There’s so much joy in sharing food with loved ones. Sitting around a table, casual conversations flowing. Talking life, travel plans, how stressful and busy work is. I always find it relaxing, social, and you’ve got to admit – food also tastes so much better! Growing up, I shared everything with my brother, from his toy cars to bowls of ice cream. Grocery shopping was usually a family affair until my early teens and whenever we were in the supermarket, I was allowed to buy one chocolate and we shared it as a family. Everyone got one bite and I got the rest; maybe because I was the baby of the family (still am!).
Pots, Pans and Boards opened its doors late last month at the Beach opposite JBR, and eating there brought back a sense of nostalgia. It was my first time there but I straight away felt that it would be such a lovely place to return to with family and friends. The atmosphere is casual, relaxed, with a rustic setting which feels like you’re dining in a friend’s kitchen. A friend you really like!
The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Tom Aikens (top – left). Among his many accolades, he holds the title of being Britain’s youngest Chef to achieve two Michelin stars at the age of 26. What was I up to when I was 26? Hmm… The restaurant doesn’t have the airs of a Michelin star venue; no white linen in sight. Instead, the vibe is chilled out with reclaimed wooden tables, shelves high up to the ceiling stocked with jars, crockery, utensils, and an open kitchen layout ensuring you can see the action as it happens. When Aikens isn’t in Dubai, he’s left the restaurant in the capable hands of Head Chef Ibraheem Musleh (top – centre), who happens to be listed on Cosmopolitan ME’s top 30 most eligible bachelors for 2015! Well, well, good looking AND he cooks!
The menu features a mix of English, Mediterranean and French dishes, with everything served in pots, pans or on boards – as the name suggests. Hanging copper pots and pans, old kitchen knives and an assortment of cleavers stuck to the walls of antique kitchen tiles gave both, Namrata and I, a serious case of kitchenware envy!
From the snacks and bites selection, our favourites were the ice packed gordal olives topped with orange zest, white bean and black garlic hummus, ricotta with dry herbs and aged balsamic, and shrimps with lemon and aioli (below – left). Served on boards, we liked the smoked cod with orange and black olive pesto (below – right), and cecina de leon (cured beef) with pickled mushrooms and manchego cheese.
From the pots and pans selection, we enjoyed the roasted salmon with black squid ink rice and baby squid, lamb meatballs with harissa, mint, and roasted tomato sauce, and my favourite dish of the evening – malt glazed short rib with crispy onion and celeriac truffle (below – left). One giant rib with sticky sweet glazed meat which literally fell off the bone.
Another lovely dish to share is the Raz al Hanout (North African spice) chicken served with glazed heritage carrots (above – right).
Vegetarian friends, don’t worry as there’s some great options for you too. We tried the ratatouille with creamy strained yogurt and herbes de provence, and sides of mac n cheese, green beans and shallots, and roasted vegetables.
For dessert, we tried the Lemon zest cheesecake with berry ice cream, milk chocolate and caramel tart with praline ice cream, homemade Chelsea buns with salted caramel, red fruit and apple crumble with toasted almond ice cream, and my favourite which was the pavlova with mixed berries and passion fruit curd.
Pots, Pans and Boards is a great new addition to The Beach and if you’re looking for a memorable evening with delicious food in a relaxed setting – look no further!
We’ll leave you with this video Namrata created of Chef Tom preparing his version of beef tartare for our group that fine evening. Two thumbs up, I cant wait to go back!
Where’s your favourite casual place to go to for a family meal? Do leave a comment and let us know, especially about what you think of the video.
LOCATION – The Beach, opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
DISCLOSURE: We were invited to a preview of Pots, Pans and Boards and I was floored! As always, all opinions are our own.