skewers. Mains include braised beef cheek, octopus and pan-fried sea bass.

Guests can opt for a business lunch during weekdays, a daily sunset session or a Riviera-themed brunch every Saturday.

Sunday to Thursday, noon-midnight; Friday to Saturday, noon-1am; Yas Marina; 056 433 1422

Updated: January 25, 2024, 7:36 AM