A total of 11 venues received one star, three got two stars and 17 were listed under the Bib Gourmand category.
With the culinary and entertainment season well under way, The National continues its Star-grazing series and visits the latest Michelin-starred restaurants in Dubai to understand the ethos behind their celebrated menus.
Nestled on the rooftop of Eden House, a glamorous residential building in Satwa, Moonrise is our latest stop.
The story behind Moonrise
A home-grown success story, Moonrise is the brainchild of Solemann Haddad, 27.
Born and raised in Dubai to a Syrian father and French mother, Haddad won the Young Chef Award in the debut Dubai Michelin Guide last year, followed by a star for his restaurant this year.
Moonrise offers an ever-changing menu featuring an innovative take on Levant staples with French culinary techniques and served Omakase-style – following the Japanese tradition where a limited number of diners savour a set meal decided upon by the chef and prepared on the spot.
Despite its globe-trotting influences, Moonrise’s beating heart is the UAE. Much of the produce is locally sourced and Haddad describes the accolade as a personal win. “It does mean a lot to be a chef born in Dubai and an Arab to receive a Michelin star in the Middle East,” he tells The National.
Michelin inspectors praised Moonrise for its “high-quality cooking”.
The guide notes: “Home-grown – and largely self-taught talent – Solemann Haddad tells the story and the inspiration behind each of the cleverly conceived and carefully constructed dishes on his highly original omakase menu.”
What's on the Michelin-starred menu?
The restaurant operates two dinner sittings per evening, serving a maximum of 12 people each.
Those arriving for the early session at 6.30pm can fully appreciate the sleek design of Moonrise. The dinning space, with its emerald green walls and high-chairs, faces an open kitchen whose glass walls offer gorgeous views of the Dubai skyline.
The refined atmosphere is only part of the story Haddad tells with Moonrise. “I am half French and half Syrian, countries that have rich history food,” he says. “Sure, I love fattoush and butter, but that's not what I am expressing here.
“The story I am telling here is one of Dubai, a city that welcomes all nationalities and cultures. So no matter where you are from, there is something here that will make you feel like home.”
And it all begins with a bang. The multi-course menu (11 dishes, at the time of this review) starts with Explosion, a foie gras-packed pani puri that's a roller coaster of flavours and textures.
The richness of the duck meat segues into the sweet moistness of the date syrup and pineapple chutney before the subtle heat of the saffron chilli oil kicks in.
Haddad says Explosion represents the cosmopolitan nature of Dubai in a bite. “It has all the culturally relevant ingredients and flavours,” he says. “And that's why it has Asian, Middle Eastern and European ingredients all in an Indian shell.”
Equally potent is the fattoush ceviche, a Peruvian take on the favourite Arabic salad. The cherry tomatoes and zaatar are coated with leche de tigre, a zingy citrus marinade popular in Peruvian cuisine. It also packs a punch with its mix of jalapeno, garlic and the briny saltiness of fish trimmings.
“Everyone who loves fattoush knows it's all about the sauce. When I was a kid I, would drink the leftover sauce,” Haddad says.
Up next is another decadent sauce, this time accompanying the charcoal khubz, Moonrise's signature bread with parts of its original dough dating back to the day of the restaurant's opening.
Made from silky Brittany butter and infused with brown miso, confit garlic and 32-month-old Comte cheese, its takes no prisoners when it comes to flavour.
The khoory kebab is an upscale spin of the black lime tikka from Haddad's favourite Dubai restaurant, Khoory Special Kebab. Where the former Al Mamzar venue used a marinade of onion juice, black lime and black pepper for its lamb kebab, Moonrise uses prime Wagyu short rib instead with a punchy celeriac-onion-black pepper puree.
While the Wagyu is melt-in-your-mouth awesome, it’s the richness of the sauce that steals the show.
It is an aspect Haddad is proud of: “I always view Moonrise as a place that serves sauces with a side of protein.”
From the three desert courses served, including a wonderful lemon jam, the best is the so-called Milk and Honey.
Sidr – a variety of honey with chocolate-caramel undertones – is drizzled over a light labneh sorbet that sits on a bed of finely chopped walnuts. On the side is an olive oil foam, which gives each bite an earthy depth.
It’s a brilliant fusion of innovation and tradition, aspects that make Moonrise one of the most exciting restaurants on the UAE's Michelin trail.
How to book
Dinner services start at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. The tasting menu is priced at Dh850 per person, with bookings and payments done in advance. Reservations are mandatory and can be made at www.moon-rise.xyz
This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant