Food review: Jazz nights and dinner at Marea DIFC


Claudia Patrice sings jazz at Marea in DIFC every wednesday night UAE Italian food review
Don't miss this Jazz singer

Claudia Patrice's tunes and Italian food - perfect

By David Light

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Published: Wed 25 Sep 2019, 5:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 1 Oct 2019, 5:20 PM

HAVE A WANDER around Dubai's Financial Centre and it won't surprise you when we say street food outlets and canteens are thin on the ground. Alas, those weary bankers aren't pouring out of their architectural marvels at the end of a day's totting-up and piling into a cafeteria for a Zinker club sandwich and chips. Well, at least not locally. Yet, during our once-in-a-while visits to the district, we are still taken aback at just how glitzy the area's eateries appear. Each Gate Village restaurant (immaculately separated by either an art gallery or auction house), by virtue of its location, evokes a Canary Wharf or Manhattan vibe from where many of the establishments originally hail. Newly opened Marea is a perfect illustration.  
Breeze through the steel-slatted glass door and a maitre d' looking to enhance your experience before you've even sat down will greet you with a smile. The long classic bar, complete with waistcoat-ed mixologists, will be highlighted and we can only recommend should be sampled. Though, it is within the dining room where the magic truly occurs. The reasons are two-fold. Primarily you're heading to Marea for the fine Italian cuisine. However, every Wednesday marks the bistro's jazz night where the phenomenally talented vocalist and music producer Claudia Patrice entertains diners with her sultry tones backed by a single pianist. Hits from Frank Sinatra, Alicia Keys and The Supremes, to name merely a few, will provide the powerfully melodious soundtrack to your meal from 9pm.
We only witnessed the symphony of both cuisine and music produced out front, but can only imagine the flurry of activity occurring behind the scenes in the kitchen. The menu's expanse, combined with each dish arriving timed to utter perfection, is no mean feat for a chef catering up to 200 or so covers each evening. Focusing on seafood, the knowledgeable waiting crew will guide you through the carte, highlighting the house specialties. To start we have to point out the crostini trio - toasted bread topped with green pea and pecorino, artichoke and white bean anchovy and butter and black truffle - alongside the not so simple light and crispy calamari and tomato salad. How can the latter two dishes not be straightforward? The calamari consists of squid filled with lobster, prawns and courgette served with a tomato confit and the innocuous sounding tomato salad actually comprises grilled watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, ricotta and basil. A word for all three: stupendous.
For the main we couldn't help spearing the delicate roasted wild turbot with kale and buckwheat, swallowing down plump buttery scallops almost whole and gnawing on our companion's steak for good measure. The meat and fish were very decent, but those scallops - drenched in truffle butter and dusted with Parmesan - consistently feature in our dreams to this day. The only element perhaps more delicious was Ms. Patrice's closing number. We shall be returning for both treats tonight!
Where: Marea, DIFC
Best dish: Scallops
Av. Price pp: Dhs500+ 

Claudia Patrice sings jazz at Marea in DIFC every wednesday night UAE Italian food review
Claudia Patrice sings jazz at Marea in DIFC every wednesday night UAE Italian food review
The crostini trio
Claudia Patrice sings jazz at Marea in DIFC every wednesday night UAE Italian food review
Steak cooked to perfection

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