Gary Rhodes has launched his second restaurant in Dubai, Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa which serves a casual grill menu that is all about simplicity. Kerstin Kühn paid a visit.
Win some, lose some. In the same week in which celebrity chef Gary Rhodes closed his restaurant at the Harbour hotel in Christchurch, Dorset, he opened a brand new venture more than 3,000 miles away in Dubai. Rhodes Twenty10 at the five-star Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa is Rhodes's second venture in the Arab Emirates following the hugely successful Mezzanine at sister hotel Grosvenor House. But where Mezzanine is a high end, fine-dining restaurant, Rhodes Twenty10 is all about a more casual approach to eating out.
Housed in the space formerly occupied by the hotel's Rib Room, it is a steakhouse and grill with the idea of simplicity at its very heart.
"When I go to a steakhouse I want something simple but often chefs overcomplicate things by trying to add their personality. Everything is garnished with things that you don't want to eat and comes with accompaniments you don't want.
"So what I wanted to do with this restaurant is tone things down and let the customers dictate what they want on their plate," Rhodes explains.
Open for dinner from 7pm to midnight every day, the 80-seat restaurant is divided into a bar area and a dining room that is spread over two floors. The 15-strong kitchen brigade is overseen by head chef Omar Romero, who has joined from Rhodes's London operations where he has worked with the chef for five years.
The menu kicks off with a list of 12 starters, which, all priced the same at £9.60, are designed to be shared out among the table. Typically a table of three would order around five different plates, which are then placed on a rotating board in the middle of the table allowing diners to pick what they want. "It makes the dining experience more flexible and allows people to try something they would never normally order," adds Rhodes. Dishes include John Ross Scottish smoked salmon with crab salad and sweet lemon vinaigrette; warm sesame-glazed duck with orange and maple-dressed salad; and lobster minestrone soup.
One of Rhodes's favourites is a dish of crispy smoked eel fingers which is made up of goujons of fish rolled in brioche crumbs, deep fried and served with lemon hollandaise and horseradish cream. The brioche lends a lovely sweetness to the smokiness of the eel, while the tanginess and sharpness of the sauces give a nice balance.
Main courses are divided into grills, steaks and seafood as well as a few British favourites such as fish and chips (£20) and steak and kidney pie (£21). The Rhodes Twenty10 burger (£29) is made up of an 8oz fillet steak patty and comes with seared foie gras, devilled sauce and roast confit potato.
But it's the steaks that are the focus here. British beef is still banned in Dubai so Rhodes's steaks are imported from the USA and Australia. USDA prime beef is available as 6 or 12oz fillet (£21/£42), sirloin (£17/£33) and 20oz T-bone (£63), while Australian Wagyu is served as 10oz rib-eye (£58), fillet (£78) and sirloin (£61).
All sauces and relishes are complimentary and include a wide range of options from the classic béarnaise, au poivre vert and lemon butter to barbeque, tartare hollandaise, and avocado, chilli, mango and sweet pepper salsa. Side dishes meanwhile are divided into two brackets including mushroom macaroni cheese and seared foie gras (£7) and triple-cooked chunky chips, Welsh rarebit-topped champ potatoes and a range of salads (£5).
"Apart from the main courses, which are individually priced, all items on the menu cost more or less the same so diners know exactly what they're in for. The market is more competitive now and I wanted to make sure we are as close to the mark as possible."
Desserts, all priced £9.60, continue the theme of simplicity and offer comfort staples such as sticky toffee pudding with hot toffee sauce and toffee ice-cream, and warm treacle tart with marmalade ice-cream.
However, while the menu at Rhodes Twenty10 is all about a casual approach to dining, designed to make customers feel relaxed, the restaurant's atmosphere is very much that of a fine-dining establishment. White tablecloths, a slick interior and formal service lend a sense of stuffiness that perhaps comes with a restaurant housed in a five-star luxury hotel.
WHAT'S ON THE MENU
â- Pork rillette fritters with Waldorf relish and apple sauce, £9.60
â- Lobster Caesar salad, £9.60
â- Halibut T-bone, £30
â- Honey duck confit with tomato and smoked duck braised butter beans, £23.50
â- Griddled pork belly with baby back ribs and chunky apple sauce, £28
â- Strawberries with lemon ice-cream and home-made shortbread, £9.60
â- Vanilla rice pudding, raspberry compote and clotted cream, £9.60
â- Baked chocolate and banana pudding with iced Irish cream and chocolate sauce, £9.60
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