Toro Toro: award-winning Latin American cuisine



Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 9 January 2013

Last update 8 January 2013 10:56 pm

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Toro Toro, which means “bull bull”, is the first pan-Latin fine dining restaurant and lounge in the UAE. It offers a multitude of tastes from across South America, including Peru, Argentina, Chili, Colombia and Brazil. The restaurant is owned by South American celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval and has franchisees in Washington, DC, and Miami. Toro Toro ended first in Time Out Dubai’s list of the 10 best new restaurants in Dubai.
Located in the backyard of the Grosvenor House with a great view of the marina edge, the restaurant has two floors. Upstairs is a lounge made for those who want to eat light and enjoy good music, while downstairs is a restaurant with a smoking and non-smoking section. The decor is very dramatic, with only dark, earthy colors and dim lights: dark grey walls, hardwood floors, brown leather chairs, and oak wood tables. The restaurant features an open kitchen and art pieces that reflect the culture of Latin America.
As soon I walked in, I was welcomed by friendly bodyguards at the door, who escorted me through a red carpet and made me feel like a celebrity. Once inside, women receptionists in long black dresses help you find your table. The restaurant is very open and huge — I loved that I could see everyone and have some privacy at the same time. The staff were very friendly, and my waiter was knowledgeable and explained every item on the menu in detail.
Toro Toro just launched a new menu with amazing dishes while keeping the same quality — if not better. I tried the Ceviche De Salmon. Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, but I always had it with red snapper. However, this time I decided to change, so I went for the salmon and I didn’t regret it. It is perfectly diced salmon with tamarind sauce, leche de tigre, green onions and daikon. Executive Chef Alfredo Lazo Vidaurre recommends the Cordero A La Nortena, braised lamb shank cooked with pumpkin and aji mirasol.
The restaurant has kept its signature dishes, and we started with the Causa Toro Toro, a towered mashed potato cake topped with chopped tuna tartare, rocoto aioli, avocado and sesame. We also felt adventurous and tried the grilled octopus the waiter was highly recommending. I didn’t regret trying it, as it was tender and comes with a side of green leaves and potato salad. I could taste the freshness and charcoal in this beautiful dish and highly recommend it. As for my all-time favorite, I had been looking for good scallops in Dubai for a really long time, and I just found it in the Seared Sea Scallops. It is made with lime butter sauce, cherry tomatoes, and served with white rice.
Toro Toro is known for its grills. People have been talking non-stop about their perfect steaks and tender beef, and so we tried the Beef Fillet Anticucho Skewers, a very traditional dish. The quality of the beef was indeed very good. It is marinated in Aji Panca Marinade and served with potato corn salad and Aji Salsa. The Palomilla De Res — beautiful tender slices of beef fillet on a bed of bell pepper, onion, poblano chili strips and pepper sauce — is also highly recommended.
We also tried the Cachapas, sweet corn pancakes stuffed with hot halloumi cheese and topped with tomato jam. This dish will surprise you: We were full, but we wanted to try it, and we ended up eating it entirely. It’s very good, so don’t miss out on it.
The best part of the meal comes in the end. For desserts we had the Chocolate Fondant Cake, which was baked to perfection with a flawless combination of warm, dark chocolate cake and ice-cold vanilla ice cream with a hint of orange segments. The Tres Leches Cake is highly recommended. It is a milk-infused sponge cake served with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream.

Opening hours: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 3 a.m. on Thursday and Friday. Brunch is from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The restaurant closes on Sunday.
Expect to pay: SR 250-300.

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