Culinary director at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sebastian Nohse, shares his favourite places to eat around the world
Tom’s Kitchen, London
From the very beginning, when Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens opened this venue back in 2006, it was a trendsetting spot, and an inspiration to chefs and restaurateurs around the world. Simplicity is the order of the day in this townhouse on the site of a former pub; it’s a modern British brasserie with amazing comfort food by a chef with a vision. Relaxed and informal, it’s open from breakfast to dinner, seven days a week, and Aikens uses the very best seasonal and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
Favourite dish: The beetroot salad
Alinea is definitely not a conventional restaurant, which figures, because chef Grant Achatz is not a conventional chef. This place is more than just a restaurant; it’s a form of entertainment. Achatz’s dishes are highly creative, provocative and constantly pushing the boundaries of the traditional dining experience. I honestly think that his ability to blend art and food in a fun and theatrical way is the very definition of what progressive dining should be, and it’s no wonder the place boasts three Michelin stars and a steady slew of other accolades. Expect sensory-evoking, dynamic, themed American menus – and a night to remember.
Favourite dish: The famous table dessert
Arzak, San Sebastian
This hilltop restaurant in San Sebastián has been in the Arzak family for generations and today chef Juan Mari oversees things, with his daughter Elena heavily involved. Serving up elegant New Basque cuisine in a creative, innovative, gastronomic way, the molecular cooking does not compromise on flavour or technique – something that I feel is very rare nowadays within molecular cuisine. With several different dining spaces, including a light-filled downstairs room, the atmosphere throughout is formal yet relaxed, and the welcome is always warm. There’s also an enormous grape cellar boasting over 100,000 bottles so you can always find the perfect pairing to accompany your feast from this Spanish cooking legend.
Favourite dish: The charcoal parsnips
Located in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel, the famed Cantonese group’s inaugural American opening could not be better placed. Gorgeous interiors await in a shadowy lair of dining alcoves, seductively lit by Chinese lanterns and filled with an abundance of rich walnut, teak latticed screens and turquoise accents that hint at the Miami coastline. From the day it opened, this place was an instant hit thanks to its apparently effortless blending of authentic Chinese food with the city’s own vibe. Diners can soak up the local culture through the use of locally sourced ingredients – something that’s reflected in the incredibly fresh taste – while tucking into the modern Cantonese cuisine Hakkasan is famous for.
Favourite dish: The duck salad
Play Restaurant & Lounge, Dubai
From a great ambience to flawless food, one of the best meals I’ve had recently in Dubai was at Play. Headed up by chef Reif Othman, formerly of Zuma Dubai, the restaurant presents high-quality cuisine in truly unique ways, always thinking outside the box. Othman’s dishes bring out all kinds of flavours and stimulate each of the senses. The location, inside The H hotel at number one Sheikh Zayed Road, is fantastic – the views are spectacular and there’s a real no-expense-spared vibe to the design. The food, the real star of the show, is a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean, with superlative ingredients that are beautifully cooked and imaginatively plated. Definitely a must-dine in Dubai.
Favourite dish: The risotto , served in a Parmesan wheel