It’s not often that you find yourself in a fine dining restaurant being recommended shepherd’s pie, but Rhodes W1 in Dubai Marina’s Grosvenor House Hotel does things differently…
For a start, there’s fake grass and butterflies on some of the walls. The whiter than white décor is dressed up with pops of lemon yellow and bright green, making it look somewhere between a Georgian sunroom and a bijou garden party. It works. Bright inside, looking onto the sparkling low lights of the terrace and Dubai Marina, we were immediately struck with the urge to Instagram.
Surprisingly for a Thursday evening, it wasn’t busy. We reasoned that there must be something lacking – the food, maybe? The service? But both were impeccable. Our charming waiter knew the menu inside out, and reeled off a list of their most popular dishes. The shepherd’s pie, he told us, is famous. Homemade HP sauce adds some pizazz to the otherwise simple dish, which gives away the cooking style for which Gary Rhodes is known. The restaurateur and chef is passionate about British cuisine, and he’s all about doing the basics extremely well.
The menu has recently changed, adding influences from Gary’s travels around the world to quintessentially British dishes. We ordered a plethora of starters to share, with the likes of chilled scallops, beetroot and chicory salad, and fois gras. Our favourite of the lot, in fact our favourite of the whole meal, was the tuna tartar. Spicy, sharp and smooth all at the same time.
For the main event, we recommend you try the pan-fried seabass, which is served with shrimps, lentils and tomatoes. The char-grilled ‘1855’ fillet is also delicious, and comes with truffle (the mushroom of the moment) and macaroni cheese – it sounds like an odd combination, but the rich flavours complement each other well.
Desserts are school dinners reinvented for the discerning diner. Rasberry Souffle is served with clotted cream and a delicious hot raspberry sauce, poured straight into the fluffy centre. The bread and butter pudding looks nothing like you’d expect – perfectly sliced rectangles of thick bread are delicately placed in the centre of a saucepan smothered in sugary sauce. The sweet selection definitely isn’t for those who prefer light portions, but they taste incredible.
Most of the time, hidden gems are in awkward locations, far removed from the buzz of the city. Rhodes W1 has all the markings of a private hideaway, while making it seriously convenient to continue your evening in some of Dubai Marinas hotspots. With such a stunning venue and a new-improved menu, we have a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot more from this place.