Cuisines collide on your plate at top fusion restaurants
In an international hub like Dubai, it's no surprise that fusion cuisine is in high demand with restaurants mixing and matching cultures menus that are as individual as each establishment. These restaurants are excellent choices for those wanting to dip into the cultural melting pot that is Dubai.
A firm favourite in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Couqley aims to please both British and French tastes, thanks to its mash-up menu of everyone’s favourite dishes from either side of the Channel. It’s the third Couqley to open its doors, with two other restaurants in Beirut, and this one is hidden away beneath the Movenpick Hotel. Part cosy English tavern and half French bistro, diners can order steak et frites and onion soup, or opt for the homemade truffle and brie burgers. The dessert menu includes French dishes like crème brûlée and, obviously, French toast.
Tresind is a favourite by many in Dubai, having cultivated a following who will travel for its ‘modernist Indian cuisine’. Long heralded as some of the most innovative takes on the cuisine in the city, Tresind temporarily closed its doors before reopening in 2018. The new Tresind is lighter in decor, yet still as elegant, and offers a whole new menu that continues to push the envelope of fusion dining. Try unique dishes like the peanut butter medallion with mint chutney and tomato powder, or the Wagyu satay.
One of Dubai's better kept secrets, Nina is the perfect place for a romantic night out for two. Head to the One&Only Royal Mirage and follow the staircase down to a lush candlelit den, where you’ll find intimate conversation, and a rich Indian-European menu. Blending North Indian spices with European cooking techniques, Nina specialises in delicious buttery curries as well as freshly made melt-in-the-mouth chickpea pastries. One of the stand-out dishes on the menu, though, is the divine spiced duck breast that comes served with cinnamon polenta and caramelised apple puree – it has to be tasted to be believed.
You can't have a discussion about fusion food without paying tribute to Nobu, Dubai's master of gourmet hipster fusion. The local outpost of an international portfolio by Nobu Matsuhisa, the restaurant attracts high-profile crowds, so sitting back and watching all the glamorous people can be almost as engaging as the luxury Japanese-Peruvian menu. The seamless service team will whisk to your table where you can work your way through shareable plates of grilled langoustine with chilli shiso salsa, tacos (spicy wagyu with ponzu, anyone?), quinoa and lobster ceviche and, of course, Nobu’s signature yuzu miso black cod.
Dressed in gold from top-to-bottom, this upmarket restaurant celebrates two of the most prominent contributors to Dubai's contemporary dining scene – Emirati and Levantine cuisines. Both have a shared enthusiasm for hearty rice-based dishes, stuffed pastries and rich, slow-cooked meats. With Mediterranean influences, the salads refresh the palette ahead of generous helpings of saffron mouhalabiya, a popular traditional Lebanese milk pudding garnished with 24-carat gold flakes and Turkish-style cotton candy. You’ll want to order a second helping.
Dubai's love of Peruvian menus shows no sign of slowing down, with Al Habtoor City’s restaurant Zoco taking South American staples such as ceviche and charred steak and adding Mexican spices and herbs to them, to create a menu that's packed full of flavour. The popular ceviche still stars, but with the addition of a lime-spiked spicy tomato sauce, while the Baja-style tacos taste even better topped with generous spoonfuls of pumpkin seed and tomatillo guacamole.
Described as ‘casually gourmet’, Scape is the more laid back offering from Burj Al Arab, and it serves up Californian fusion cuisine dishes, which springs from various cuisines such as the Latin American, Mediterranean and Asian – the menu includes tacos, burrata salad, and wagyu sliders. The restaurant can be found on the newly-built sea-level terrace, right at the foot of the glamorous hotel, meaning the option of alfresco dining comes with to-die-for views over the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
From its imposing entrance to the opulent gold interior, Asia Asia is decidedly grand. Its prime location at Pier 7 and stunning views out over the Marina, make it hard to decide whether to rave about the visually arresting decor insider, or the sparkling cityscape vistas from the terrace. With everything from sushi to aromatic crispy duck, this Pan-Asian menu takes you on a journey of the senses, while the Friday brunch and Sushi Saturday offer make the weekend a promising time to pay it a visit.