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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 8 March 2021

Chefs behind Ruya, Folly, Boca and Reif Kushiyaki come together to serve one-off menus

The chef-led dinners on February 2 and 3 are part of the Best of Dubai dining series

Just as two heads are often better than one when it comes to elevating an idea, a team of veteran chefs can boost a diner’s experience when they put their cooking skills together. Foodies will have a chance to experience two such culinary collaborations on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 2 and 3, as part of the Best of Dubai dining series.

This has been conceptualised by cookbook author Flavel Monteiro, and the name is a reference to his eponymous book, which featured 75 recipes by 34 UAE chefs.

'The Best of Dubai'

“Following the launch of The Best of Dubai, one of the main initiatives was to get the featured chefs cooking together, doing meals that involve four hands, six hands or more at their restaurants, and at the same time involving suppliers, distributors and producers, with priority given to local suppliers,” explains Monteiro. “It is a culinary experience, a performance that pushes the boundaries by our best home-grown chefs.”

On February 2, chef Colin Clague of Ruya, and culinary partners Nick Alvis and Scott Price of folly by Nick & Scott, will curate a six-course paired menu that incorporates signature dishes from their decade in Dubai. This will be served from 7pm at folly in Souk Madinat, and includes dishes the trio created at Q’bara, Zuma and Table 9, as well as those from their current kitchens.

“It’s always great to see how other chefs treat ingredients and we are looking forward to creating a unique evening for our guests,” says chef Price, who believes maintaining consistency while constantly trying to improve the dining experience is at once the most important and most challenging aspect of the dining scene in Dubai.

A second six-course menu is to be had on February 3, courtesy of chef Matthijs Stinnissen of Boca and chef Reif Othman of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki. The duo will meld their European and Asian sensibilities to create sharing-style dishes at Boca in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from 7.30pm.

Boca is located at Gate Village 6 in DIFC
Boca is located at Gate Village 6 in DIFC

The distinctiveness of each dish is the highlight of both meals. Treating their favourite ingredients with cooking techniques perfected over time, the chefs create powerful flavour profiles unique to their culinary repertoire and, as such, are impossible to recreate or find elsewhere.

Quail, scallops and baklava at folly

The meal at Folly begins with three cold starters: fava beans, grilled bruschetta, compressed cucumber and feta; slow-roasted baby beetroot, goat’s cheese and a yoghurt biscuit crumb (both from Ruya); and butterhead lettuce, mustard and sour cream (from folly by Nick & Scott).

This is followed by two hot starters: from Q’bara comes grilled quail wrapped in vine leaf, pistachio labneh and honey; followed by a folly special: crispy hen’s egg, pancetta and maple syrup.

Grilling is one of my favourite techniques. If done right, it really enhances the dish

Colin Clague, chef, Ruya Dubai

Two courses each of seafood and meat are up next. From Table 9 comes scallops, hoisin and toasted cashew nuts, while the chefs have also brought back prawn briouats with brik pastry and harissa from Q’bara. A saddle of lamb with whipped pine nuts and salsa (from folly) and chef Clague’s Zuma-era marinated duck breast, grilled over charcoal, with a honey sancho glaze, conclude the mains.

“Grilling is one of my favourite techniques as I love the taste of the smoke from the charcoal," says Clague. "If it’s done right, it really enhances the dish."

Meanwhile, Price says most of what he does is either started or finished in a hot pan "as the caramelisation of the meat really adds flavour. I'm quite traditional and like chefs to cook items to order in a hot pan, and use their skill and understanding of the foods to cook it correctly."

A “pre-dessert” course of baklava sets the scene for three desserts: chocolate, root ginger and milk; blood orange cheesecake; and rhubarb and custard.

Over at Boca, chefs Stinnissen and Othman have fashioned their own tantalising flavour combinations. This six-course menu begins with a taste of Spain, in the form of bread served with a home-made pan con eggplant aioli dip, followed by ice-packed Spanish manzanilla olives stuffed with local lemon, calamansi, orange zest and fresh herbs.

Meatroot, Wagyu and octopus at Boca

The three starters are a mix of Asian and European ingredients, and include delicacies such as Japanese wafu (soy-vinegar-mirin) dressing, fermented tea, edible flowers and pickled fruit. These are incorporated in the fatty tuna sashimi with lime wafu and crispy nori; dry aged “meatroot” with kombucha glaze, avocado, fermented cherry and pickled watermelon; and smoked mackerel and marigold with organic coffee and ginger jus, brown miso and crispy rice.

“I am in love with great quality seafood and simple root vegetables. They don't need many enhancements, but when we do add techniques such as wood-smoking, fermenting, ageing, pickling and such, it takes the product to a whole different level," says Stinnissen. "For example, the smoked mackerel with fermented soybean, infused coffee passion fruit and ginger jus is exploding with flavours."

The two mains also bring the best of the East and West together in the form of a Kagoshima Wagyu rice pot with Wagyu broth; and a dish of grilled octopus served with confit potato, Jerusalem artichoke puree, black radish and caviar.

Finally, a dessert of matcha fondant will be served with a scoop of ice cream that marries the flavours of caramel and miso.

The six-course paired menu by chefs Colin Clague, Scott Price and Nick Alvis will be served on Tuesday, February 2 at folly by Nick & Scott from 7pm, for Dh650. Reservations can be made by calling 04 430 8535.

The six-course menu by chefs Matthijs Stinnissen and Reif Othman will be served on Wednesday, February 3 at Boca, DIFC, from 7.30pm, for Dh345 for food only. Reservations can be made by contacting 04 323 1833 and hola@boca.ae.

Updated: January 26, 2021 12:28 PM

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