There’s buffets, then there’s Burj Al Arab Buffets.
In fact, the word buffet doesn’t quite do the new Bab Al Yam justice. For the recently reopened all day dining restaurant located in the world’s most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab, offers some of the finest fare in the entire of Dubai and when the foods really that good who cares if it’s served to your table or not?
Bab Al Yam, the Burj Al Arab’s ‘casual’ eatery, and we use this term loosely, has had a bit of a makeover to both its interior and exterior as part of the hotel’s current upgrade. Located at the back of the hotel and boasting a breathtaking spacious al fresco terrace with plush shisha lounges as well as a bright and airy interior dining space, this restaurant and lounge makes for an ideal place to relax and feast on high-quality cuisine in one of the world’s most famous settings.
The restaurant as mentioned, features both buffet and a la carte dining, although even when dining at the buffet the attentive wait staff and lively chefs are more than happy to rotate all manner of delicious dishes at your table eager for you to try their creations and try you must. The food here really is exquisite.
Taking center stage is an impressive brick kitchen which gives diners a close-up view of Burj Al Arab’s award-winning chefs in action as they prepare tapas, succulent meats, wood-fired pizzas and fresh pasta dishes right before your very eyes.
The restaurant’s new look comes with a brand new menu, brainchild of Maxime Luvara, the Executive Chef at Burj Al Arab and Mohit Bhragava, Bab Al Yam’s Chef de Cuisine and focuses on fresh, seasonal produce, a combination of both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Signature dishes and heavily recommended include buttered tiger prawns with pickled lemon, Taggiasca olives and samphire and Datterino tomato bruschetta with marinated anchovies.
However, being foodies we couldn’t resist trying as many dishes (and courses) as we could physically manage. To start, we tried the freshly baked flatbreads, the mushroom version being particularly good. Next we were treated to a creamy crab bisque followed by a smoked duck salad. Bear in mind this is even before we’ve hit the buffet ourselves. Each dish is just about big enough to satisfy yet small enough not to overpower, it would be an awful waste to fill yourself up before the good stuff.
Dishes on offer include salads a plenty, from traditional Fatoush to mixed bean and Greek options. There are cold meats a plenty and a whole variety of freshly baked breads. The Spanish tapas station complete with some of the best meatballs we’ve ever tasted is something you won’t want to miss out on. Seafood is a plenty here and something that Bab Al Yam prides itself on such is the exceptional quality. From oysters to mussels, lobster to salmon, there’s just about every type of fresh fish you can imagine. Add a dash of tabasco and indulge!
Main courses range from quaint beef and onion pies to juicy ribeye which when accompanied with seasonal vegetables is a hearty, warming dish fit for a king.
You must, if you can manage, try some homemade pasta which the chef lovingly prepares to your exact requirements. My personal favourite and I’m not ashamed to admit that I tried many, was the truffle spaghetti. Buttery fresh strands of spaghetti are garnished with grated black truffle, rich in flavour and adding a unique and luxurious twist on a universal favourite. The wood-fired pizzas come with a variety of toppings, in fact you request it, the chef’s will make it, at the Burj Al Arab there are no limitations.
Desert is a course, that however full you feel from the sublime feast you’ll have gorged on, you cannot afford to miss and at around AED 550 per head you’ll want to make sure you don’t. There’s a chocolate fondue for those with a sweet tooth, a hit with both the smaller and slightly older guests alike. Team your warmed, melted chocolate with fresh strawberries and even marshmallows, if you ask rather nicely. The carrot cake is another treat worth mentioning, so good in fact, my dining companion had not one but two slices on top of his chocolate fondue!
All this eating is thirsty work and there’s a great choice of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic on offer.
For those not shy on splashing the cash the Burj Al Arab Bellini, a mouth-watering combination of Crème de Peche, White Peach Puree and Champagne or the Burj Royal, Champagne, Vanilla Vodka, Chambord and Fresh berries are as beautiful as they are delicious. Bab Al Yam also offers signature cocktails including the Red Lemonade which is the perfect accompaniment to watching the sun set over the Arabian Gulf from the terrace. A vodka based homemade lemonade infused with watermelon juice makes for a refreshing way to aid digestion. Of course, there are fresh juices galore before you head outside for a spot of after dinner shisha, relaxing against the backdrop of Palm Jumeirah in the distance.
Everything about Bab Al Yam contradicts stereotypical options of this traditionally ostentatious hotel. The design is pared back and minimal, a nod towards the future of this 7 star property perhaps. It feels more relaxed, less stuffy than you’d expect, an ideal setting for both intimate dinners and family gatherings. Let’s be clear however, although some of the gold may have gone, the standards are without a doubt true to the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Group core, the food is unashamedly excellent, the atmosphere is joyfully inviting and the service is without a doubt, some of the best you’ll receive such is their passion and dedication to both the hotel and the cuisine. This is true 7 star dining and worth every single dirham.
Click here to visit the website and make a reservation