New restaurants opening in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in June

Okku 2.0 and New Delhi's Big Chill Cafe are two restaurants making their summer debuts

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The dining scene in the UAE, especially in Dubai, is dominated by interesting launches. A number of restaurants will open over the summer – despite temperatures and travel plans – potentially to smooth out any wrinkles before residents and tourists return in full force.

If you're in town over the summer break, here’s a list of the latest restaurants to sample this month.

Somewhere, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Arabic-Mediterranean

The popular Dubai Mall resto-cafe opened its first branch in the UAE capital this month. Each branch of Somewhere is inspired by a different city, and the Marina Mall outpost pays homage to Abu Dhabi with its camel motif, and sand dune and gold leaf-inspired decor.

The Arabic fusion menu offers up creative dishes such as truffle and cheese batata harra fries; shawarma bao buns; shrimp kunafa; and French coffee baklava.

Open noon-10pm from Sunday to Thursday; and noon-midnight on Friday and Saturday; Marina Mall; 056 141 5517

Les Dangereux, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: New Arabian

The restaurant says its New Arabian flavour is in line with New American or New Nordic cuisines, so fine-dining fare inspired by Arabian tradition.

“Dangereux is our flagship project,” chef Soo Yong “James” Kim told The National in February. “It's that one where we're not really scared to be extremely experimental. We want to pull away the different layers of fine dining and get rid of all the things that we feel like we don't need in 2023.”

Accordingly, the fine-dining, farm-to-table venue – complete with a floor-to-ceiling LCD column – will serve produce harvested from its own 113,000-square-metre farm on Yas Island.

The tasting menus includes dishes such as: king crab with morelle, chanterelle and ocean foam; MB9 Wagyu with bone marrow tempura; onsen egg with potato foam and poulet jus; and Japanese yellowtail with miso dashi and American mustard.

The restaurant's Feast menu, meanwhile, explores the versatility of French Poulet Rouge chicken by presenting it in various ways: as a dry-aged whole leg, a sous vide roulade of breasts, a foie-infused liver mousse and wood fire-grilled gizzards.

Open Tuesday-Sunday; 6pm-midnight; Mamsha Al Saadiyat; 050 977 2774

Okku, Dubai

Cuisine: Japanese

Five years after it shuttered its doors, Okku reopened this month, at the Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah. The home-grown Japanese restaurant, which operated from The H Dubai hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road until 2018, was something of a must-visit for Dubai residents and visitors.

About 90 per cent of Okku's original “O-style” menu has been retained, with favourites such as hushihu salad (mixed leaves with crispy duck and hoisin-amazu dressing); ginger salmon sashimi; and dynamite kani (two whole baked king crab legs with a spicy mayonnaise dressing).

The venue is dominated by eight 3D-printed Samurai soldiers and an LED aquarium with photorealistic recreations of jellyfish, and also has a central bar, 20-metre-long sushi bar and robata grill area, as well as a private dining room.

Open 6pm-2am from Monday to Thursday, and 6pm-3am on Friday and Saturday; West Palm Beach, Palm Jumeirah; 04 666 1566

Kai Enzo, Dubai

Cuisine: Japanese, Mediterranean

Chef Izu Ani – of Gaia, Alaya, Fika, Eunoia by Carine and La Maison Ani fame – combines far-Eastern flavours with western influences in his latest rooftop restaurant in Hyatt Centric Jumeirah.

Kai Enzo, named after chef Ani's son, melds langoustines with a Japanese curry dip, and serves Hokkaido scallops dressed in a green apple ponzu with salsa verde. A classic green bean salad is served with black sesame paste and wasabi peas, while the Hokkaido cheese ice cream is topped with hazelnut crumble and roasted strawberry jam.

Open 5pm to 1am from Monday to Thursday; and 5pm-2am from Friday to Sunday; La Mer North; 04 302 1275;

La Petite Ani, Dubai

Cuisine: French, with British and African touches

The prolific chef Izu Ani is also behind La Petite Ani, a Parisienne-style boulangerie in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Serving salads, sandwiches and sweet and savoury pastries, the restaurant also offers protein shakes, post-workout smoothies, vegan energy balls, plus speciality coffee and camomile-pineapple iced tea.

On the main menu are dishes such as salmon and eggs Benedict; granola with yoghurt; lentil salad; blueberry and feta salad; pastrami sandwich; bresaola and burrata sandwich; and steak frites; plus mille-feuille and pistachio brioche for dessert.

Open 8am-9pm on weekdays; and 10am-7pm on weekends; Gate Avenue, DIFC; 052 176 7013;

The Black Sheep, Dubai

Cuisine: British

Chesterfield sofas, Sunday roast and sport screenings are all on the menu at this British gastropub – launched by the creators of Souk Madinat's Mezzanine Bar & Kitchen – at Pullman Hotel, JLT.

On the menu are appetisers such as Scotch eggs, sausage rolls with brown sauce, chicken liver pate and crayfish and shrimp salad; mains such as haddock with chips, chicken schnitzel with mustard mash and a pie of the day; and desserts such as Bramley apple crumble and Eton mess.

A dedicated children's menu includes fish & chips and mini chicken sausages with mash.

Opens June 20; noon-2am; 058 599 5664; Cluster T, JLT

Big Chill, Dubai

Cuisine: American and Italian

New Delhi's famed cafe is now open in Dubai Hills Mall. While the fast-food-style menu is dominated by American and Italian staples, the brand's speciality is its desserts and ice creams.

On the menu are signatures such as cheesy pizza rolls, baked pasta, cheese and mushroom-stuffed potato, chermoula fish, Parmesan chicken and crepes in porcini mushroom sauce.

Must-try desserts include blueberry cheesecake, banoffee pie, Mississippi mud pie and a classic tiramisu that comes highly recommended by in-the-know diners.

Updated: June 23, 2023, 7:04 AM