Nestled in the heart of DIFC this hole in the wall style hangout brings something a little edgier to the glitterati stylings of the financial sector. Oozing the very essence of TriBeCa in all the best ways possible. With bathrooms clad in shirtless, godly, tattooed and bearded men (the ladies at least) and moody low lighting that makes everyone look good Dusty’s is making waves.
The restaurant pretty small by Dubai standards and when we arrived my first thought was, how on earth do they hold a brunch here? – I have heard it’s brilliant and if you haven’t been already I would suggest booking yourself a table.
We scooted to our table by the window, squeezed between that and a long high table full of DIFC types already winding down after a long day, and settled into our seats. Soon after Daniel magically appeared at our side – gliding effortlessly between the packed tables – and drew our attention away from the menus we had been perusing. He was bubbly and knowledgable and by the end of the night had spoilt us rotten with delicious food and cocktails; much like the other members of staff working that night Daniel was easy to speak to, knowledgable and instantly made you feel at home.
We started off with three mouthwatering starters, the beef taco, the lobster taco and a plate of the chicken spring rolls, all on the recommendation of our server. The tacos were other worldly, packed with flavours and perfectly stuffed into housemade shells. The lobster was perfectly cooked and with the burst of freshness from the mango it made for the perfect light start while the beef tacos were juicy, oozing with flavour and I just couldn’t get enough.
If you’ve ever seen Ratatouille then now is the time to cast your mind back to when Remy talks about flavours and the symphonies of mixing two together. That is exactly what each bite of the chicken spring rolls was like, a perfect symphony of flavours rivalling anything the greats could have written.
Between finishing up the starters and deciding on a main we were served cocktails, we had left Daniel and the bartenders in charge of what they would be and waited in great anticipation.
It didn’t take long for two glasses to turn up at our table, one looking like a smoothie and the other like a vodka tonic, but they were so much more. The smoothie-esque one was actually a Razmataz, a gin based cocktail with passionfruit, basil and pineapple and the other, a Dustynation, another gin based cocktail with elderflower and white grapes. Each cocktail was as refreshing and wonderfully put together as the other – the Dusty’s bartenders as skilled and dangerous, these are so good they are lethal, drink with caution.
As our mains arrived I was blown away by the beautiful plating, my gnocchi was simple yet beautiful while my friend’s salmon looked stunning, then there was the black cod – a must try recommendation from Daniel who insisted we order it to share – simply plated but absolute beautiful. The aromas themselves were enough to set your mouth watering.
Now while all of the food was delicious I want to just concentrate on the cod. I have never had black cod before – I’ve had cod, but it’s never been black – so this dish was a game changer for me; just thinking about it now has got me craving. The fillet is marinated in miso and then caramelised to perfection, each bite is a taste explosion of just enough sweetness and then the light, almost creaminess of the cod contrasts so perfectly it was like nothing I had ever tried. Served simply with a chilli mango salsa this plate is more than enough to leave you satisfied and craving a trip to the tropics, it’s fresh and light but oh so filling.
By the time we had yumed and ahhed our way through the meal we were pretty full and the idea of dessert wasn’t even on our radar, but we were tempted and goaded before finally agreeing to put our choice into Daniels knowledgable hands and let him choose.
Suddenly two plates appear, each one a sweet tooth’s heaven. We had received the French toast and the chocolate fondant, each served with a small scoop of ice cream and an almond wafer. As we dove in opinions were divided; while I fell for the French toast my friend was head over heals for the fondant – which suited us. Both desserts were perfectly balanced, neither was cloyingly sweet nor was the chocolate too bitter or the toast too dry, but we still couldn’t finish them. We were defeated.
In a last ditch effort to tempt us further Daniel insisted on one last cocktail, and before we knew it the hashtagme# turned up at our table, sprinkled with chocolate and looking divinely tempting. What’s in it? Khalua, Bailey’s, Frangelico, coconut puree, chocolate bitters and cream, or in short, heaven. It was creamy, chocolatey and just all the right things. Forget dessert all together, this is what you need on your table.
Now while Dusty’s may not fit the standard DIFC mould it’s not to say that the prices aren’t what you’d expect from the area. It’s a fairly pricey menu that will set you back at least a few hundred for dinner, but that being said they have regular happy hours, a delicious business lunch and of course their airline brunch which, as I said before, looks awesome. So if you’re looking for something that looks a lot like a hidden gem then Dusty’s is your place.
This is a sponsored post. I was compensated, but all opinions are my own.