DIFC is celebrating Spanish food with unusual twists

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DIFC is celebrating Spanish food with unusual twists

All through September, they're celebrating 'Catalan month', with a series of special, inspired-food experiences, throwing in some fun with Rumba music and dancing.

By Mary Paulose

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Published: Thu 22 Sep 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 23 Sep 2016, 1:16 AM

There's no dearth of high- end Spanish cuisine restaurants in Dubai. If you're a hardcore connoisseur of the Spanish regional cuisines, you're spoilt for choice in Dubai. A good, authentic Spanish meal is easier to come by now than, say, five years ago.
So there's LALUZ, this nice resto-lounge that's been open in DIFC since early summer. Cocooned among all those big-name restaurants everyone likes to be seen in, LALUZ provides a slightly more chill vibe, a place where you'd head to unwind with work friends after the 9 to 6, rather than dress-up-to- dine fancy.
All through September, they're celebrating 'Catalan month', with a series of special, inspired-food experiences, throwing in some fun with Rumba music and dancing.
We walk in to dim-lit, nicely understated interiors, exactly the kind of place that doesn't overwhelm you with any dominating décor, the perfect venue for the aforementioned after-work drinks, or even a quiet business lunch.
As far as cuisine goes, they also want to prove that Spanish food is not restricted to tapas and paella, though if you're craving either, LALUZ wouldn't be put to shame either. But it particularly showcases Catalan cuisine's use of Mediterranaean ingredients like fresh produce (particularly tomato, aubergine and mushrooms) and creative meaty dishes, along with the use of nuts and herbs.
Even with our seasoned food-reviewer instincts - meaning we usually have a good sense of the kind of spread that's going to arrive at the table - the special Catalan menu does take us by surprise, in a good way.
In true tapas tradition, the first set is a sharing menu or para picar, with servings of spherical olives, dry-aged Galician beef with herbs, creamy chicken croquettes, aubergine with black olive miso, and tomato tartar with aromatics.
The spherical olives are both a sight and taste to behold, a molecular infusion of olive oil capsuled into this gel-like consistency on a spoon, popping refreshingly in your mouth. The dry Galician beef strips are rawish and satiating in the way you'd like if you were skewed towards protein in your diet. The creamy chicken croquettes remind me of Dutch croquettes or kroketten, a popular street snack. While my dining companions don't quite dig into the aubergine, I quite loved the creamy miso stuffing and had to refrain from copiously spooning it all out.
For starters, we had some time- honoured flavours in the form of lobster and avocado rolls with caviar, and classic ceviche of Peruvian descent. Both pay more than adequate tribute to Spain's thriving seafood tradition.
Our first mains of duck and pear creamy rice had a slightly sweet, moist texture, thanks to the duck meat stewed with it. A new taste to our palates, and not a disagreeable one. We were really impressed with the next one: Galician octopus grilled with potato foam (yes, foam!) and smoked paprika. The foam part was, as expected, intriguingly light on the tongue and the smoked paprika added the requisite flavour.
One of our favourites of the night, the Catalan-style canelón, was a nice, runny wrap of spinach, ricotta cheese, raisin and vegetables. All good things rolled into one standout highlight.
Dessert was again Spanish with a twist: fan-favourite dulce de leche with goat's cheese cake, ice-cream and raspberry popcorn in one theatrical dish.
The Catalan menu at LALUZ is the perfect-sharing menu and introduces you to some new and delightful ingredient-flavour combinations without overwhelming you with all that newness. Even if you're familiar with Spanish cuisine, the experimental edge to the food at this restaurant is sure to take you on a fresh culinary adventure. It's also a refreshingly light and cooling menu perfectly suited for our still-hot weather.


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