After a rather disappointing visit to the afternoon tea at Epicure, I was willing to give Desert Palm Per Aquum another try. Rare is the on property fine dining restaurant — newly refurbished — overlooking the polo fields. While we chose to dine inside, during the cooler winter months, the patio would be an excellent spot to dine al fresco. Or, should you be interested, there is an attached private dining room.
As my dining partner and I arrived early, we opted to check out the bar next door, Red Bar, which I was more than happy to find had a killer (and completely unexpected) cocktail list. Not only were the service staff engaging and knowledgeable, but they were also kind enough to surprise us with an Autumn cocktail (strawberry, basil, lime juice, topped with Taittinger — yes, please!). It was here we learned of some of the highest end alcohol I’ve ever come across, that being the AED2300 (per shot!!) (that’s over US$625!!!) of Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute, which is purchased on a regular basis (!!). And as an informative side note: if you’re looking for a bar that has saddle seats in Dubai, Red Bar has you covered.
Meeting the rest of our group we took our seats in the main dining room of Rare, complete in a sophisticated color palate and seating selection. After choosing our mains (and another tasty cocktail — this time the Chukka Mule), we received a small plate of empanadas, some of the best fresh bread I’ve had in ages, and then two starters, braised baby octopus and dried beef salad. For me, I thought both appetizers were a bit ‘busy’ and maybe could’ve used a slight edit in the ingredients, but the presentation was out of this world. For a return visit, I would love to sample the beef tartare, a dish I always enjoy.
For my main, I debated ordering Tiger Prawns with chimichurri sauce (which did look amazing), but ultimately decided to go for steak…in this instance, a 300 day aged Black Angus beef tenderloin (220g, from Australia). I was not disappointed. Because Béarnaise was always served during the Christmas season in my house growing up, I ordered the sauce to accompany the beef (cooked a perfect medium rare), which (as usual) is a pairing made in heaven. The portion ofBéarnaise was large enough that I could try it on my sides, asparagus and steak fries. I thought the addition of grilled melon was a unique choice, and would be a decent option for any diner seeking something less heavy than the usual veggies and starches.
As I’ve tried a few ‘deconstructed’ Tiramisu’s around town (Weslodge‘s doesn’t really rate for me), I was happy with Rare’s Signature Tiramisu, a creamy, rich dessert that was a highly satisfying finish to the meal.
While I realize the property might feel like a bit of a drive from town, on a busy night, getting to DIFC or the Marina (with traffic) puts Rare easily within the same timing as the usual suspects of fine dining around Dubai. Would I go back? While The Hide still remains my steak place to beat, I don’t think the two are particularly in the same category. Furthermore, if you are looking for a less hectic, quiet date night that has a bit of a ‘getaway’ element, I think Rare ticks all the boxes.
Have you been to Rare recently?
Or, are you the one ordering the expensive whiskey? If so, give me a shout next time you go!