Anyone who visits Dubai goes to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. On the ground floor of the Burj Khalifa, with a stunning view of downtown Dubai and a front-row seat to the musical fountain show that happens every 20 minutes, is Armani/Kaf, Dubai’s first kosher restaurant.
It is still exciting to write “Dubai’s first kosher restaurant,” which is currently open only for dinner, although there are plans to open for lunch as well. It’s worth reserving in advance to get one of the 40 seats outside with the view.
Executive chef Fabian Fayelle, who grew up and was trained in France, told The Jerusalem Post that it was originally a challenge to adapt to kosher restrictions such as not mixing meat and dairy. French cuisine, of course, leans heavily on butter and cream. But he quickly adapted the menu.
“I really like the Mediterranean cuisine with a lot of olive oil, fish and fresh vegetables,” he said.
On a recent evening the restaurant was buzzing, as patrons enjoyed the food and the view. One family from Russia said they had come to celebrate their son’s bar mitzvah. Another table of four men was ultra-Orthodox.
The menu is international with clean flavors. The chef suggested the baba ghanoush appetizer to begin. It was very large, and was made with plenty of garlic, as it should be. We ate it with the fresh bread served to the table.
My companion, Natalie Scott from the Dubai tourism board, had the sea bass, two fillets of sea bass that looked lovely ($43).
As I keep kosher, I hadn’t had meat for several days, so I ordered the beef bourguignon at the same price. The kosher beef is flown in from Poland. There are also burgers, steaks, and even a chicken curry, which the chef said is one of their best-selling dishes.
My dish was delicately spiced with the traditional carrots and potatoes in a rich wine sauce.
For dessert, we tried the chef’s suggestion of the “signature sphere,” a delicate sugar sphere filled with exotic fruit and mango sorbet. You crack it open with a spoon, and it was truly a treat.
Chef Fayelle said that many local Emiratis had come to the restaurant, intrigued by the idea of kosher food.
Prices in Dubai are high, in general, and that is reflected here, too, with, of course, the added cost of kashrut certification and a mashgiah. But how often do you get to Dubai? A definite must-do for kosher Israelis visiting Dubai.
The restaurant is certified by local Chabad Rabbi Levi Duchman.
The writer was a guest of the Dubai Tourism Board.