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The library and eatery of Intersect by Lexus
The library and eatery of Intersect by Lexus

Intersect by Lexus brings fun and playfulness into the typical indulgent Friday brunch experience, but keeps it deliciously healthy

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Published: Fri 8 Jul 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 8 Jul 2016, 2:00 AM

Opened in December 2015 as only the second luxury brand experience space after the one in Tokyo, Intersect by Lexus has quickly won fan favourites in the city. At first, we assumed it's a high end showroom for the brand's lifestyle products, but it's "neither a dealership, nor a traditional retail space" as they put it. Yes, it's a showroom, but it's also a hangout and creative space where you can experience food, design, art, fashion, music and technology. But, it's also a restaurant, library and innovative garage.
And where better to locate a space like this than DIFC, the financial district that's known for its forward looking, all-encompassing nature, shape shifting from a banking and financial hub by day to a cultural and culinary hotspot by night. Intersect by Lexus is already famous for its futuristic basement garage and event space, with a built-in selfie spot - a long wall studded with 1,452 miniature cars.
The branding of the space has been rooted in craftsmanship and creativity, the food centres around a delectable hand-picked menu, the atmosphere is created by live music, and its positioning as a cultural hub space has taken off wonderfully. All of this is obvious when you step in there.
Entering the eatery space, it's almost a shock to the senses all at once. Each fascinating element in the room grabs your eye - the bamboo façade, the inviting library, the ribbed white ceiling inspired by the movement of sand dunes or the beautiful branched hand blown glass chandeliers. It's industrial yet inviting chic. For a brunch crowd, the interiors do seem a bit cramped, but the feeling is quickly dispensed once you take your seat and start enjoying the lively buzz and conversations around you. We're perhaps used to large spaces in Dubai, thanks to the luxury it had as a late bloomer city. But Intersect is a throwback to the dining spaces of our home countries, and perhaps its Japanese design influence, which maximises even the tiniest space in the best possible way.

The brunch concept follows a similar ethos. It's all about feel-good cuisine, and rather than focusing on the all-you-can-eat aspect. It's about gastronomic art and design too, served in a fun, playful manner. The menu changes weekly, and includes signatures like Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash, Chilean Seabass with Yuzu Glazed Turnips, or Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Celeriac Puree.
Amidst the live jazz music and livelier chatter, we walk up to visually savour the spread on the low slung tables, artisicially arranged, and certainly not heaped up in huge piles. After signature mocktails, the deliciously healthy salads beckon. You can truly overindulge here, without a taste of guilt, on the  Kale, Sunflower and Avocado Salad; and the Butternut with Pepitas and Pumpkin Seed Pesto, among others. Each are plated in a Masterchef-worthy manner, and are a blend of vivid and varying flavours that beautifully meld into each other.
Here is certainly not where food takes a backseat to ambience. Each dish turns out to be a palate-opening surprise, and we particularly enjoy the Spicy Cured Beef Salsa on Buckwheat Crouton, Carrot Emulsion and Yoghurt Tartine; Watermelon Gazpacho; and Squid with Sweet Corn and Wild Rice. Portions are served at the table, ensuring that you don't go overboard on any one item, and enjoy a total sensory experience with each.
The mains are equally healthy - Mushroom and Barley Risotto, Chicken with Roasted Pumpkin, Sauteed Spinach and Truffle Jus, Wagyu Tri Tip with Roast Potato and Jus, and Salmon with Pea Puree and Snow Pea Salad. Of the desserts, the most memorable is Bread and Butter Pudding with Raw Coffee and White Chocolate Custard, subtle yet delicious.
Each item on the menu looks like it's assembled in a science lab kitchen, and tastes as flavourful as farmers' market produce. Overall, Intersect by Lexus is not merely about crafting a great eating experience, but having fun while you're at it. It's in line with the new lifestyle mantra of weaving playfulness and a sense of not "taking things too seriously" in our daily life and activities. For that, we're giving this brunch a top score and game recommendation. Go enjoy it.

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