Dubai restaurant Folly to host five guest chefs for new dining series

Folly & Friends will feature one-off dishes that have been created in collaboration with other cooks

Steamed rice cakes with minced chicken in nuoc cham sauce is part of the folly & Friends menu by Vietnamese Foodies.
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Vietnamese pho soup, Bulgarian kachamak and camel ice cream.

Sample these and other diverse dishes at Souk Madinat Jumeirah between September 21 and October 26, as folly gears up to host no fewer than five chef collaborations.

The home-grown restaurant, co-founded by Nick Alvis and Scott Price, will offer menus curated by the five chefs plus folly’s executive chef Bojan Cirjanic. Each six-course meal will feature two starters, two mains and two desserts — one each by Cirjanic and the guest chef in question.

Kick-starting the folly & Friends series on September 21 is chef Carlos Frunze, of Teible, the restaurant at Jameel Arts Centre that embodies a food-for-thought concept. Known for his eclectic offerings, Frunze draws from global cuisines, yet wants to carve out a niche for what Emirati fusion cuisine can look like.

The dishes he’ll serve include: XO butter sauce with sourdough bread; local red cnapper with buttermilk foam and seasonal vegetables; and the aforementioned camel ice cream with beetroots and lemon verbena vinaigrette.

Next up, on September 28, is American-Lebanese chef and cookbook author Bethany Kehdy, who says she wants to use her “pen and plate to unpack the region’s narrative, moving away from the term Middle East to debunk the fallacies and myths surrounding the cuisine of Wana” (West Asia and North Africa).

Dishes she’s known for include: zataar pesto hummus with sun-dried tomatoes, carrot mutabal, chicken musakhan and sour cherry kibbeh.

On October 12, the folly menu will offer dishes whipped up by Cirjanic and the innovative pastry chef behind the UAE’s beloved dessert parlour Brix. Carmen Rueda Hernandez has also worked with 3Fils (the best restaurant in the Mena region, according to the World’s 50 Best group) and British chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, a multiple-award-winning restaurant. While we know Hernandez will serve a winter cheese cake, some other treats from the Brix menu that we’d like to see at folly include the karak ice cream and African powerhouse cake.

Lily Hoa Nguyen, founder of Vietnamese Foodies, will present her menu on October 19. Diners can expect to sample an appetiser of pho with Wagyu, herbs and garlic butter toast; steamed rice cakes with minced chicken in nuoc cham sauce for mains; and Vietnamese affogato with vanilla ice cream, da lat drip coffee and dark chocolate cups.

The final chef in the series is Milan Jurkovic who, like folly chef Cirjanic hails from Serbia. Jurkovic leads the team at 21grams, where he serves traditional Balkan recipes.

These include kachamak corn porridge with aged cheese and wild mushroom jus; slow-roasted lamb kapama in milk with carrot puree and sauteed spinach — both of which will be on the folly & Friends menu on October 26, as will a selection of Balkan petit fours for dessert.

The folly & Friends dinner costs Dh350 (food only) or Dh550 with paired drinks. Reservations can be made by contacting 04 430 8535 or

Updated: May 30, 2023, 1:27 PM