Rhodes ahead of the pack

Needing to stay close to the Marina last night as we were attending an event at the Habtoor Grand, we canvassed the neighbourhood for a suitable dining option. Both in the mood for steak, we called up Rhodes Twenty10 for a last-minute reservation but were informed that the restaurant was all booked – a sign that things are definitely turning around in Dubai. Only slightly defeated, we settled for it’s older sister-establishment located at the Grosvenor Hotel. Rhodes Mezzanine has been a stalwart presence in the Dubai restaurant scene since its heydays. Headed up by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, the cuisine is billed as a “modern take on traditional british fare”.

Roula: Walking in we were warmly and personally greeted by the staff who apparently knew us by name – probably because we kept calling to let them know we were running late for our reservation due to the traffic gridlock around the Marina (note to self: avoid all weekend visits to JBR between now and June 2011).

The decor is exceptional – fusing modern minimalism with old world decadence – and gives you the sense that you’re in for a special dining experience. Ladies take note – the tiny stool located next to your seat and reserved for the placement of your handbag is a really nice touch.

The restaurant is very good at executing on the small details. As we ordered cocktails the staff kindly offered up a selection of canapes for our tasting pleasure. These included miniature scotch eggs, gouda cheese toast and foie gras mouse. This was followed by a superb amuse bouche which consisted of frothy white tomato soup smartly served in a small espresso cup.

The restaurant provides an a la carte menu selection and a tasting menu which offers smaller portions of the same items and allows for more of a sampling. We decided to go with the smaller portions so that we could try a few of their offerings. Our appetizers choices were the Crab lasagna, Scallop soup and Beetroot tart. For mains, we selected the beef medallion, salmon filet and truffled macaroni.

Scallop soup – delicious, creamy base with a single succulent scallop
Crab lasagna – not loving it; was expecting a savory dish and the flavours were predominantly sweet
Beetroot tart – brilliantly compiled and pleasant tasting.
Beef – nicely cooked with a crispy exterior; not the best steak in Dubai but certainly not the worst
Salmon – fresh piece of salmon that was well-prepared but the overall flavour was rather mild on the palate
Truffled Macaroni – will be dreaming of this for weeks to come

To finish the evening, the staff brought over a complimentary plate of homemade scones, strawberry jam, and clotted cream for dessert.

Rhodes Mezzanine is definitely worth trying if you have a special occasion to celebrate.  The staff is very professional and the overall experience definitely leaves you feeling like you were given the star treatment.  The food is well put together, creatively compilde and flavoursome- as would be expected from a Michelin-starred chef.  Yet, I wouldn’t rate any of the dishes as the best I’ve ever had.  Additionally, the menu is not very broad so if you are a picky eater or are dining with a picky eater (definition: people who prefer not to eat eel or snails) you may be left wanting.

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