Having been disappointed by a recently opened restaurant (as well as an unnamed fine dining establishment that’s been open for years), I was a bit wary accepting an invite to another just opened venue. However, from the moment I was greeted, it was clear that my evening at Graze was going to be a special one. Without a menu to go on, I wasn’t sure what to expect (how does one actually define a ‘Gastro Grill’), nor did I know what specifically would be on the menu (nothing is currently posted on the website). It’s pretty rare for me to go somewhere and not have an idea of what’s going to be available, but sometimes we have to live life on the edge, don’t we?
What I excepted were some decent proteins and a relatively casual experience. What was delivered was an altogether elevated meal with some amazing cuts and outstanding service. For example, the meal started with a completely unexpected (and delightful) amuse bouche. Savory, buttery and creamy — this bit of Foie gras was luxury on a plate, finishing with the right amount of tartness in the form of apple chutney. Additionally, as a cocktail to kick off the evening, we received a ‘Red & Rose’ cocktail (complete with perfumed rose essence — which was definitely a first for me). With pomegranate juice and champagne, the drink was finished with a slight bit of chili. I know, sounds a bit of a strange concoction, but the glass was gorgeous to look at and quite delicious.
Turning our attention to food, the menu at Graze offers over twenty small plates (with some marked as ‘Classics’). You will not be surprised when your intrepid diners first ordered 1) Burrata (AED90) and 2) Angus Beef Steak tartare (AED90). Zoe and I are nothing if not traditional in our tastes. The charming assistant manager, Sohaib (please tell him hello for me if you stop by), also suggested the Baked Oysters (and I’m so glad we followed his advice). The burrata and tartare were certainly big enough for two people (three would be okay, but four would be a push). I enjoyed each of the small plates and wouldn’t hesitate to order them again (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t particularly prefer mollusks). Other than a touch more horseradish in the tartare, there’s not much I would add.
For our mains, the kitchen spoiled us with both Grain-Fed Wagyu (Grade 7, Filet Mignon, 250g, AED340) from Australia and Kobe (the Rib Eye, 350g, AED840). In case you’re wondering, they also have Irish and American cuts of beef. I’m disappointed we didn’t try one of the fish or seafood selections (including three different styles of cooking), but that’s a great excuse to return. Sides were generously portioned (definitely enough for two people) and sauces were also quite large (do yourself a favor and order the pepper sauce, you won’t be disappointed). In all honesty, the sauces were unnecessary with such stellar cuts. Personally, I preferred the Wagyu filet to the Kobe Rib Eye, but both were tender, perfectly cooked pieces of beef. As part of our conversation, we also learned about the Josper oven (of which Graze has one on premises) and all the techniques it is capable of (one of which is producing superbly cooked steak).
For sides, we tried Broccolini, Brussel Sprouts, French Fries and Chanterelle Mushrooms. As you can imagine, there was no way to get through them all, but the sides easily matched the mains in terms of quality and overall presentation. No one is reinventing anything here, but they are delivering quality classic dishes.
Stuffed to a breaking point, we opted to split a dessert, the Missippippi Pie (served with pepper ice cream). Combined with the restaurant’s unique take on an Espresso Martini (spoiler alert, theirs is the better option), this was a winning way to end the meal (and I also love a bit of texture in the form of popcorn).
So, what notes do I have? I don’t want this to be one of those gushing ‘I loved everything’ reviews, but friends, I think that’s where we’re at. For a restaurant that had only been open for ten days, my notes were more about the design of the menu and perhaps a larger selection of wines, which, in reality are very minor suggestions. Additionally, my apologies to any vegetarians, but I’m not sure this venue is the best fit for you. Overall, there are a number establishments across Dubai that could get a lesson in how to offer service from Graze.
Would I go back? You better believe it! I know CityWalk has a lot of dining options, but please give Graze a try. Go in for a starter or small plate, order a glass of wine and enjoy.
Way to go, Meraas! Graze and Dragonfly by Time Raue are two of my favorite places in the city.