Restaurant review: Verve Brasserie Dubai
The Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City restaurant is one of Nick & Scott's finest
TO CALL SOMETHING perched alongside Sheikh Zayed Road just before the turn off to The Palm a 'hidden gem' is much like calling Kim Kardashian an 'unknown entity', or Justin Bieber a 'stealthy operator'. Thousands of you must drive past the relatively new Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City each day and catch sight of its fortuitous positioning. Though how many are aware it contains chefs Nick & Scott's latest endeavour: Verve Bar & Brasserie? That's right, slap bang in the middle of the normally sedate and not particularly culinary adventurous communications enclave is a restaurant coming to you from the brains behind other successful Dubai eateries including Folly and The Lion. And this modern European eatery is immersed in the duo's hallmarks. Swish dining without being too formal; a casual feel, although you cannot arrive in flip-flops, it straddles that fine line between comfort and glitz, which is their calling card.
It was a balmy evening when we made our way through the unfamiliar purpose-built roads leading to the property. Despite living in the area, the hotel was seemingly constructed in the blink of an eye, so a direct route was at that point unknown. A Magellan head for coordinates, however, was not necessary. Upon arrival at the main entrance, we couldn't miss the dedicated grand glass doors leading to our venue just off to the side of the lobby. Sweeping into the clean-lined, wood-paneled dining room, complete with cream leatherback chairs and crisp tablecloths, we had an inkling of what we were in for. The waist-coated staff confirmed our suspicions: a well-appointed meal laced with bold luxurious flavours.
What better way to kick-off such a dinner than with premium seafood? Dibba Bay oysters and lemon and garlic butter Omani shrimp offered a perfectly balanced introduction. The refreshing locally sourced oysters piqued the appetite (as they tend to do when drenched in biting Mignonette sauce), while the equally regional shrimp provided a deliciously lipid infused chaser - the garlic butter salving any tartness.
Quickly dispensing with interim libations courtesy of the talented mixologists and sorbet palette cleansers from the kitchen, next up was the star performer. A decent steak is always a cause for celebration but when it is topped with a mushroom ragout so decadently creamy, it is worth writing home. The rare meat combined with the wickedly indulgent sauce, possessing just a hint of tang, was the highlight of our week. The seven ounces were over far to fast. The accompanying five-spiced confit duck leg lathed in pancetta, white beans and chorizo was also a highlight, but the beef took the biscuit. Almost forgoing dessert as a result of not being able to move, we were talked round into splitting a French staple - apple tart tatin with vanilla bean ice cream. We're glad the staffs' power of persuasion was strong that day. Superb.
. Where: Verve Brasserie
. Best dish: 7oz steak and mushroom ragout
. Av. cost pp: Dhs300