Some people travel the world for food adventures. In my case, it was a long drive from Sharjah, Al Nahda to Jumeirah, The Palms, West Crescent.
It’s my first food review, and I am excited to lunch out with a purpose, that is more than savouring the devouring taste of the Mediterranean at the 101 Dining Lounge and Bar at One&Only, The Palm.
I am greeted with the best in hospitality by Vanessa Vieillese, assistant guest services manager at the entrance lobby. She leads the way through a blend of Moorish and Andalusian architectural design with a contemporary Arabian chic interior.
Vanessa graciously asks me for a welcome drink and then guides me to a buggy waiting to ride us through the property dwelling in tranquility and away from the charged Dubai environment.
As I drive past, a sweeping panoramic view of the New Dubai skyline beyond, the striking 101 Dining Lounge and Bar with alfresco dining opens onto a fashionable overwater chill-out lounge with seaside tables and bar. It feels like I’m on a holiday!
With an energised vibe moving from day into night, this ultra-chic indoor/outdoor venue is situated adjacent to the marina, enabling guests’ entry by private boat or One&Only water taxi.
Stepping onto the pier that leads to the sea-side tables, a welcome smile from our attendee, Jerome ushers me to my table.
I am quickly given the menu – From tapas and fresh salads, to a dedicated seafood bar serving oysters, caviar, mussels and langoustines, I observe that 101 provides guests with a sophisticated island-feel atmosphere.
Accenting the experience is a resident DJ with music to complement both afternoon and evening for after dinner celebrations.
Jerome offers help in placing the order. I am a non-vegetarian and am open to suggestions from him, but neither do I want alcohol nor mushrooms in my dishes please.
With birds chirping around and gentle cool Dubai winter breeze for company, I am quickly served a selection of breads and smoked salmon with cream, a welcome gesture from the Chef.
I study the menu, and order from the salad bowl – the Mediterranean Tiger Prawns and Sauteed Baby Spinach for the appetizer.
In no time both the dishes are served. The salad comes in with fresh rocket lettuce, grilled tiger prawns, shaved parmesan and red pepper dressing that adds a zing to the grilled prawns. The cheese on the other hand helps neutralize the pungent flavour of the lettuce. A well thought of and balanced flavoulets you enjoy every fork-full of the salad.
The juicy Sauteed Baby Spinach comes with beef chorizo, glazed pine nuts and thin flakes of Manchego cheese.Not only does it look neat to eat, but every bite that chews on to it, fills the mouth with a desire to have more.
From the signature dishes I pick the Fish Soup with Saffron Aioli Sauce. It is served in style – Jerome brings with him a small tray laden with a corked glass bottle of hot soup (the vapours tell the tale), and two tiny white bowls: One with cheese flakes and the other with crisp, perfectly golden croutons.
Next comes in the main course. I select the “Josper” Charcoal BBQ – Beef Tenderloin Macaroni gratin with Parmesa and shallot confit, and Chicken Paellas.
I instantly take a great affinity for the Paellas. The sauce and cheese amount is just right and the chicken is so tender that I use just a spoon to take my share of rice with it and dig into the flesh with ease.
Not leaving far behind, the beef tenderloin is cooked to perfection – medium well, as I have asked for. The beef portion is placed majestically over the cylindrical macaroni baked with cheese and herbs. I realize that the chef indeed is careful and has put thought to each recipe when planning its flavours.
Dining at 101 is indeed an experience adding zest to Dubai’s culinary landscape, where traditional dishes are reinvented with modern inspiration.