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Buddha Bar Restaurant at Grosvenor House - Dubai, UAE

Good Sushi but Commercial


Restaurant Category : Asian, Seafood, Sushi

Buddha Bar – Dubai, UAE: A fairly new addition to the Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai, Buddha Bar is a franchise of the original and world-famous Buddha Bar in Paris.

Outside, a red carpet leads to the monumental front doors where a large doorman, or “bouncer,” guards and waits, giving the place an ultra-exclusive, Hollywood celebrity feel—a bit overdone for my taste. We booked a table about ten days in advanced. As I walked up the red carpet, I got the impression that if you didn’t have reservations and they didn’t like your look, they would refuse you and say they were full. I felt that it was too much; it was just a restaurant!

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At the front of the dining room is a huge Buddha and playing in the background is the popular Buddha Bar lounge music. As we entered, numerous waitresses bowed to us and showed us to our table. Even though we booked in advance and were there early, we got a bad table with a bad view. We asked our waitress if there was something better and they immediately moved us to a table near a wall with floor-to-ceiling windows and one with a good view of the restaurant.

The interior was very chic and trendy, but quite dark with only red draped chandeliers hanging from the lofty ceilings providing a romantic red glow. Little red candles on the tables also provided some luminosity, but barely. White table cloths and fine china, crystal and flatware adorned the tables. However, the tables and chairs were arranged so closely together that there was barely any room to walk through them.

As I had expected, the menu was impressive with a good variety of Sushi, Sashimi (what I came for) and an extensive array of other Asian infused dishes. I ordered the unagi (eel) sashimi, which I found to be very fishy; the yellow tail and tuna sashimi, which were very good; and the salmon sashimi, which was not so good. Their portion sizes were small, especially considering the exorbitant prices.

My favorite dishes were the BBQ eel and artichoke pesto—unagi, artichoke pesto, cucumber, thyme, basil and sweet soy sauce—marvelous!

Overall, the presentation of the food was poorly executed. The edamame was served in nondescript plain white dishes and our sashimi came out on a plate so large that it barely fit on our small two-top table. The service was attentive but lacked any sincerity, and it felt very commercial (which was typical for Dubai).

The concept of the Buddha Bar in Dubai is great, doubtless. We arrived at 8 and the place was empty but by 8:45 the restaurant was full, and by 10, the music picked up, the crowd was wild, and this was on a Monday night. I am happy I visited Buddha Bar in Dubai but it is not a place I would dine at again. It was over-priced and too commercial for me.

What I liked: The BBQ Eel and Artichoke Pesto, the atmosphere

What I didn’t like: The high prices, lack of a no-smoking section, commercial feel

Rating: Somewhere between bombastic and not.

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