Team shortlist17 Apr 2016 AT 05:44 PM

The Pitch: Nigel Lobo from The Eloquent Elephant

A bit of West meets East as the Taj Hotel hosts a very British-style pub
Team shortlist17 Apr 2016 AT 05:44 PM
The Eloquent Elephant
The Eloquent Elephant
Chef Nigel Lob
Chef Nigel Lob
The Eloquent Elephant's signature dish, elephant curry
The Eloquent Elephant's signature dish, elephant curry

The “local” has long been a favoured meeting spot in the UK, Antipodes and beyond. Indeed, it’s the only meeting spot for many. A new era has brought us gastro-pubs, packed with all things craft and vintage, a trend that has found its way to Dubai, which is a natural home for modern approaches to tried-and-trusted concepts. The Eloquent Elephant at Taj Dubai is an Indo-British variation on the theme.

Among the range of beverages, their kitchen produces sophisticated snacks as well as a surprisingly refined a la carte brunch on Fridays, in which you can order an actual “brekkie” and build your own burger. Chef Nigel Lobo gives us more reasons to visit.

The Eloquent Elephant is the kind of place you can stop by any time. You can catch up with friends, have a relaxed business meeting or watch the big game. We offer brunch on Fridays, quiz nights on Mondays, and steak nights on Wednesdays.

Nibbles to impress a group of friends include the chicken pandana with peanut sauce; heirloom tomatoes with burrata and salsa verde; the lamb liver pâté with Indian spices; and the confit duck nachos. These showcase a few of our international options.

For the mains, the slow-cooked beef cheek with sweet potato purée and honey-glazed parsnips is an absolute stunner. It takes 12 hours to cook and literally melts in your mouth. The honey-glazed parsnips are a perfect match.

A dessert crowd-pleaser is the not-so-eloquent sundae. It features mango purée, berry compote, meringue, strawberry ice cream and vanilla ice cream topped up with whipped cream.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some of the best. I trained at the three Michelin-starred La Vie in Germany under Thomas Buhner. I’ve worked at the two-star Miramar by Paco Perez, Compartir (by the chef de cuisines of El Bulli) in Spain, and under Ben Shewry at three-hatted Attica in Australia – which was in the top 25 restaurants in the world.

If I could serve anyone at the Eloquent Elephant, it would be my parents and my sister because they’re always on at me for not cooking at home. I’d serve them the soft shell crab with a mango and chilli emulsion; the pulled lamb with wild mushrooms and poached egg; and the tuna tartare with soya sesame dressing. This would be followed by beef cheeks, miso cod and grilled chicken. To end, I’d serve them the sticky toffee pudding and a chocolate fondant.

Our signature dish is the elephant curry. This is served either as a chicken or a lamb curry. It changes weekly and we do various preparations like achari murgh (pickled chicken curry), lamb korma or a lamb masala. It’s served with homemade saffron crisps, homemade carrot-and-raw-mango pickle and steamed rice. The fact that the Elephant Curry keeps changing means even if you visit us regularly and always feel like ordering curry when you come in, you won’t get the same dish on two separate occasions. We like to keep the experience fresh.

The Eloquent Elephant
Where: Taj Dubai, Business Bay
Contact: +9714 438 3100

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