Tulum at The Dubai Mall is the perfect mix of delicious regional dishes and a bit of zesty culture
Typically, when I visit a Mexican restaurant, I am looking for a down-to-earth, homely vibe with authentic enchiladas. My favourite, of course! But that’s not it.
Earlier this month, I visited Tulum, a Mexican restaurant in Dubai Mall. Obviously, I thought it to be a fancy place because of its location, but what I was totally unprepared for was the grandeur of the place full of the Hispanic vibe. The restaurant is on the topmost floor of the Dubai Mall right next to Burj Khalifa and sits facing the Dubai Fountain. The entrance is a tiny alley whereby you pass the open kitchen and into the main sitting area. The brown and gold interiors mixed with blue lighting and hanging chandeliers sets a very vibrant mood for the evening. Not to miss are the traditional Mariachi dances and live performances at the restaurant, while you are enjoying your food. Nothing can get better at that moment! We were greeted by our hosts for the evening, Milton and Jericho, who sat us next to the fountain view.
For starters, we were handed freshly baked totopos or more commonly known as tortilla chips with fresh guacamole, pitted and mashed in molcajete (volcanic stone native to Mexico), which also made for an authentic serving dish. The guac was buttery with hints of tanginess and went so well with the warm totopos.
Then we dug the Mexican style cheese fondue. The original fondue was mixed with spicy jalapenos and pico de gallo or fresh salsa. The cheese burst in our mouths were a sight to behold! Also, not to forget, it was a mix of four cheese melted right in front of us! A standard practice at the restaurant. The freshness can be felt oozing from every dip with our nachos!
No Mexican meal is complete without tacos. At Tulum, every taco is designed to coordinate with a certain ingredient… to mix tacos would be a crime there. For the night, we went with the highly recommended shrimp tacos. The cilantro-limey tacos were topped with a few spicy in-house specialty sauces. Sure shot fire is what you get when you eat these. But hey we ask you not to shy away! This is why we went there at the first place… to savour authentic Mexican food.
But we did push the limit a bit that night with our spice levels. The flamboyant Mexican cuisine is notoriously famous for some of the hottest chilies on this planet. With each course, we tasted a variety of hot sauces. I loved the heat but was still looking for more. Milton asked me to try the red taqueria sauce. It was good hot but not enough. So, he recommended the green tequaria sauce (supposedly that will burn your stomach up). I dreadfully took a drop on my totopos. I bit into it, waiting to be hit, but did not feel anything.
We were then bought in the specialty of the night — the Machete Steak. Made from the finest wagyu beef and on the higher side of pricing, the entire cut was steaked right in front of us in the dramatic ‘fire me up’ way. You could hear the skin crackling under the fire. And the end result was a charcoal brown crusty layer on the outside and perfect softness on the inside. Go for medium well-done — I totally recommend that one.
Coming back to the sauces — we went on an adventure. It is a crime but we continued to spread the hot sauces on our steak, and still no crying. Chef Alejandro was boggled. He challenged himself to get me the perfect hot sauce. He went inside the kitchen and bought us a platter with peppers of different hotness range… nothing made me cry! I smiled and said, “I am Indian”. This is like pickled chilli for me. He smiled and said, “I saved the best for the last.” He went in and was out in five minutes with a bowl. It was a chilli paste and I could feel the pungent smell through my nostrils. I hesitantly handed out my nachos where the chef served a quarter of a teaspoon on my tiny piece. Inhaling quickly, I started chewing. It took 10 seconds for him to win the challenge. My mouth was on fire! I looked at him and finally admitted defeat.
This was my savoury sweet experience at Tulum, the place that will host you with the best dishes and the best staff. It’s as if you know them and are being served at home. The Mexican hospitality is reflected in every bite that you eat here. Making the patrons feel at home is at the crux of Tulum.