Rhodes W1 opens its doors to the public

Gary Rhodes has opened a new restaurant in Dubai that offers British classics in a casual atmosphere.

The interior of Rhodes W1 Restaurant inside the Grovesnor house. Lee Hoagland / The National
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The Englishman’s new restaurant is a casual-dining concept that focuses on British classics.

“It’s 100 per cent British,” says Rhodes. “There will be classics and favourites. It’s a lively restaurant with good, loud music. You haven’t got to put on a collar and tie to come here. It’s about having a bit of fun.”

He adds that diners can expect the kind of food they’d get in any classic British restaurant, but he’s intent on “setting Rhodes W1 apart”.

Among the starters, you’ll find classics such as Irish stew broth, smoked haddock with Welsh rarebit and a braised-beef dish that Rhodes makes with beef rump, kidney and liver. For mains, options include Dover sole, roast cod, steak-and-kidney pudding and braised oxtails.

Rhodes says the dishes he has created “look simple but they take quite some time to prepare”. And there will be no shortcuts. To make the restaurant’s seemingly simple shepherd’s pie, for example, Rhodes says: “I’m slowly braising shoulders of lamb for about eight hours before I break the meat off the bone.”

It’s this attention to detail – he also makes his own ketchup and mayonnaise – that has earned Rhodes a place among the culinary elite. He had two Michelin-starred restaurants in London that he closed while they were at their peak.

“I like to go out on top,” he says. “That’s the way I want to do it.”

But when he closes one door, Rhodes is known for opening another – and he’s confident Rhodes W1 will be a success. He’s worked in the kitchen every day since it opened on September 20, but he’ll soon leave the restaurant in the capable hands of his head chef, Lee Adams, who has worked with Rhodes for eight years. That said, don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of Rhodes working in the open kitchen on any given night.

“I’m always hands-on,” he says, “I’m not one of these chefs who sticks his name above a door and walks away.”

Rhodes W1 is on the mezzanine level at Grosvenor House hotel. It’s open Monday to Saturday, from 7pm to 11.30pm and closed on Sundays. For reservations, call 04 399 8888