DUBAI: Gordon Ramsay’s television shows have been supremely successful — thanks in large part to his ‘fiery’ on-camera persona and liberal use of swear words — and have transformed the Scottish chef into a global culinary icon.
But beyond the world of showbiz, Ramsay is a shrewd businessman; a restauranteur who has well and truly made his mark in the region.
The Brit was one of the first ‘household names’ to open a restaurant in the UAE — Verre at the Hilton Dubai Creek — in 2001, a time when few international chefs had the GCC on their radar.
Verre remained a hit throughout its decade-long run, and a second restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, arrived at Atlantis The Palm in 2015.
Late 2018 saw the soft launch of Ramsay’s third venture in the emirate at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.
Hell’s Kitchen Dubai is rapidly gaining popularity among the city’s foodies and cool-hunters.
Thankfully, though, this place is not just another contributor to Instagram fluff; you can expect great-tasting comfort food at reasonable prices.
For fans of the reality show of the same name, the excitement is two-fold — walking into HK is like walking onto the Los Angeles set, including an almost-identical open kitchen, with cooks wearing similar uniforms. Even when he’s not present, Ramsay keeps a watchful eye over everyone — a huge poster of the chef adorns the wall facing the kitchen.
Even though Ramsay was once quoted as saying, “Swearing is industry language. You’ve got to be boisterous to get results,” there’s no shouting or screaming to be heard from the kitchen.
Which is a good thing, because we’ve got a feeling diners wouldn’t take too kindly to their meals being interrupted by someone having a hissy fit nearby.
In fact, the staff are warm, welcoming and friendly. We were seated outside and proceeded to peruse the menu. Diners have the choice of ordering individually or choosing the Gordon’s Signatures Menu (AED 360), which comprises a starter, main course and dessert.
My dining partner and I opted to share the heritage tomato burrata salad, with 20-year aged balsamic vinegar and crystallised basil. It was divine. Fresh, flavourful and wickedly creamy, it was a great introduction to what was to come.
For the main, we were recommended the Beef Wellington, apparently the restaurant’s signature. Including potato puree, glazed root vegetables and a ‘red wine’ demi-glace, which FYI is a fancy grape juice and alcohol-free — result!
The HK Burger, another recommendation, was added to the order.
My dining partner was transported into a state of bliss upon their first bite of the latter. “I think I have found the best burger in Dubai,” they exclaimed.
Tasting it, I had to agree; it would certainly be in my top five, anyway. A juicy beef patty, complemented by beef bacon, avocado, Fresno pepper jam and crispy onions — and a side of jack cheese fries. It was a heavenly combo. The Wellington, sadly, paled in comparison.
And considering the price difference – the HK Burger and Beef Wellington are priced at AED 125 and AED 210, respectively, I was left to regret my choice. I got to experience what #BurgerEnvy feels like.
The dessert made everything better though. Our shared sticky toffee pudding with speculoos ice-cream vanished in about 10 seconds, and we would have happily ordered another if it hadn’t been closing time.
The first HK restaurant arrived at Caesars Palace Las Vegas in 2018, and reportedly received around 12,000 reservations in just 10 days. While the Dubai version can’t be expected to bring in those kinds of numbers, we predict the restaurant will be attracting fans from all over. And expect word to get around quickly about that HK Burger. Try it – you will not regret it.