If you work in DIFC, and even if you don’t, grabbing an after work bite never felt so good.
Dusty’s, the brainchild and namesake of owner Dusty Tourani, has been causing quite a stir in Dubai’s slick Financial District since its inception in 2015 thanks to its dynamic approach to after-work drinking and dining. Quite possibly our favourite subject. Ever.
Maybe it’s the notoriously chilled out vibe, the retro R&B beats or the straight-up comfort food that it offers in droves or maybe, just maybe it is the impressive cocktail list, we don’t quite know, but we do know that after our visit last week we have quite the soft spot for Dusty’s.
You might be surprised to learn that Dusty himself is in fact a young serial entrepreneur and wanted his DIFC hotspot to reflect the various places that he has lived in around the globe to be reflected in the venue itself and counting Dubai, Singapore, India and the US as home, it’s quite the combination, the decor could easily lend itself to any inner city hangout of the cool kids.
Popping along on a busy Thursday evening I caught the well-healed after-work crowd of DIFC in full swing. You won’t miss Dusty’s, located in Al Fattan House and practically shouting at passers by to pop on inside with pumping music, you’re promptly transported away from the shiny neutrals of the surroundings to a dimly lit watering hole of the thirsty professionals from the area. It’s barely 8pm and the music is thumping, not so loud as to be a nuisance to your conversations but just loud enough to get your toes tapping and your eyes scanning the impressive drinks list within the first five minutes. Dusty’s is a place where mutual agreement seems to fill the air; Positive vibes only.
You feel as if you’ve stumbled across some sort of secret retreat, it doesn’t quite fit in with the corporate contrast of DIFC yet it is exactly what the area needed, perfectly reflecting the worldwide cities of London and New York where after work entertaining is practically written into your employment contract.
Diners sit amongst rowdy revellers each dedicated to the cause of letting their hair down after a long week at work. If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic meal then this may not be for you, especially on a Thursday but if you’re looking for a fun, alternative night to the hundreds of carbon-copy restaurants in the city, then you’re come to the right place. There’s even a beautiful outdoor terrace that is the ideal hiding spot for when the temperature cools, offering fantastic views out across neighbouring DIFC, framed by lush palm trees and tranquil water features.
The menu itself is inspired by Dusty’s journeys all over the world and the home cooked food concept is completely unique for the area. Not only offering dinner, Dusty’s serves up a mean breakfast and is a great place to enjoy a stolen hour over their reasonably priced Business Lunch. The menu evolves with the setting sun and dishes start to become a little more eloquent, yet every bit as hearty.
‘Small Bites’ are not small so bear this in mind when ordering your starters. We arrived hungry and we were glad we did, with the attentive staff insisting that we try a selection of signature dishes on the menu, of which there were plenty!
We began our culinary journey around Dusty’s imagination with the Lobster Tacos. Several medium sized tacos were crammed full with delectable lobster, mango, red onion, avocado and coriander. We accompanied these with Wagyu Bites which translate to three beef burger sliders topped off with tangy tomato relish.The Rock Shrimp Tempura is a personal favourite and served with wasabi mayonnaise and a chilli dip. There’s also some fantastic greenery on offer such as the mixed Quinoa salad for those that pay a little more attention to their waistline.
Amidst a delicious selection of pasta and risotto, we found the carnivores section with a variety of meats from fish to lamb, beef to the legendary ‘Dusty’s Red Chicken’ on offer. For those seeking some good old fashioned comfort food, the 180g Fillet Steak served with salsa verde and a creamy béarnaise sauce alongside the Beef Stir Fry with its zesty soy chilli dressing and toasted sesame seeds, are perfect options, being cooked to your exact preference.
A stand-out dish for us was the Grilled Lamb Chops, a sizeable portion of succulent lamb accompanied by aubergine puree and chilli garlic marinade. We topped off with a cheeky side order of Truffle Fries with Parmesan and Sautéed Spinach.
Now, if you’ve still room and can summon the inner child inside of you, we thoroughly suggest the Candy Station for desert, perfect for sharing. We shared (read: fought over) the delightful and nostalgic combination of jellied candies, fluffy marshmallows, cake pops, macaroons and waffle croutons as we dipped each and every piece into warm, rich chocolate fondue. Naughty but ever so nice.
For me the drinks menu was every bit as exciting as the food and Dusty’s signature cocktails are among the very best we’ve ever tried, and trust us we’ve tried a few!
My personal tipple of the evening was the colourful Tubble & Bubble, a gorgeously girly drink consisting of gin, raspberries, strawberries and prosecco. I did divert my attention to try a Chateau Dusty Grand Cru (blended scotch, red wine,
crème de cassis & black pepper) followed by a Mocktail in the form of Dustylicious (cloudy apple, lime juice and blackberry syrup), before going straight back to Tubble & Bubble.
As the night progressed, the music volume increased and the dancing began. Dusty’s is not a place that takes itself too seriously and this is why we love it and with a recently launched themed ‘DEPARTURES’ brunch each and every Friday, we have a feeling it will become a regular part of our daily lives. It’s rare that you find a venue that possesses a global family feel that exudes imagination and downright good food. Deli by day, debaucherous wine bar by night.
Dusty’s we salute you.