There are endless dining options in Dubai. However, if you think about it, they are going from one extreme to the other. Most of them are either expensive fine dining places and at the other end cheaper, quick-bite eateries. We discovered a new authentic, unpretentious brasserie, which is the perfect combination of both. The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill, brought to Dubai by experienced restaurateur Joey Ghazal, is nestled in a loading dock of one of JBR’s hotel, which makes it an even better discovery.
The restaurant is hidden on the ground floor of the Hilton Double Tree Hotel right, at the end of The Walk. The Maine is a discovery right from the beginning. After walking by two barriers and numerous parking spaces at the side of the Hilton, you will see an understated restaurant sign. A few seconds later you will find yourself standing in the front of the monochrome crackled tiled “Shuck Me” wall (a great social media opportunity) that will guide you right to the main entrance.
Opening the door leads to yet another discovery; masses of sunlight flooding the restaurant and a wonderful sea view definitely caught me off-guard. The inspiration for the interior design came from all projects Ghazal has been involved in around the globe, and his experience and vision has been immaculately executed. After a closer look, this understated décor is hiding meticulously chosen details contributing to a relaxed and casual atmosphere. New England extravagance combined with a vintage feel. Custom-made lamps, chairs, and a rustic-looking bar wall reveal the sophisticated taste of the restaurateur and his attention to detail, which kept grabbing my attention during the meal: from the kitchen towel-like napkins to the staff uniforms; everything has been carefully planned and executed to keep diners relaxed and happy.
The real excitement came when I ordered my food. Such attention to detail in the design aesthetics could surely promise that the quality of the food would be equally pleasantly surprising. I wasn’t wrong. The menu is simple, yet hides a sophisticated taste from chef Liam Breen. Great quality, honest food without gimmickry or fireworks. It simply speaks for itself. Of course, no brasserie experience is complete without a serving of seafood towers, fashionable crudo, and oysters galore. Also on the menu, there are great steaks and chops for meat lovers, fresh fish and seafood, pot roasts and steamers, bolstered by an equally slim and unpretentious wine list.
A huge part of the restaurant’s atmosphere lies in the long bar that attracts an eclectic crowd, with some of the best mixologists in the region mastering old-fashioned cocktails with a modern spin.
Jerk Crabocado – snow crab flown directly from Canada combined with the Jamaican jerk spice and avocado
Halibut and Béarnaise – served with smashed potatoes, beef bacon and green peas
Charred Brussel Sprouts – try them, even if you hate sprouts, these are simply a creation of culinary art.
Key Lime Pie – perfect combination of Chantilly cream with a zesty, lime meringue.
Price per couple: 600 AED
Location: Hilton Double Tree, JBR, The Walk