Pots, Pans & Boards
This had to be my favorite and most exciting tasting thus far, as a blogger; and a chef. Last week I was invited for a sneak preview of Tom Aiken's newest venture in Dubai - Pots, Pans & Boards which is now open at The Beach JBR. The best part of the tasting? - Tom Aikens was actually in the kitchen cooking!! - The chef in me wanted to jump up and down screaming when I walked into the restaurant but the blogger in me insisted on "being cool". It took all I had in me not to be a stuttering fan girl that night! Tom Aikens is one of England's most coveted chefs and at the age of 26, became the youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin stars, he accomplished this as head chef of Pied à Terre (a restaurant I urge everyone to try on their next trip to London). Trained under the best of the best such as Jöel Robuchon and Pierre Koffman, his Dubai concept is much more relaxed and gives you a much needed break from all the fine dining restaurants opening up recently. The restaurant offers a mixture of English, Mediterranean and French dishes served in either a pot, a pan, or on a board. Very family friendly with large portions, decent prices and a sharing concept, perfect for a casual night out. Walking into this restaurant felt like walking into someone's old fashioned rustic home kitchen with a range of copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, old kitchen knives and large heavy cleavers stuck into the walls of antique kitchen tiles, and, my favorite, a wonderfully large pantry stocked with fresh herbs, spices and ingredients that Chef Tom mentioned took them several trips to the spice market and days to organize. From the customized napkins, to the signage out on the front door, to the home-away-from-home set up, the branding for this restaurant is exceptional.
When we got over the interiors and finally sat down for dinner, I couldn't wait to taste the magic that was going to come out of that kitchen. One after the other the dishes just kept rolling out to our beautifully polished, rustic wooden table - and everything was so delicious foodies, there wasn't anything that I disliked, but obviously I had my favorites, so, here goes:
The ice packed Gordal Olives finished off with some fresh lemon zest - The ice intensifies the flavor and gives them more of a bite - YUM! The White Bean and Black Garlic Hummus served with some crispy paper thin bread. The Ricotta with dry herbs and aged balsamic - my favorite amongst the favorites! That was some serious Balsamic. The Beef Carpaccio with vine cherry tomato and rocket pesto. The Beef Tartare (possibly the best one I have tasted thus far), which was assembled in front of us by Chef Tom as a demo - his version is served with crispy onions, fried capers and topped with a perfectly poached egg yolk which had been cooked sous vide for a few hours at a temperature of about 55 degrees celcius. Hello perfection! The Malt Glazed Short Ribs (braised for 72 hours) served with crispy onion rings and celeriac truffle - THIS was to die for and also Chef Tom's favorite off the menu - it was all gone before I even got a chance to take a picture! So. Good. The Ra's El Hanout whole roast chicken - literally Ra's El Hanout translates into "Top/head of the shop" implying that the spices used are the best available - a mix of spices usually associated with Morocco and other North African countries. The Roasted Salmon (which had the most perfectly crispy skin), served with black rice and baby squid.
For dessert the 3 must-try dishes in my opinion were:
The Pavlova with passion fruit curd, fresh berries and lime zest. Very refreshing! The milk chocolate and salted caramel tart with praline ice cream (this was heavenly). The Homemade chelsea buns served with a salted caramel sauce - these are completely made from scratch on site, right from the levent, to making the dough, to resting and knocking it back, adding dried fruit, zest, and a homemade syrup of reduced apple juice, cider vinegar and spices and finally glazing it as soon as it gets out of the oven. Absolutely divine.
Oh, and the best part of the night foodies, was to come home and find, that Tom Aikens followed you back on instagram! :O That was the icing on top of a lovely evening!
Pots, Pans & Boards is now open to public, definitely add it to your list, you won't regret it!
Thanks for reading! xo