Torno Subito, arguably Dubai's most exclusive Italian restaurant, reopened this week after three months. Making the most of the time on his hands, chef Bernardo Paladini spent the summer honing his cooking techniques in Italy alongside his mentor, master chef Massimo Bottura, whose Osteria Francescana restaurant holds three Michelin stars. Diners can now sample tagliatelle with "Bottura's favourite hand-chopped Wagyu ragu", as well as various handmade pasta dishes.
Likewise, a number of other restaurants that were closed when restrictions on movement in the UAE were introduced, have reopened with a selection of innovative dishes to entice precious patronage. Here are some to check out the next time you fancy a taste of something new.
The Westin Dubai reopened its doors on Thursday, as did its restaurants Bussola, El Sur, Sui Mui, Fish and Bounty Beets. Bussola also introduced three divergent dishes in a bid to appeal to every palate. Seafood lovers can sample Bussola Mare, a selection of oysters, red prawns, langoustine, belly shrimps and Hokkaido scallops, served on ice and seaweed. Meat fans will enjoy the juicy Filetto Rossini filet mignon, with seared foie gras, fresh truffle and wild mushrooms. Vegetarians have a fusilloni pasta option, with tomato sauce, smoked buffalo mozzarella cheese, aubergine and basil.
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina; 04 511 7373
Lebanese-Australian master chef Greg Malouf reopened his Middle Eastern restaurant last month with two scrumptious-looking new dishes. Malouf's battenjan combines aubergine, leeks, tomato, melting cheese and rice-shaped pasta, all cooked in a bag.
The yellowtail carpaccio combines slices of hamachi marinated in a mix of spices from Alleppo, served on top of smoky coal-cooked aubergine with pieces of milk-bread-fried pine nuts.
JA Oasis Beach Tower, The Walk Jumeirah Beach Residences, Dubai; 04 315 4200
The capital’s popular fine-dining Indian restaurant reopened last month, with half a dozen new dishes. Executive chef Sandeep Ail says: “With the world turning slowly away from meat to vegetables, I took it up as a challenge to showcase nutritious ingredients such as raw banana, arvi [taro root] and suran [yam] in a new light, by not just improving the taste, but also the appearance.” On the menu are: raw banana koftas with cumin, curry leaf, chilli and onion; arvi koftas with vermicelli, and peanut and tamarind gravy; and palak patta chaat, which combines batter-fried spinach with tamarind and mint chutneys.
The Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi, 02 449 9839
Souk Madinat Jumeirah's authentic Italian restaurant has tacked on half a dozen new dishes to its menu, each one inspired by regional favourites in Italy. These include seared prawns and spinach with chilli-garlic; and chicken, veal bacon and Parmesan fondue. Attuned to the Instagram- friendly experience that some diners crave, Trattoria also prepares and reveals three new dishes by customers' tables. These include: a beef tartare starter with Parmesan mousse; orata sea bream hidden on the base of a bread-encrusted platter; and tiramisu, which comes with melted mascarpone cream cheese that is poured out in front of guests.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai; 800 666 353
The Noodle House
If it's your sweet tooth that needs indulging, check out the latest line-up of desserts and mocktails added to The Noodle House's menu. The former include coconutty creme brulee; mango milk cake; Japanese-inspired tempura brownie; and a cake made with what seems to be the latest flavour trend on the market – chilli-chocolate. The drinks, in turn, are inspired by the places the culinary team visited during the restaurant-organised Asian Soul Tour, and include adaptations of the K-pop from Korea, tom yum from Malaysia; na natte aye from Myanmar and the Singapore Sling. Dish-wise, the chain has added black pepper chicken and sesame tofu to its menu.
Multiple branches in Dubai; www.thenoodlehouse.com
The Korean-inspired cafe, within the speciality 1004 Gourmet grocery store in Dubai, says its new dishes are “perfect for the adventurous foodie”. Cheese tteokbokki is a traditional Korean dish made with authentic sindangdong, a sweet and spicy sauce. The rich and spicy yukgaejang Korean soup comes served with a bowl of rice, and a new iced latte combines espresso, miso and vanilla.
1004 Gourmet, The Greens, Dubai; 04 394 3973
The Sum of Us
The recently appointed chef and head of research development Jesse Blake (of Lowe, Al Barari, fame) has compiled a new menu for The Sum of Us cafe and bakery in Dubai. On offer are: seeded honey muesli with mango, golden fruit and kaffir lime yoghurt; smoked salmon pastrami bagel with confit beetroot, smoked egg gribiche, pickled onion and pastrami spice; battered-fried fish Caesar with gem lettuce, tartar sauce, celery, croutons, Parmesan and a soft egg on the side; and chilled soba noodles with kimchi, cucumber, avocado, shiso and sesame vinaigrette.Burj Al Salam, Trade Centre Area, Dubai; 056 445 7526
The culinary team at Taikun was put to work with a specific brief to develop ingredient-led dishes over the past few months when the restaurant was closed. The chefs, we are told, have introduced “some Dubai favourites but with a Taikun twist”, such as burrata served with heirloom tomatoes, miso vinaigrette, sesame and nori. The Korean-spiced lamb chops, meanwhile, are cooked over charcoal and served with white onion puree, cherry tomato and sakura cress. Finally, Taikun’s new Hokkaido A5 nigiri comes topped with caviar and gold leaf.
Vida Downtown Hotel, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai; 04 528 3780
The restaurant, which was closed over the summer, reopened last month with a dish the chefs claim is only available at Maiz Tacos branches in the UAE. Originating from the Mexican state of Jalisco, the birria tacos come with slow-cooked goat or beef, stuffed in a toasted tortilla with loads of mozzarella and served with beef broth on the side, for dipping.
Several branches across Dubai; 04 514 4712
Executive chef Luca Tresoldi says he’s excited about two additions to his all-new menu. The slow-cooked ragu is hand-chopped beef from Piedmont, creamy pecorino cheese from Tuscany and durum wheat pasta from Marche. “Long before ragu was a universal brand of spaghetti sauce in a jar, it was the basis for untold volumes of Italian goodness. Traditional ragu has no tomatoes or vegetables. It is inspired by another Italian sauce called Genovese, which is a rich onion and beef-based pasta sauce.” Dish two, the tortelli cacio e pepe, has a stuffing of grated pecorino Romano, Sardinian artichoke puree and pepper, while the tortelli is cooked with marjoram leaf.
Waldorf Astoria, DIFC, 04 338 8133
If it’s takeaway you’re after, Prax’s is popular for its Asian street food, from spring rolls, wantons and dim sum to all things dynamite. The Dubai chain has now added Japanese chicken gyozas to its extensive menu. The panfried parcels will come with a house-made spicy dumpling sauce. Sweeten your taste buds afterwards with the innovative martabak Oreo. Inspired by the popular Indonesian street food, the Oreo version is a thick pancake stuffed with chocolate sprinkles, Oreo crumbs and condensed milk, and topped with butter, more chocolate sprinkles and chunks of crumbled Oreo cookies.
Several branches across Dubai; 800 77297
Channelling a Cape Cod vibe yet inspired by the time Kjell Kollin, executive chef of Park Hyatt Dubai, spent working in Japan, the two new dishes at Noepe pay homage to both Nikkei cuisine and Boston seafood. Of the sea bass sashimi, Kollin says: “I am fascinated with the combination of Japanese soy and truffle served with raw fish. This is a light dish with the freshness of yuzu, coriander, shiso Japanese basil and bonito. The wakame, seaweed salad and toasted sesame seeds add to the healthy aspect.” The Boston lobster bun comprises steamed lobster between a charcoal brioche bun. “There are many benefits of edible charcoal, including anti-ageing and detoxification of the adrenal glands,” Kollin says.
Park Hyatt Dubai; 04 602 1814