If you've already ticked off Belcanto, Bushra, Canary Club, Demon Duck and MayaBay — only five of the dozens of new restaurants that have opened in Dubai this year alone — here are three more coming up in 2022 to pencil into your culinary calendar. Along with, Hoe Lee Kow and Kai Enzo by popular chefs Reif Othman and Izu Ani, of course.
Turkish chef Alper Uzundurukan is often called “Dubai’s Mediterranean mastermind”, having helmed The Maine, Dusty’s Dubai and the two HuQQabaz restaurants in the UAE, plus Zuma in Istanbul.
For his latest culinary venture, Uzundurukan presents Fat Uncle, which promises to serve “humble yet haute cuisine” (think fine-dining options at pocket-friendly prices).
Opening at Wasl Vita mall on Al Wasl Road this month, the restaurant will serve dishes Uzundurukan has perfected over the years, many cooked in a hybrid Josper grill and oven, which is known to yield smoky yet moist flavours. Options include grilled lobster thermidor; cured beef tartar with bone marrow and A5 grade Hokkaido Wagyu; and scallops gratin doused in Gruyere cheese.
“The experience at Fat Uncle will be an authentic one. Each dish has been designed to give diners an immersive experience that I personally overlook. Over the years of working in globally acclaimed restaurants, I have been privileged enough to understand the variety of palates and cater to them,” says Uzundurukan.
The restaurant’s name, says the chef, represents his view that he’s a “family member” of Dubai’s multicultural F&B landscape. Accordingly, the ambience will be modern yet warm, filled with state-of-the-art equipment and bespoke furniture, as well as vintage design elements.
After bringing names such as SushiSamba and L’Amo Bistro del Mare (both frequented by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai) to the UAE, Sunset Hospitality will next introduce famed Cantonese restaurant Mott 32 to Dubai.
Serving authentic yet luxurious Chinese cuisine (“a standard that does not exist here yet”, claims Malcolm Wood, co-founder of hospitality group Maximal Concepts), Mott 32 is set to open on the 73rd floor of Address Beach Resort in the fourth quarter of this year.
The venue is being designed by award-winning interior brand Joyce Wang Studio, and the menu is expected to feature Mott signatures, including apple wood Peking duck, smoked black cod, crispy prawns with salty egg yolk and oatmeal, and plenty of dim sum.
Mott 32, which has outposts in Vancouver, Las Vegas, Seoul, and Singapore, will also open branches in Bangkok and Cebu this year.
The name is an ode to 32 Mott Street in New York, the location of the city’s first Chinese convenience store that opened in 1891.
While you might find the odd bowl of borscht at Russian-Uzbek spots around Dubai, there is no dedicated Ukrainian restaurant serving the country's national dish.
However, things look set to change with Yoy, which is opening at The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah in September.
Billing itself as "the UAE's first dine-in Ukrainian restaurant", Yoy will specialise in dishes created using fire-cooking techniques — think smoking, roasting, grilling and flame-frying.
Executive chef Pavlo Moroz will run an open kitchen centred around a pich. This wood-burning oven is considered the heart of a traditional Ukrainian home and is typically used for both keeping warm and cooking hearty meals with a smoked flavour.
Expect dishes such as baked pumpkin served with Jerusalem artichoke chips, beetroot with pumpkin seed oil and fermented baked milk poured tableside; fried garfish on a hay of celery roots, served with a sauce made of tomatoes, parsley, cilantro and dill; and rabbit sicheniki wrapped in savoy cabbage, and served with spicy baby carrot cream, and roasted porridge with celery roots and parsnip, and cooked like a buttery risotto.
The licensed venue will offer beverages using botanicals from the European country, which is still besieged by conflict, as well as organising pop-up cooking events hosted by Ukrainian chefs, who will offer diners creative dishes new to most palates in the UAE.
Food aside, Yoy will also host live entertainment by folk singers and musicians playing traditional instruments such as the bandura (a plucked string folk) and trembita (also known as the Ukrainian mountain horn).
The theme will also play out in the venue's minimalistic interiors, which comprises a mix of wooden elements, handmade clay pitchers and white stalks on the Ukrainian coat of arms. Staff will also be clad in embroidered vyshyvanka patterned shirts.
Yoy (which means "wow" in Ukrainian), is part of the Moderza Group from Kyiv, which also runs the Argentina Grill restaurants at La Mer and on Palm Jumeirah.