When it comes to food, nothing quite says opulence like a garnishing of gold.
With the UAE being home to some truly exquisite fine-dining establishments, gilded dishes and drinks form a common sight on menus.
It is a bit surprising, especially since the glittering material doesn’t offer anything in terms of taste. Edible gold, which is usually 23- to 24-karat, and served crushed as a powder for garnishing or pounded into a fine sheet, is flavourless.
That has done little to slow its demand, with a number of restaurants launching new dishes or limited-edition items for that extra wow factor.
Thinking of getting a taste of opulence? Check out these UAE dishes that are, well, worth their weight in gold.
The dishes can be seen in the gallery above.
22-karat gold O'vada pao from O’Pao
You can now elevate your pao with a touch of gold at O'Pao. The Indian outlet in Karama, Dubai, is now serving 22-karat gold O'vada pao sliders, priced at Dh99 – a jump from the majority of the eatery's Dh10 to Dh20 menu options.
The pao is served in a carved wooden box, with a side of theatre by way of liquid nitrogen, along with a portion of sweet potato fries and mint lemonade.
The vegetarian vada pao is filled with cheese and French truffle butter and topped with mint mayonnaise. The vada, a seasoned potato dumpling, is then wrapped in 22-karat gold leaf.
24-karat gold burrata from Marea Dubai
The DIFC haunt is the latest to launch a glittering offering, and there really is something about a golden burrata that screams Dubai.
The newly launched dish comprises handmade burrata flown in from southern Italy, coated with 24-karat gold leaf and accompanied by fresh tomatoes, Taggiasca olive oil and salsa verde, all for Dh220.
Glittering dim sum from Hakkasan Abu Dhabi
Hakkasan has long been known as a king of luxury Cantonese food. Its Abu Dhabi branch, located at Emirates Palace, serves up a gold leaf har gau as part of its supreme dim sum platter, priced at Dh135.
Earlier this year, the Dubai branch, located at Atlantis, The Palm also launched a limited-edition gold-coated duck, in celebration of the Chinese Golden Week. The duck is no longer available, but it’s well worth keeping an eye out to see whether the dish, part of a three-course meal priced at Dh418 per person, will make a reappearance.
Armani Golden Cappuccino from Armani Hotel Dubai
The hotel’s gilded drink, available at Armani/Lounge, is made from Arabic beans and 23-karat gold. The “luxury in a cup”, as they call it, goes for Dh80.
Gold striploin steak from Doors Freestyle Grill
The steakhouse has something for guests who want to “dine like royalty” – a succulent striploin steak coated in a fine sheet of gold. The extravagant dish is yours to carve up for Dh786. The restaurant can also add gold on to other dishes upon request.
Black Diamond sundae from Scoopi Cafe
The cafe located on Jumeirah Beach Road offers what may well be the UAE’s most extravagant dessert. The Black Diamond sundae is made with vanilla bean ice cream from Madagascar, saffron from Iran, rare black truffles from Italy and 23-karat gold edible flakes and powder, all served in a Versace bowl with a Versace spoon – which you get to keep. It’s little wonder this ostentatious dish is priced at Dh3,000.
Gold offerings from Emirates Palace
Edible gold seems to be something of a theme at this luxury hotel in the capital. Le Cafe, within the hotel, is known for its gold-topped chocolates and ice cream cones, while the Emirates Palace cappuccino (Dh69) also has a sprinkling of 23-karat gold flakes.
Sticky date pudding from Ce La Vi Dubai
The luxurious Singaporean restaurant that opened on level 54 of the Address Sky View hotel earlier this year has a number of tempting options, including the black truffle sushi rice risotto and roasted black cod. Round off your meal with their sticky date pudding (Dh65), made with medjool dates, candied walnuts, brown butter ice cream and hot toffee sauce. And a sprinkling of gold, of course.
Everything at 24 Karat Dubai
Those looking to elevate their food can head down to 24 Karat Dubai, which offers diners the chance to have gold sprinkled on any of their dishes. Each dish comes with two price tags, one for the normal version and one for the gold version.
A strawberry tart from Shimmers
Those looking for a luxe sweet treat can head over to the Mediterranean restaurant in Jumeirah Mina A'Salam. The strawberry tart there comes with orange blossom cream, a Modena balsamic vinegar reduction and a touch of gold. It is priced at Dh64.