From Uzbekistan to Vietnam, Portugal to Greece, The Pointe in Dubai serves cuisines from all over the world. Taste buds at the ready as we take you on a culinary tour…
The Restaurant: Ena
The Cuisine: Greek
A stylish slice of Greece
“I come from a family of foodies – my husband, my three kids and I travel a lot, and we always make a point of checking out the best restaurants,” says owner, Lena P. Maniatis, who was born in Greece and has been living in Dubai for 16 years. “When my kids left for university, I wanted to take on a new project, and here we are.” Lena connected with head chef Alexandros Pavlopoulos Sperxos over an intense, five-hour interview process.
“I wanted to go back to basics and represent this rustic cuisine in an authentic yet modern way, and Alex understands my vision.” The team had 18 months to search for ingredients, visiting Greece six or seven times to tour the small farms that would be their suppliers. Today, 90% of the produce used at Ena is Greek, which accounts for 120 ingredients, including the salt, oregano, honey and sesame, which are all exclusive to the venue.
It’s all in the ice
At the bar, you can have your glass instantly frosted thanks to the CO2 dispenser, which makes it perfectly chilled for your tipple of choice. “For the drinks menu, we took inspiration from 1920s New York and London – the offering is cutting edge,” says director of operations Darryl Downs. “Plus, we can cut you a crystal-clear ball of ice.”
A taste of home
The dishes at Ena are reminiscent of ya-ya’s (grandma’s) recipes. All the food is made in house, even down to the syrups used in the drinks. Plus, it’s all very clean, with minimal salt, and there’s very little waste – even the leftover tomato pulp is used to make a tomato jam or dried to dust for other dishes.
Feta, but not as you know it
A key ingredient used in a number of dishes is a fabulous feta cheese, which is sourced from Kalavrita, the city that chef Alex grew up in. Taste it in the spicy tirokafteri dip, the almond encrusted feta with pomegranate honey, and even in ice cream form.
Meat you’ll remember
So tender are the lamb shank and wagyu beef cheek dishes that they almost melt at the merest touch of a fork. Order either one with a side of seasonal wild greens, last seen growing on the side of a Greek mountain.
A worthy setting
Great attention has been paid to Ena’s interior, from the art and olive-tree inspired chandelier, to the hand-carved marble bar.
The Restaurant: Chuan
The Cuisine: Chinese
Chef to the stars
Vying for a share of the spotlight with the expertly prepared dishes at Chuan is the man directing their creation – chef Sun Yong He. As far back as 1964, Sun Yong He was cooking up refined fare for Chinese leaders including Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, an esteemed list of diners later added to by former US presidents Nixon, Clinton and George HW Bush. The royal seal of approval would follow, serving his feted food to the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II. Now it’s the turn of diners at The Pointe to add their names to the list, as the chefs at Chuan use the finest locally-sourced produce to carry out chef Sun’s celebrated culinary instruction.
Best of duck
Peking roast duck is a traditional dish that dates to the Ming Dynasty. Here it is served authentic style, with as much attention given to the crispy skin as to the meat. The two are wrapped together in a pancake, then often topped with sweet bean sauce and strips of spring onion and cucumber. A moreish treat.
The Restaurant: Barcelos
The Cuisine: Portuguese
Legend has it…
…that many moons ago in the Portuguese city of Barcelos, an innocent pilgrim was spared his death sentence after stating that the rooster the judge was enjoying for lunch would rise from the plate and crow three times as proof of the pilgrim’s innocence. It did, and while various versions of the story exist, the rooster is now woven into the fabric of the country’s culture as a national symbol. One story that may never be told, however, relates to the origin of the marinade recipe used to coat Barcelos’ tender chickens for a full 24 hours before they’re flame-grilled to perfection, served with warm Portuguese bread, and slathered in a sauce as spicy as your taste buds can handle.
The Restaurant: Mama Pho
The Cuisine: Vietnamese
Go with the Pho
The vibrant banana leaf wallpaper may lure you into the exotic Vietnamese eatery Mama pho but it’s the flavour-packed food that will make you stay. Dishes feature the five fundamental tastes at the core of Vietnamese cooking: spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet. If you need a nudge in the right direction, we advise you to go straight for the mama’s pho. “Pho soup is a popular street food in Vietnam,” explains head chef James Prajak. “It’s an everyday comfort food, and a meal in itself. For our Vietnamese pho, we simmer a selection of Asian spices in chicken broth for up to five hours. We then add the noodles and choice of chicken or beef with a touch of chili and lime, so it’s made fresh to order.”
Need to know
Head chef James Prajak, who has lived in the UAE for almost eight years, feels at home at Mama Pho. “It was my aim to bring a truly Asian feel to a restaurant where the food is very authentic.”
“You’ll also find Thai influences on our menu – something that’s perhaps best represented in the chilli prawn – freshwater tiger prawns with sugar snaps, peppercorn, mushrooms, onion and sweet basil leaves,” says James. “Our chilli paste is homemade and is spicy and sweet.” Other menu highlights include a wonderfully flavoured oven-baked ginger lotus sea bass.
The upstairs of Mama Pho comprises a fully-licensed bar, but there’s also a noteworthy selection of mocktails (the lychee melon slushy caught our attention).
This family-friendly space – think table and bench style seating – has a chilled-out vibe, with lounge-style music as your soundtrack.
The Restaurant: Kyo
The Cuisine: Japanese
Savour the moment
Kyo brings a taste of Japan to The Pointe, providing guests with an authentic glimpse into both the country’s culture and cuisine by combining exquisite materials and ingredients.
This stylish licensed restaurant boasts both indoor and outdoor seating, arranged in a social and contemporary design, and a top-floor lounge which offers a different vibe to the downstairs restaurant.
Menu staples include sushi rolls, sashimi, hamachi and more, with heavy emphasis placed on providing both great service and an ambience you can savour long after the plates are cleared.
The word from restaurant manager Sebastian Rosas…
Tell us about the different cooking styles…
“We take traditional Japanese recipes and add a touch of global flavours and techniques. The menu therefore lists the likes of ceviche, sashimi, melt-in-the-mouth black cod, and a decadent chocolate fondant for dessert.”
Describe the venue
“The venue is spread across two floors, offering unrestricted views of the sea and Atlantis, The Palm. We try very hard to create the right atmosphere, with every detail covered, from the lighting to the space between the tables and the sound system. One element is an open kitchen that allows guests to be immersed in the art of sushi making.”
What should we order on our first visit?
“Try the suzuki citrus guajillo – poached sea bass with shimeji mushroom soaked in a citric sauce, lightly spiced and decorated with orange tobiko and Japanese dry chilli. Or the hosomaki sweet water eel – a small roll packed with flavour. And you can’t go wrong with a steaming bowl of flavoursome ramen.”
The Restaurant: Al Safadi
The Cuisine: Lebanese
The local flavour
First time visitor to the Middle East? We zoom in on the dishes that comprise the traditional mezze at Al Safadi
Like baba ghanouj, this dish uses blended eggplant as a base. It’s then mixed with tahini, yoghurt, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.
A traditional Lebanese dish, hendbeh translates as ‘dandelions’, which are cooked, seasoned, and topped with fried onions.
A tangy dip made of red peppers, which are blended with onion, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice, then topped with walnuts.
A smoky eggplant dip, for which the eggplant is first charred before blended and mixed with pomegranate seeds, tomato and parsley.
The Restaurant: Palapa
The Cuisine: Mexican
Turn up the heat
With its fiery Mexican seafood dishes, fresh interiors and energetic atmosphere, Palapa is sure to bring a smile to your face. “I love the party vibe,” admits manager Karina Ramirez. “When you’re here, you feel joyful – it’s the combination of the food and the easy-going ambience.”
Karina recommends you try the classic ceviche (sea bass, tiger milk, avocado and sweet potato purée), followed by the short ribs tacos and nachos festin marino (nachos with prawns, squid, mussels, guacamole and sea sauce). To accompany that little lot, try the 50 shades of Mexico mocktail – a zingy mixture of passion fruit, lemongrass, lemon juice and vanilla. In the evenings, shoot the breeze on the upstairs terrace. “In the future, we hope to have a live band and Latin dancers,” adds Karina.
The Restaurant: Per Te
The Cuisine: Italian
Where Italy meets Arabia
Per Te is a name well known to local foodies, thanks to a reputation forged through two independent venues across Dubai. The story of its Italian menu, infused with
a hint of Arabic, stems from many of the restaurant’s regulars requesting Arabic twists to some of their favourite dishes. One of which, topaki pesto di pollo, is described by the chef below…
1. SALMONE CON SPINACI
The salmon is quickly fried to crisp the skin, then it’s oven baked and topped with a salsa of sun-dried tomatoes fresh tomatoes, onion, and pumpkin.
2. TOPAKI PESTO DI POLLO
You will not find this dish elsewhere in Dubai. It’s a fusion of traditional Arabic and Italian dishes, whereby the chicken is stuffed with a flavourful pesto risotto.
3. BURRATA CON POMODORINI
Our burrata is flown in from Italy and served with locally-grown tomatoes and a balsamic reduction to add a touch of sweetness.
4. COTOLETTA ALLA GRIGLIA
We use high quality Australian veal for this dish, which can be cooked to your liking – oven, grill or pan-fried.
The Restaurant: Chicago Meatpackers
The Cuisine: American
Sharpen your steak knife
Got the appetite for a sizzling 1.2kg tomahawk steak? For a no-frills steakhouse experience, Chicago Meatpackers has you covered. “We took away the white tablecloths and five-star prices and swapped them for waterfront views,” says John Ide, owner of the family-run restaurant, which is inspired by Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. “We have butchers in-house, so everything is fresh. We grind our own meat and the sauces are homemade,” adds managing director Sahil Anand. Choose from USDA-certified Angus beef from North America, cooked on a lava stone grill, hearty burgers, indulgent desserts and more. Original images of The Yards adorn the walls throughout, and downstairs a model train puffs its way around an elevated track. Upstairs is the lounge area, where a DJ plays on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons.
The Restaurant: Chalet Berezka
The Cuisine: Uzbek
This day-to-night concept – it’s open until 5am! – is split across two floors, with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Atlantis, The Palm and, in the near future, a spectacular fountain. On the ground floor you’ll find a diverse menu with seasonal ingredients, locally-sourced seafood and strong flavours that results in a sprinkle of Eastern European staples, with influences from the Mediterranean and Middle East. There are also classic dishes from Central Asia, such as traditional Uzbek osh, which further extends the culinary trip around the world. For diners keen to take their evening into the early hours, the first floor has a schedule of live entertainment.