Every now and then, a concept comes along and blows our socks off. Andes Dubai is one such concept. An inventive, experimental, South American fine dining gem, Andes toys with fire and smoke and experiments with the elements with superb success. Read on for the full review…
Located in One Central and walking distance from the Trade Centre Metro Station (there is also dedicated, complimentary valet parking), Andes is open for breakfast and lunch during the week (when it closes at 6pm), breakfast, lunch and dinner on Fridays (until 11pm) and breakfast and lunch on Saturdays.
This homegrown concept is the brainchild of Hassan Jaffar who hails from “leafy North London”. Jaffar first thought of the idea when he was working in ‘The Big Smoke‘ and tapped Head Chefs Sebastian Jimenez and Salvador Sanchez along with Master Baker Alejandro Carmona (who plays a key role in the breakfast offering) to bring his vision to life. Mexican born Sebastian, Salvador and Alejandro have all trained in 2 and 3-star Michelin restaurants in Western Europe. Impressive stuff.
The ambience at Andes is buzzy and rather splendid. Designed by local firm Swiss Bureau, we loved the earthy grey, copper and gold colour palette, the (faux) trees and the cosy, inviting lighting. Plus, the huge open kitchen provides oodles of entertainment as you watch Sebastian, Salvador and the team, prepare, assemble and add the finishing touches to their edible artworks.
“The openness of the restaurant conveys a ‘wide screen’ view into the culinary showmanship of the food. And when the good weather arrives, the entire shop front will open up to create a larger and more permeable venue that pours out onto the winter terrace, with a cocoon of outdoor seating,” Jaffar told The Huntr.
The Huntr visited Andes for breakfast and ended up staying for lunch – and if that isn’t a good sign, we don’t know what is.
Breakfast at Andes is unlike anything else we’ve experienced lately. How charming and decadent to have a fine dining experience, over coffee, so early in the day? Served until 12 noon, the breakfast menu features a host of interesting dishes, which all incorporate unique twists on the early morning classics. We opted for the Andes Pain de Mie (46AED) – poached eggs, tomato confit, broccolini and watercress. The tomato confit is cooked for 5 hours and is really something else. Don’t miss it. The Lamb Omelette (62AED) is comprised of avocado, chickpea puree, Andes sourdough, mature cheddar and shredded, tender lamb in an omelette and the (absolutely stunning) French Toast (42AED) is crafted using tonka and white chocolate, grilled peaches, smoked almonds, and a masala syrup.
Feeling pretty chuffed with our breakfast experience, we decided to stick around for lunch. Two complimentary palate teasers arrived whilst we perused the next menu. Served from 12:30 onwards, the lunch offering at Andes includes a tasting menu deal (2-courses, water and coffee/tea for 85AED and 3-courses, water and coffee/tea for 110AED), as well as a la carte options.
From the 3-course lunch tasting menu, we selected the Pasta to start, which featured homemade, fresh pasta with smoked button mushrooms and 12-month aged Comte cheese. Mouthwatering. And for mains, the Pollo – grilled corn-fed chicken with bean puree, new plums, beetroot and onion demi sauce. Spot on. Last but not least, for dessert, Andes Mountains – dark chocolate, hazelnuts, black sesame and tonka ice cream. The mini brownies were arranged like little mountain peaks and melted in the mouth.
From the al la carte menu, we ordered the Humo (78AED) – smoked octopus, black quinoa risotto, Reblochon, purple potato, and Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce. Served with a side of drama, Instagram at the ready! And the Brisket (58AED), a 12-hour smoked Angus brisket, with sweet potato puree, pickled cucumber, shallot confit and dill, and grilled celeriac. Melt-in-your-mouth meat and all the flavours, superb.
Drinks-wise, Andes is alcohol-free and serves a wide variety of speciality coffees, organic teas, mocktails and soft drink concoctions. Some will be delighted to learn that Andes also serves up Kombucha (20AED).
Dinner is an 8-course blind tasting menu that changes completely every week. Guests can join by invitation or reservation only, and at present, it is only available on Fridays. Jaffar told us: “It’s a wholly unique experience where the lights dim down and the music flares up – celebrating a truly theatrical experience of inventive and experimental fine dining.”
So the only thing that remains is… Why are you still here reading this? Add Andes to your hitlist and make a booking now. One thing is for certain – The Huntr’s new favourite is sure to make you smile…
Insider tip: For a truly theatrical experience close to the action, book the small chef’s table that faces the open kitchen. Reservations recommended.