Dubai is a city famous for its beaches, crystal clear water and sprawling skyscraper skylines. Sadly, I can’t think of too many venues that offer views encompassing all three of these elements while offering a decent dining experience. The beachscape is lined with mediocre establishments, all too happy to charge over inflated tourist prices for disappointing dishes. Thankfully, I now have somewhere to recommend that bucks this trend.
Given my experience with restaurants-with-a-view in Dubai, I can’t say I had high hopes for 101. Yes, it’s situated at One&Only, a brand I have a particular affinity for, but that doesn’t always guarantee a great experience. Yes, this One&Only (The Palm outpost) is also home to the fab STAY by Yannick Alleno, but even still, I didn’t dare get my hopes up.
Being the last property on the West Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah, the One & Only has a viewpoint that most properties would kill for. The buggy ride to 101, at the very end of the island, reveals the extent of the sweeping Dubai Marina vista afforded by the property. Views, tick. Being that it’s at the end of the crescent, it’s a fair drive from mainland Dubai, but you can always take the scenic shortcut via boat from the sister property, One&Only Royal Mirage that is located just across the water on the Dubai coastline.
101 takes the form of a pier of sorts – there’s alfresco seating aplenty (I recommend sitting outside as there’s more atmosphere, but that option is best saved for the cooler months). Inside doesn’t have quite the magic of the outdoor section, the heavy use of brown wood detracting from what is a nice nautical fit out otherwise.
Bread and olive oil is promptly delivered to our table, passing the taste test. My glass of Chardonnay is possibly the best Chardonnay served by the glass that I have tasted in Dubai (so good I just had to test out a few more glasses for the sake of science, naturally). Smooth sailing so far…and now, I’m more than intrigued to taste the food. It’s a large menu – and I don’t just mean in length, but in physical size – the menu is ginormous! It’s a little unwieldy, but in true Dubai-style it’s a greatest-hits menu, so there should be something for everyone – and given the seaside location, the menu is understandably seafood heavy.
I always order burrata (105dhs) and beef tartare (140dhs for 180g) when dining out. As these dishes are mostly raw ingredients, they are a great barometer for the quality of the produce, and whether the chef can treat these ingredients with respect and bring the best out of them. 101 passed the test with flying colours on these dishes, the burrata simple and delicious with its tomato accompaniment, the tartare amazing – seasoning absolutely spot on. I’m so glad I suggested we ordered the main size of the tartare to share (entree size is available too), as I practically inhaled it.
The ‘Artichoke’ (110dhs) surprised me. An innovative dish for around these parts, it’s served as a whole confit artichoke from which you pluck the petals and dip into an accompanying sauce. It’s a fun, if not particularly ladylike process skimming the flesh of the artichoke leaves from the tough outer. I definitely recommend trying this dish.
Our main courses continued to impress, with the Sauteed spinach (80dhs) an unexpected knockout. Cream, cheese, chicken chorizo and golden raisins combine with spinach that’s barely kissed the pan to make a rather stunning dish. I need the recipe for this one!
Our Truffle risetti (165dhs) was another winner, and a huge improvement on the oft seen (and oft overcooked) truffle risotto. Perfect texture. I’d definitely return for this dish.
There’s probably only one dish that didn’t quite hit the lofty levels of the rest of the meal, and that was the Beef tenderloin (265dhs). Served slightly over my requested medium rare at a solid medium, texturally the meat was a bit mealy. It didn’t have the silky, juicy texture I expect from a tenderloin. That being said, it was excellently seasoned, which was a hallmark of the entire meal. My only other comment would be that I’d like to see the plating modernised a bit to enhance the aesthetic side of the dishes.
Ambience wise, I think we lost a little of 101’s true potential as we visited at lunch during one of the hotter months of the year – meaning we had to dine inside. Many reviews mention the great music which again, being daytime, we didn’t get to enjoy. Sunset is the time of day you want to be here, where I imagine 101 transforms into quite a different experience.
It’s the perfect place to take visitors – even more perfect if you, in fact, are a visitor to Dubai! Head to the One & Only’s landside property, One & Only Royal Mirage, and take the complimentary boat ride over to 101 for the full experience. Make sure you plan to have a drink or two before or after dinner at the beachside Jetty Lounge, where the boat departs, as it’s a very special venue itself (and another great sunset spot). 101 delivers in both the culinary and view departments – you can book with confidence. But really, what else would you expect from the magnificent One & Only brand?
Where is your favourite dining venue with a view in Dubai?