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  • Writer's pictureHunger Leads

MASTERCHEF, THE TV EXPERIENCE


We visited the MasterChef Dubai restaurant in December to experience their Christmas Menu. Though they’ve heavily plugged the brand to promote the venue, labelling it the “MasterChef Experience”, there’s little to differentiate it from any other restaurant upon arrival. We were expecting a unique experience, but it seems this is limited to pre-booked Mystery Boxes where you select your own ingredients for the chefs to create a dish from, and the occasional visit from a MasterChef contestant.

Chicken Liver Pâté

The venue is pleasant, with stylish décor, a warm atmosphere and the menu created by Head Chef Margarita Vaamonde-Beggs (not a MasterChef winner), is apparently drawn from dishes created by MasterChef contestants. We weren’t there to sample those dishes though – we were there for the Christmas fare. Upon arrival you’re warmly greeted and shown to your table by friendly, professional staff, and offered a mulled wine on the welcome.


However, over the course of the dinner, we began to find our server a little too attentive. It was obviously a ‘thing’, as far as we could tell from the waiting staff interacting with other customers in the restaurant, that the staff were encouraged to banter with the guests. We soon found our waiter constantly striking up pointless conversation every time he approached our table to be tiresome. It became intrusive, and soured the experience a little.


For our starters, we opted for the Chicken Liver Pâté with sultanas, walnuts, brandy fluid gel, sumac and marshmallow toasts, and the Caribbean Christmas Mousse of braised beef brisket, sweet corn and annatto mousse, piquillos gel, olive powder, prunes, and almond opaline which we both enjoyed. The pâté was silky smooth with nice texture provided by the sultanas and walnuts, and the perfect number of crunchy toasts, and the Caribbean mousse was also a hit with tender pulled brisket in a lovely rich gravy.

Caribbean Christmas Mousse

For the mains we had the Guinness Venison Saddle which was excellent with Guinness and gingerbread demi-glace, butternut squash puree, sunchoke chips and pickled cherries. It was impeccably cooked to medium-rare, melt-in-your-mouth tender and perfectly enhanced by the rich Guinness stout gravy. The Turkey Breast Ballotine with marjoram and sweet onion stuffing, orange scented mashed potatoes, cranberry and açai gravy, and green peas, unfortunately, wasn’t such a success, being bland and dry, which is unforgiveable for a Christmas offering!

Guinness Venison Saddle
Turkey Breast Ballotine

All was forgiven after the desserts, though. The Sticky Date Lava Cake in this instance was as decadently rich, moist and sticky as was expected, paired with chai ganache and speculoos ice cream. I went for the Apple Tatin with caramelised Granny Smiths (I am a sucker for any desserts with baked fruits), crispy filo, cinnamon ice cream, ginger cookie crumb and whipped cream which was excellent.

Sticky Date Lava Cake
Apple Tatin

In summary, the Masterchef Dubai experience is a positive one, and reasonably priced for what you get. It would stand as a decent restaurant on its own, but it fails to live up to expectations when held up to the hype and glamour of the television series. In Dubai, where hype is everything and expectations are huge, this may not be a winning formula!


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