PIC COURTESY: Toro Toro
Have I mentioned that I’m learning Spanish? While I know that going to a country and getting immersed into its culture and language helps heaps, I can’t afford that right now. Instead, I’m using an app on my phone till there comes a time when I can travel and lets just say, its going very slowly. In order to practice, I try and use Spanish phrases at any given opportunity and also translate words mid conversation, whether people would like to know or not! Can you blame this girl?
Nancy and I had dinner at Toro Toro last week, the famed Latin American restaurant located in Grosvenor House, Tower Two. It served as the perfect landscape for this new (and sometimes annoying) development as I could translate quite a few Spanish words off the menu, keeping us highly entertained for most part of the evening! As we entered the restaurant which is elegantly decorated in tones of dark wood and maroon, two “toros” welcomed us as I quickly translated for Nancy that it means “bull”. We had an “Aahh” moment and knew we were in for an enlightening evening.
Once we were seated, we were promptly served these ridiculously tasty warm cheese buns, served with a side of tomato salsa and chimichurri. We may or may not have asked for a second round of these babies.
As Nancy was designated driver for the evening, she had an Acai Mule – a refreshing mocktail made with homemade ginger beer, acai, ginger, lime juice, water and sugar. Look at that darling cup it was served in!
I love pisco sours by the way – they are one of my favorite cocktails. When I saw it on the menu, I couldn’t resist. It had the right balance of sour and sweet.
The menu concept at Toro Toro is sharing small plates. You can also go for the Churrasco & Grill option however, you might have to sit there a little while as those small plates blindside you. While they are “small”, they fill you up very quickly. After much deliberation, we decided to start with two cold small plates and two hot and take it from there.
In my world, if ceviche is on the menu, you order it. There were a few options on the menu making it very hard to decide but we finally settled on two.
Ceviche De Huachinango – sea bass, leche de tigre, avocado, onion, cilantro and orange juice. This was my favourite dish on the table. It was so fresh and the leche de tigre (Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche) that was left in the bowl – let’s just say I was grateful for the serving spoon which I used to scoop up the last drop (I’m clearly not made for fine dining).
Beetroot Ceviche – because we must eat vegetables, some say. A combination of beetroot, ponzu sauce, lime, ginger, mango curry puree and dried tomato gave it that rich, earthy flavor.
Seafood Arepas was the first of the hot plates, highly recommended by a Columbian friend and it was fantastic. Little corn cakes topped with a delicious mixture of prawns, calamari, scallops, habanero chili, garlic, onion and halloumi cheese. What could possibly go wrong here?
Chicken wings because, well, this is me we are talking about. These were in a mandarin aji panca sauce that came with a side of habanero chili dip. While the wings were tasty, I have realised that I like my wings spicy – these were on the sweeter side (I’m assuming because of the mandarin) and the habanero dip on the side could have been spicier for me.
Lamb Anticucho Skewers. The meat was tender and went perfectly with the garlic yoghurt and pickled cucumbers.
Toro Toro has an extensive cocktail and wine list, full of Latin American concoctions, and a well stocked trolley that will make you mojitos or caipirinhas by your tableside. I tried another drink with pisco in it called Isla Bonita (or the beautiful island, I pointed out to Nancy again…see? It can get a tad annoying). It was a combination of pisco, passion fruit, basil and apple juice. While I didn’t take a picture because I was so busy drinking it, I will say that drinks like these are the most dangerous. So deceptively easy to drink that it is a little bit of a delicious trouble maker.
After further contemplation of whether we wanted more food or not, we decided that we would rather order two desserts, as you do!
Nancy picked the chocolate fondant, mainly because she saw the words “chocolate” and “fondant”. While the centre wasn’t as gooey as we’d like, it was still deliciously decadent and we polished it off.
I picked the Tres Leches (three milks. I will stop now, promise). One of my favorite desserts and this one didn’t disappoint. Perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
I spoke about Toro Toro for days to come and would love to go back, perhaps to try the Hola Hola brunch after Ramadan. It’s a bit on the pricey side but if you are looking for a place to treat yourself, this one’s perfect! During Ramadan, the restaurant will be open from 8pm – 1am and until 2am on Thursday and Friday.
LOCATION – Grosvenor House, Tower Two, Dubai Marina
DISCLOSURE: We were invited by the fabulous ladies at House of Comms for a meal at Toro Toro. As always, all opinions are our own.