Say hello to Carine Dubai – Chef Izu Ani’s new baby…
Tucked away beside the rolling green hills of the Emirates Golf Club and just a stone’s throw away from the Nakheel metro station, you will find Carine Dubai – an elegant French/Mediterranean restaurant with a casual dining philosophy.
The brainchild of Chef Izu Ani – ex La Petit Maison chef, and the man behind La Serre, The Lighthouse and Izu Brasserie and Bakery – Izu named this new Emirates Hills gem after his wife, Carine – who also takes care of HR at Ani’s YSeventy7 F&B agency.
One foot inside Carine and you can’t help but draw comparisons between this eatery and Izu’s previous ventures – La Serre and The Lighthouse. Relaxing white walls are contrasted by wooden and dark elements found in the tables, chairs, bread display, marble and tiles. A colourful fruit and veggie display flanks the chef’s working in the open kitchen area (an Izu Ani signature), there’s a tempting array of freshly baked bread and pastries on display, a fully licensed bar and elegant feeling throughout – albeit, a relaxed and casual one.
The menu features a tempting array of dishes inspired by French and Mediterranean cuisines and everything is created to be shared – another Izu signature. There are no stuffy fine dining rules here, Carine is very much a casual place at heart but it still feels elegant enough for a special occasion, like a birthday or to impress a client. The service is swift and accommodating, and the food is simple but utterly superb.
To start our Saturday afternoon lunch, The Huntr whetted our appetites with complimentary fresh bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We ordered the Carine’s Martini (65AED) from the cocktail menu and pored over the menu. We opted to share three starters – the Grilled Harissa Prawns (55AED), which were perfectly tender and sweet with a harissa kick, the Watermelon with Feta Cheese, Almond Flakes and Basil (55AED) – the best thing we’ve eaten in a long while, so simple but so beautifully balanced and fresh. Do not miss it. And the Apple, Green Beans and Foie Gras Salad with Walnuts (65AED), which was also delicious.
Moving on to the main event, we ordered three main courses to share and three side dishes plus a glass of Pinot Grigio Dell Venezie (55AED) and Harmonie de Gascogne (55AED). The Campenelle Pasta with Lamb and Tomato (80AED), which was on the specials menu and was rich and comforting, the Grilled Rib Eye with Padron Peppers (280AED), which is a huge portion of tender and perfectly-seasoned rib eye meat, and goes wonderfully with the Pomme Frites (25AED), and last but not least – the Spicy Marinated Lamb Saddle with Parsnip Puree and Tomato Compote (185AED), tender and truly a taste sensation.
From the desserts menu, we selected the Passionfruit Cheesecake (45AED), Tiramisu (50AED) and the Molten Brownie Marshmellow with Anglais Cream (55AED), the latter of which was a little too sweet for our palettes. Perhaps we should have ordered coffees to offset the sugar.
Final thoughts? Carine is a strong contender for Emirates Hills’ (and maybe the New Dubai Area in general) best new restaurant and the perfect place to visit for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner – whether for a casual weeknight or to celebrate a special occasion. It magically ticks both boxes – and we can’t wait to return in the winter to enjoy that lovely looking patio area with views of the golf course. It’s a solid overall 8.5 from The Huntr. Add it to your hitlist now.
Insider tip: Carine is open daily from 9 am for breakfast, lunch is served until 3 pm and dinner starts at 6 pm. Bookings encouraged.