Toro Toro: award-winning Latin American cuisine

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Updated 08 January 2013
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Toro Toro: award-winning Latin American cuisine

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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In emotional reunion, Spielberg revisits ‘Schindler’s List’

Updated 55 min 31 sec ago
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In emotional reunion, Spielberg revisits ‘Schindler’s List’

  • It was the first time Steven Spielberg had watched “Schindler’s List” with an audience since it was released in 1993
  • Spielberg initially shied away from “Schindler’s List,” scripted by Steven Zaillian and based on Thomas Keneally’s novel “Schindler’s Arkansas”

NEW YORK: Steven Spielberg says no film has affected him the way “Schindler’s List” did.
Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and others reunited for a 25th anniversary screening of “Schindler’s List” at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, in an evening that had obvious meaning to Spielberg and the hushed, awed crowd that packed New York’s Beacon Theater. In a Q&A following the film, Spielberg said it was the first time he had watched “Schindler’s List” with an audience since it was released in 1993.
“I have never felt since ‘Schindler’s List’ the kind of pride and satisfaction and sense of real, meaningful accomplishment — I haven’t felt that in any film post-’Schindler’s List,’” Spielberg said.
The reunion was a chance for Spielberg and the cast to reflect on the singular experience of making an acknowledged masterwork that time has done little to dull the horror of, nor its necessity. “It feels like five years ago,” Spielberg said of making the film.
Spielberg shot the film in Krakow, Poland, in black-and-white and without storyboards, instead often using hand-held cameras to create a more documentary-like realism. Neeson remembered Spielberg running with a camera and, on the fly, directing him and Kingsley down Krakow streets. “It was exciting. It was dangerous and unforgettable,” Neeson said.
“Schindler’s List,” made for just $22 million (Spielberg declined a pay check), grossed $321 million worldwide and won seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. It also did much to educate the American public on the Holocaust. After the film, Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation, which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivors.
More needs to be done for Holocaust education, Spielberg said: “It’s not a pre-requisite to graduate high school, as it should be. It should be part of the social science, social studies curriculum in every public high school in this country.”
Making “Schindler’s List” was a profound, emotional and fraught experience for many of those involved. Kingsley recalled confronting a man for anti-Semitism during production. Spielberg said swastikas were sometimes painted overnight. Recreating scenes like those in the Krakow ghetto and at Auschwitz were, Spielberg said, very difficult for most of those involved. Two young Israeli actors, he said, had breakdowns after shooting a shower scene at the concentration camp.
“That aesthetic distance we always talk about between audience and experience? That was gone. And that was trauma,” said Spielberg. “There was trauma everywhere. And we captured the trauma. You can’t fake that. (The scene) where everyone takes off their clothes was probably the most traumatic day of my entire career — having to see what it meant to strip down to nothing and then completely imagine this could be your last day on earth.
“There were whole sections that go beyond anything I’ve ever experienced or seen people in front of the camera experience,” the 71-year-old filmmaker added.
Spielberg actually released two movies in 1993. “Jurassic Park” came out in June, and “Schindler’s List” followed in November. While he was shooting in Poland, Spielberg made several weekly satellite phone calls with the special effects house Industrial Light & Magic to go over Tyrannosaurus Rex shots — a distraction he abhorred.
“It built a tremendous amount of anger and resentment that I had to do this, that I actually had to go from what you experienced to dinosaurs chasing jeeps,” Spielberg told the audience. “I was very grateful later in June, though. But until then, it was a burden. This was all I cared about.”
“Schindler’s List” was a redefining film for Spielberg, who up until then was mostly considered an “entertainer,” associated with fantasy and escapism. Since, he has largely gravitated toward more dramatic and historical material like “Amistad,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Munich,” “Lincoln” and last year’s “The Post.”
But Spielberg initially shied away from “Schindler’s List,” scripted by Steven Zaillian and based on Thomas Keneally’s novel “Schindler’s Arkansas”. He urged Roman Polanski, whose mother was killed at Auschwitz, to make it. Martin Scorsese was once attached to direct.
Yet the making of “Schindler’s List” prompted an awakening for Spielberg, who has said his “Jewish life came pouring back into my heart.” On Thursday, the director said he wanted to make the film about “the banality of the deepest evil” and “stay on the march to murder, itself.”
To keep his sanity while shooting in Poland, he watched “Saturday Night Live” on Betamax and relied on weekly calls from Robin Williams.
“He would call me on schedule and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone,” said Spielberg. “I would laugh hysterically because I had to release so much. But the way Robin is on the telephone, he would always hang up on you on the loudest, best laugh you’d give him.”