There’s a newcomer in town and it’s a good one.
Le Royal Meridien is one of the more established hotels in Dubai but just because its older doesn’t mean it has taken its finger off the pulse, quite the contrary. The hotel is confirming it’s place on the map and reminding us once again of why it’s one of the most loved luxury hotels in the region.
New addition Zengo, joins favourites Maya and Geales at the resort and promises to be one of the hottest new restaurants and bars on the nightlife scene.
Zengo is as you might have guessed is a fabulous Japanese restaurant translating to mean ‘give and take’. The team at Zengo prefer to describe it as ‘a collaboration between chefs and cuisines’ and offer discerning diners a blend of recreated Asian styles and flavours designed for sharing.
It’s a little tricky to find unless you know where you are going, tucked away behind and above Geale’s restaurant. Directed through a huge door and up a glossy black stair case, this place exudes glamour from the offset. The vibrant interior decor is stunning, taking its inspiration from nature, it manages to fuse together traditional and contemporary design creating a wonderfully relaxed setting. The restaurant boasts three bar areas, so make sure you specify when making a reservation. Each area has its own unique theme; mist, fire and smoke, with each representing a signature drink on the menu. We’re not sure this really translated enough to make it obvious but the perfectly coiffed staff are more than happy to explain it to you. The centrally positioned Mist bar is some ten metres long and draws your eye upon entering the venue, either via elevator or stairs. It offers a perfect spot to people watch whilst indulging in some pre dinner drinks. Here, the expert bar mixologists make full use of the Articube – the latest in bar technology, a machine which allows drinks to be served at -30 in a matter of seconds. It’s great fun to watch the bartender carving the ice-all, a true skill.
The entire drinks menu at Zengo is full of innovative approaches to classic cocktails, each distinctive and unique in their own right. There is also an impressive selection of Latin wines and Japanese sakes.
The Smoke Bar is slightly more intimate, with a striking sunken fireplace and cigar humidor, it’s no wonder this area’s signature drink is called The Old Godfather.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Zengo, and the reason I predict this will be jam-packed to the perfectly decorated ceilings in a couple of months, is the extensive outside terrace. Lounge seating lines the deck offering spectacular views over the gardens and if you look really, really hard, the sea. It’s quite obviously the perfect spot for settling in for the evening , relaxing and enjoying the chilled out sounds of the resident DJ. The Fire bar finishes the venue perfectly, inclusive of a flammable bar counter which can be lit up to complement the bartenders flaring with fire. One to get the cameras out for!
We haven’t yet mentioned the food, whilst this venue is a great spot for chilled out cocktails, the food here is also impeccable. Born out of a collaboration between world-renowned celebrity chefs Richard Sandoval and Akmal Anuar, Zengo Dubai is the fifth venue to open and the first one outside the US. The menu is contemporary Asisan with an international touch. Richard Sanoval not only brouhht neighbouring Maya to Le Royal Meridien (and Dubai) but also neighbouring Toro Toro at sister hotel, Grosvenor House. The ingredients are interesting to say the least and old-fashioned dishes are re-interpreted and given a Zengo twist. Central to the menu here are hot and cold appetizers, sushi, cerviche, mains and glorious homemade deserts. exquisite noodle-cut cuttlefish sits alongside chunky tempura prawns, the menu is diverse and grown-up. The live cooking counters are fantastic and the impressive Suviche Counter, an imposing live cooking station serving an interpretation of ceviche, sushi, sashimi and seafood is great fun. The fresh maki rolls torched with foie gras slivers and topped with mango are definitely a favourite. The Robata Grill is another live cooking station highlight, as the Robata chef grills cuts over a white-hot charcoal imported from Japan. The Irish oysters are a great option here. In fact there is so much going on and so much to choose from it can become a little overwhelming. It’s definitely not a menu for the fussy eater but if you want to try sophisticated cuisine in an equally as sophisticated venue then Zengo is the place to go.
It’s so cool, so new that you almost feel it’s a little ahead of its time, the fact that the restaurant was near empty is perhaps testament to that. Enjoy it, I doubt you’ll be able to get a reservation for long.
For reservations please call +971 4 316 5550