In Food + Drink

What It’s Like To Dine At Dubai’s Most In-Demand Restaurant

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped right through a plasma screen and onto the hottest reality cooking show of our time as you make your way into one of Dubai’s most talked-about new dining establishments.

Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai – the only eatery of its kind outside of the flagship restaurant in Las Vegas – is the latest in a long line of culinary ventures for British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his third outing in the United Arab Emirates since blasting his way on to the local food scene 18 years ago with Verre at the Hilton Hotel.

While best known for his loud, pompous façade and expletive-laden on-screen antics, there’s no question Ramsay deserves the attention. The 52-year-old Michelin man knows food and has built a $US190 million ($AU270 million) business empire around it. His restaurants have earned 16 stars and currently hold seven.

hell's kitchen

Image: Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai / supplied

The colossal pitch-fork greeting guests at the entrance to the 260-seat restaurant on the lower level of the hotel sets the scene for what’s to come. As I walk in on the heels of the hostess guiding us to our table that’s in direct view of the kitchen, I can see the entire space has been designed to create maximum drama and impact.

As I take it all in, it certainly does feel like I’ve walked on to the set of Hell’s Kitchen, the Fox TV show that’s been attracting the attention of foodies in lounge rooms worldwide for 18 seasons.

From the interior flourishes like the signature fiery pitchfork and iconic ‘H’ to the symbols smartly used on laser cut partitions and gold monogram wallpaper, every detail has been thought out and implemented to provide for an experiential and immersive meal out.

The open kitchen emblazoned with the trademark red and blue hues used in the show kitchen offers diners a front row seat to the theatre of the meal preparation, and while the colourful language we’re so used to on the show doesn’t fly here for obvious cultural reasons, the audible and emotive “yes, chefs” spat out with regularity from the ‘red and blue teams’ in the cooking zones give added punch to the already lively vibe.

When it comes to the quality of the food, as you’d expect the menu is full of hearty British fare. Diners have the choice of individual dishes or Gordon’s Signature Menu (starter, main and dessert for Dh360 / $139). Ramsay’s classic beef Wellington (Dh250 / $96) is the signature offering and one of the most popular among the punters, according to restaurant general manager Daniel Thomas.

Then there’s the Hell’s Kitchen burger (Dh140 / $54) and the braised short rib (Dh180 / $70) – I had this and it was divine, so tender and beautiful and rich. Dessert lovers are sure to salivate over the sticky toffee pudding, with its gooey toffee and delicious dollop of ice cream on top, just as we did (Dh60 / $23).

hell's kitchen

Image: Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai / supplied

As for the prices, they’re on a par with those at Ramsay’s other Dubai establishment, Bread Street Kitchen and Bar at Atlantis The Palm (Verre is no longer operating), and for me, the quality of the food and the theatre surrounding it here is worth every cent.

On the evening I dine I’m hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t satisfied with the experience, so I’d have to say this is one hell of an addition to the dining scene in Dubai that’s attracted big-name chefs like Alain Ducasse (French), Nobu Matsuhisa (Japanese) and Jamie Oliver (British).

Celebrities like footballer Dwight Yorke and singer Nicole Scherzinger have made appearances at the establishment Ramsay himself calls “an exciting, high octane place” but on any given night there’s usually one key ingredient missing – the man behind the brand. Ramsay officially opened the restaurant earlier this year and monitors it closely from afar but has elected Craig Best to drive the kitchen.

Best was in charge of Marina Social in Dubai prior to getting the call-up and says: “It’s been an amazing journey”.

(Lead image: Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai / supplied)

Published 13 May, 2019