Sharing a really fun one today - because I think the concept is modern, fun and almost smart casual. It’s Tasca, by 2-Michelin-star chef Jose Avillez (of Belcanto fame). This is a really new place that I haven’t seen too many reviews about, so it is one that I am absolutely thrilled to share with you guys.
Context: Went there for a pre-birthday dinner for my little sister with my mum & dad (so 4 pax.). Everything we ordered was a-la-carte without using any discount apps.
As usual, unedited shots up on my blog, edited shots and other things belong in @bibzeats on IG.
Is it Halal?
As usual, hard to say in Dubai because of the lack of certification, but no pork on the menu, I would think that this is pretty much suitable for everyone.
(I do this because a lot of people ask me about which restaurants are halal in Malaysia - something a bit more common, so just ignore this if it doesn’t apply for you)
Where it Is?
Located near to Jumeira beach, Tasca offers a beautiful view of the Dubai cityscape (despite being only on the 6th floor). It offers an almost unobstructed view to take in the Burj Khalifa from the restaurant. But ultimately it is opposite the Mercato Shopping Mall, if you are a little bit more familiar with the area.
Address: Mandarin Oriental Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Daily: 6:30pm - 11pm (I believe they do some sort of Friday brunch from 12:30pm to 4pm)
What it Costs
I think this is where I talk a bit about the concept, quite simply because I think that this is one of those places where I feel the need to do so. This is a Portuguese concept restaurant (I’m not too familiar with Portuguese food, honestly) but it has similar concepts to Spanish food - like tapas. Pretty much the concept is to share a lot of different plates of food.
Important to note that this isn’t meant to be your sophisticated fine dining food - it never meant to be! This is meant to almost be that conversation starter, that fun finger food that you just can’t stop eating. He says it himself, the concept is fun food, rather than fine dining.
So you have your usual complimentary bread and for the starters, my family had 2 servings of tuna tartare (AED65 x 2) and wagyu tartare (AED70 x 2). I say multiplied by 2 because each order has 2 of the ‘wraps’, so basically this is enough for us to try one of both of them each.
We also had 2 orders of the foie gras (AED40 x 2). This one is basically one piece of some kind of soft pastry, foie gras and a whole lot of cheese on top - so my family broke each one up into half so they we could try half each.
For the mains, we had their garlic prawn (AED60), beef tenderloin steak (AED160), the grilled scarlet shrimp (AED120), the blue lobster and prawn rice (AED110) and the bacalhau a gomes de sa - salted cod fish, potatoes & onion cream (AED70). We also had a french fries to share between us (to be honest, I’m not quite sure how my dad even ordered this, so I’m not sure about the price fo this one).
For the desserts we had 2 - we had the Tasca’s Rose Pavlova (AED65) and the Pastel de Nata (AED58) which is basically a traditional Portuguese custard with a single scoop of coffee ice cream and to finish off the meal, we had 2 bottles of local water to share (AED25 x 2 - this one is there or thereabouts)
This brings our total to AED1043 minus the price of the french fries (which I honestly am not even sure was complimentary or not, but let’s just assume it’s the case for now because I was pretty much full even without it). This makes it just over AED250 per person, so I hope this helps you gauge the price range of this restaurant.
How it Tastes
Starting off with the starters, the bread is nothing too special, but I guess that is the case most of the time with complimentary breads.
You have 2 stars of the night in their Wagyu Tartare and Tuna Tartare next, and I would say they are definitely showstoppers. Appearance-wise, they look absolutely stunning and flavour-wise, it is just delicious! Love the textures, taste and the general flavour profile you get out of both. They are similar yet really different - both have that softness but explosion of DIFFERENT flavours.
You also have that generous serving of truffles with the wagyu tartare, mixed in with the fact that you actually have 2 different cones for either. One of which being the seaweed cone (tuna) and the other one being this pastry-style cone. I’m almost surprised how sturdy, yet soft - not crunchy and not soggy - texture you get from both cones.
But I would say those are two things that you should definitely try here.
You have the foie gras next, and whilst I think it is decent, I feel as though I will understand if people not as big on cheese might not like it too much. My little sister, who doesn’t really like cheese too much passed on this simply because of the smell - but she is a little on the dramatic side admittedly - so just keep that in considering. I personally think it is okay, but a bit meh if you want me to compare it alongside the two tartare dishes.
Next up, the garlic prawns - which kinda came before the other 4 mains (making it almost a pre-main course). Kind of how you expect a bowl of delicious garlic prawns to taste like. Fragrant, tasty, and made better by the fact that the waiters offered more of their bread to go along with that garlic sauce - which is indeed really tasty. Not must-have level, but definitely just a pleasant, homely kind of dish.
Out of the next four, I’ll just talk about them in order of how much we enjoyed them.
In first place, the beef tenderloin steak. This one is just a great all-around dish. Aesthetically really pleasing with the quail egg on top, really tender and easy to cut/bite through, lots of flavour coming from the beef tenderloin itself and that’s not even it. Then you have even more flavour coming from the truffle infused sauce.
This one is just so good to the point that I’m asking myself “I’m wondering how this tastes like without the truffle infusion”. That truffle sauce almost makes this dish unfairly tasty and the best of the lot for my family. Nothing but good things to say about this dish from me.
Next up, in a respectable second, is the blue lobster and prawn rice. I would say this highlights one thing that you will have to get through if you eat here - that the food is a little bit on the saltier side - you can see this as seasoned really well or a bit salty depending on your palette, but once you get past that for this dish, this is absolutely delicious.
Just a lot of flavours, the lobster and seafood in this dish taste yummy and the rice together with the chilli/tomato based broth/sauce it is in are really tasty!
Really hard to pick out third place, but I would say the cod fish takes it. The worst part? Probably not even because of the cod fish. I would say I love EVERYTHING about the bacalhau a gomes de sa except the cod fish. The potatoes taste really nice, the sauces are really nice, the dressing on this dish really nice, but the cod fish itself kind-of falls a bit flat for me. Almost like it doesn’t belong on the plate. Honestly, apart from that, I love this dish to bits and couldn’t stop eating it.
Lastly, we also had the grilled scarlet shrimp and I feel like whilst this one was tasty, I kinda expected a little bit more in terms of bringing out the flavour, but I guess it is a pretty dish and still okay as a whole - I do see other people’s reviews about this being tasty in general, but a little bit flat for my family, personally.
My feelings towards the desserts are such that they are really tasty in general, so definitely go for a few to share! A few words of warning for the two we shared would be just to stay away from the pavlova if you’re not too big on cream cheese foam. I feel like it is a bit on the acquire taste side because I feel like I went into it expecting it to be on the really sweet side instead of the more savoury kind of cream cheese taste.
Otherwise, the pavlova is yum! Being from somewhere with a lot of egg tarts (Malaysia), the other dessert - the pastel de nata - is similar to egg tarts if you are familiar with that, but I will admit that this is one of the times I REALLY notice that coffee in that ice cream. Really yummy ice cream - even for those who won’t appreciate coffee as much!
8.5/10. I feel like I’ve said some cons which you might feel make this place a bit lower on the scoring system, but this ends up being what I believe is tied for the 2nd highest score I’ve given since I started this blog (and if you read around, you know I am quite stingy with rating points). Nice music, great service and fun food, as promised by Jose Avillez.
The one thing I would say is that this probably isn’t where you bring your family though, but rather kind of a hip dinner/late night drinks kind of place you head to at 9pm.