DUBAI: Chef Michael Mina, born in Cairo and raised in the US, was in Dubai recently for the launch of a new menu at MINA Brasserie with Beirut-born chef de cuisine Rami Nasser. The restaurant, at the Four Seasons Hotel DIFC, is celebrating its second anniversary on Feb. 12.
The new menu features a “raw” selection of fish carpaccio alongside meatier mains, such as Beef Short Rib Wellington. The Roasted Beetroot Salad, topped with warm goat’s cheese, is likely to become as popular as the brasserie’s Chickpea Fries with moutabel, tahini and pomegranate.
Mina, most known for his Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, also recently visited Saudi Arabia, holding a pop-up restaurant on an island in the Red Sea as part of a private event. Could a restaurant in the Kingdom be in the future? He didn’t rule it out when we caught up with him to find out more about his passion for food and future plans.
The culinary wizard revealed that through MINA Brasserie, his first international restaurant, he “learned how important it is to understand the different cultures surrounding where a restaurant is, and how to really cater to the clientele of that culture. We have such a diverse clientele in Dubai, and it’s been incredible to create a new menu at MINA Brasserie that really exemplifies the spirit of a brasserie, while also mixing in technique and global flavors that reflect how diverse and unique our guests here are.”
Beyond Dubai, Mina is excited about prospects in Saudi Arabia, and answered with a resounding “100 per cent” when asked if he would consider opening a restaurant in the Kingdom.
“It’s an exciting time. Food is such a focus for people and brings people from all over the world. It will be a big driver of the change that’s taking place there,” he said of the country’s food scene.
If he does indeed return, it won’t be Mina’s first time in Saudi Arabia — he was recently wowed by an island in the Red Sea, saying: “We did an extremely dynamic event on an island. The beauty of the island was extraordinary — it was so inspiring to be in a place like that and to understand its history and how unique our experience was.”