Competing in the UAE for the title of ‘new cool spot’ or ‘celebrity hangout’ is no easy feat, yet Zengo seems to have effortlessly taken both titles and we’re not surprised…
Tucked away at the end of long quiet walkway, it is all about first impressions here and that they do to a tee. Greeted at the door by a suited and booted gent we were politely welcomed before being sent upstairs to the bar for an aperitif. Dark, moody and oh so stylish, the set-up makes you want to don your Sunday best, every day. It’s Mad Men meets Sex And The City – in every good way imaginable.
There is a nod to the South American and Asian influences from the decor to the modern vibe, which is upbeat, yet sultry, funky but not over the top. It’s definitely the place to be and be seen, but not in a pretentious way.
You can’t start the night without a drink at the bar first. Specialising in exotic, classic and unique cocktails the mixologists can tailor any drink to your tastes and certainly serve them with original panache. The Tokyo Express – Zengo’s taste on an Old Fashioned – was served in a glass wrapped in newspaper; a nod to the prohibition times.
The menu says: Sensuous. Exquisite. Delectable. Usually we would say that’s boastful, but then Zengo’s celebrity chefs Richard Sandoval and Akmal Anuar have the skills to carry it off.
As with most modern restaurants the menu is based on a sharing concept. Portions are decent and the flavours such that you’ll ditch the calorie counting and go for it. For the starters (which are separated into cold, and hot small plates, soups, salads and sushi) order the Angry Zengo sushi (it has a slight bite but not overbearingly so) and the foie gras maki with mango, which is a genius sweet and smoky combo.
For the main it’s all about the meat and Zengo is the first place in Dubai to actually serve Blackmore Wagyu (widely regarded as the world’s number one beef). It is slowly cooked and served with fries cooked in duck fat. The restaurant is predicting this will be so popular that they’re even thinking about getting their own Blackmore cow – named Zengo, of course.
Finally, when it comes to dessert, you can be forgiven for opting for the usual chocolate option as the dark chocolate pudding with honeycomb cake and honey ice cream is not to be missed. A fittingly decadent end to the evening.
If you want style and substance this is the place for you.
The cocktails and the food and the vibe – everything, really.
Zengo | Le Meredien Beach Resort & Spa | Al Sufouh Road | (04) 3995555