Gary Rhodes may not be the type of attention-seeking, publicity hungry celebrity chef we so often see adorning our screens these days, but he was one of the originals, and one of the nicest.
Nowadays, he lets his food do the talking, and his restaurant, Rhodes 2010, at Le Royal Meridien Resort in Dubai Marina, speaks very loudly indeed.
Glamorous in design, with chandeliers and beautifully crafted clear display cabinets holding more wine than Rhodes’ celeb chef predecessor, Keith Floyd, had in his own cellar, the restaurant is strikingly put together. The tables in particular are notably minimalistic in decoration, no flowers (despite what the picture above suggests), no salt and pepper shakers, just cutlery, glasses and a napkin, something not many other places seem to get right. With the amount of food you’re most likely going to be ordering, you’ll need all the space you can get.
The restaurant is dimly lit, but it’s light enough to be able to see what you’re eating. Personally I can’t stand restaurants with blinding, clinical lighting, so it works for me. Perhaps the one odd choice was that of the music. It was basically a Ministry of Sound compilation, which seemed an odd choice. Yes, clearly the idea is that the restaurant is modern, forward thinking and hip? Maybe, but I would have thought a bit of nice, laid back Sinatra, or whatever his modern equivalent is, would have been more appropriate for the food and experience of this nature. But then what do I know about music and ambience? I spend most of the time talking anyway so it didn’t really come into it.
From initial greeting, to final farewell, the staff are extremely polite, attentive (without being intrusive) and extremely knowledgeable. Each waiter knows exactly what to recommended when it comes to wine to compliment specific dishes, and accompanying sauces etc… these guys are well trained. It makes for a great experience. And a good tip for them. Everyone wins.
The ‘Sharing Plates’, or ‘Starters’ as I call them, are created for you and your table to, well, share. With my table of compatriots, there was little chance of that. They don’t share food apparently, and I’m glad, because the Seared Sirloin of Beef with Rocket Salad was formidable. Others at the table had Seared Scallops (which they practically started crying about because of how good they were), and the Warmed Smoked Salmon (ditto).
Once the Sharing Plates had been unshared, the waiter brought us out an amuse-bouche, compliments of the chef (they didn’t even know I was reviewing), which was a kind of frothy tomato soup in an espresso cup. It was white, not red. It was the best thing ever. Great touch.
Then it was time for the mains. Steak is the order of the day for the majority I would think, although one of our table put away the mixed grill with all the enthusiasm it deserved. Me however, I went for the 120+ Day Grain Fed USDA Prime Fillet, medium rare, accompanied by the Peppercorn Sauce. I’ve not had a steak like that in Dubai, or in my life. Maybe only once in some eye-wateringly expensive Parisian restaurant whose name escapes me, can I remember ever being so blown away by such a ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ piece of fillet. The sides, which you buy additionally to your mains, are equally impressive. These should definitely be ordered to share, and there were no arguments about that. We had the Welsh Rarebit Topped Champ Potatoes, Buttered Mixed Vegetables, Cauli, Mac’n’ Cheese (every bit as naughty as it sounds), and some Triple Cooked Chunky Chips. You run out of superlatives really, but nothing was left over, and I don’t consider myself a big eater as such, regardless of the Dubai influence on my waistline. It was phenomenal.
Not being a big dessert fan, I passed, although the Strawberry Shortcake and Sticky Toffee Pudding options got rave reviews around me.
You get what you pay for, I actually expected it to be more pricey than it was, but for about 400 AED per head you can get three courses and come out merry from a nice amount of elitist wine.
Overall, you’ll be hard pushed to really find fault with anything about Gary Rhodes’ Dubai establishment. The menu is balanced, well put together and attractively priced, you come away knowing you’ve had a stand-out meal, and you basically 100% intend to return. What more could you really want?
Definitely recommend this place for an intimate, family meal or to impress your girlfriend with how antiquated with refinement you are.
9 out of 10
Location: Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Al Sufouh road, Dubai
Phone: +971 4 316 5550
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