Those familiar with Heston Blumenthal will undoubtedly have an inkling of what’s in store in the new Dubai restaurant. Those who aren’t, read on… The eccentric British chef-turned-TV personality is best known for his wild, wonderful (and sometimes questionable) flavour combinations, primarily inspired by British history and his award-winning restaurants in the UK. The most famous is Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a concept driven by occasion, flair and wowing guests, taking its inspiration from the feasts of yore and gastronomic pioneers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai takes its food from the original London concept but gives it a sprinkle of Middle East glamour to elevate the experience. Dubaians can try the classics like Meat Fruit, Tipsy Cake and the theatrical ice cream machine, with a handful of new menu additions unique to the emirate. This is a theatrical and experiential occasion, set against the backdrop of Dubai’s most experiential and theatrical hotel, and the result is truly mesmerising and wonderful.
While Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London is bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows, Dubai’s version has taken a different turn – all black, gold, avant garden and seductive. Guests shoot up from Atlantis The Royal‘s dazzling lobby in a Willy Wonka-style glass elevator and enter through a discreet automatic door, which takes you into a small dark room, before finally giving way to the restaurant. Once inside the dimly lit dining room, the space seems to endlessly unfold, and a thick, seductive atmosphere envelops guests. Elegant nods to Tudor Britain are found throughout, like rose motifs, rosewood tables and leather details, but the most impressive touch is the giant mechanical pineapple clock. Showcasing Blumenthal’s decadence and eccentricity, the clock periodically turns the sizzling pineapples roasting on a spit in the kitchen.
Seductive, elegant, mysterious, decadent, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai is the spot for power business dinners, sultry date nights and big celebrations, and as a result, the crowd is extremely well-heeled. The staff is impeccably dressed, too, and a delight to interact with, thanks to their brand knowledge, passion and attentiveness.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai takes guests on a culinary journey through British history, from medieval to Victorian times. Those familiar with the brand – and Heston Blumenthal as a chef – will recognise old favourites, such as the Meat Fruit (AED140), a dish that helped shape Blumenthal’s career. Inspired by the 13th century, it features a rich chicken liver parfait cleverly disguised in brilliantly hued mandarin jelly and served with crispy toast – providing a fun, flamboyant and flavourful. It pairs perfectly with sherried scallops (AED220), dating back to 1965, with plump, juicy scallops in a deliciously umami broth with shiitake mushrooms.
What’s delightful about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai is its simplicity among the madness. The menu is a breeze to read and understand, simply split into ‘starters, mains, sides and desserts,’ making it a breeze to navigate dining and sharing. Mains are the star of the show, heavily focused on meat and fish (there’s one vegetarian option) and including the most indulgent cuts and fillets. Sampling both, we opt for the roast halibut and green sauce (AED285), with a perfectly crispy skin and stack of crispy, buttery potatoes Blumenthal’s signature complex green liquor of green peppers, green chilis, green coffee, eucalyptus, parsley and garlic butter. We opt for decadent on decadent, and pair it with the tender, perfectly pink wagyu beef fillet (AED450). For lovers of comfort food, sides are just as exciting as the mains, and we indulge in buttery braised cabbage and triple-cooked chips cooked to utter perfection.
Utterly full, content, and ready for bed – largely thanks to the excellent wine list – we brush away the dessert menu. That is, before the staff enlighten us to what’s on offer – something we are most grateful for. Soon the tipsy cake (AED105) arrives, the restaurant’s signature and an ode to a time when pineapples signified wealth and status. The pineapple is roasted for four hours and continuously bathed in caramel, served with a warm, buttery and deliciously light brioche pudding. Blumenthal is a chef known for his theatrics, and this is best embodied in the ice cream (AED100). Out comes a slightly scary-looking contraption, where, while regaling guests with the story of Agnes Marshall (the ice cream entrepreneur of Victorian England), turns cream into silky ice cream with the help of liquid nitrogen. A topping of popping candy, and you’re truly ready to roll into bed.
While many Dubai restaurant openings can bring the same style fair and similar interiors, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai is unique, plugging the gap for a theatrical, creative, historical, sumptuous and fine dining restaurant worthy of a Michelin star (a star it picked up in the 2023 Dubai Michelin Guide). This is culinary mastery at its finest, from the seductive setting and polished staff to the storybook-style menu, both delighting, satisfying and educating guests along the way. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Dubai is a triumph and has, arguably, upstaged its London sister restaurant while finally modernising the 12-year-old restaurant concept.