In The Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare writes the immortal words “If music be the food of love, play on…” And The Huntr wants to share a really great place encompassing music, food, love and play with you, dear reader. It’s situated 36 floors above Sheikh Zayed Road (#views), features an Asian/Mediterranean cuisine concept, and is bustling with the cool crowd… Meet PLAY Restaurant Dubai.
The front of PLAY’s menu is emblazoned with the words: ‘Dining redefined’. The ideal approach to kickstart any foodie adventure right? Right! And boy were we happy when we realised we could munch on sushi and pasta, simultaneously. And this isn’t just any pasta. This is carbonara pasta finished up, right before your eyes, in a giant wheel of 24 month-aged parmesan. Aptly named ‘barrel’ dishes on the menu, there’s also a ‘Risotto Barrel’ on offer built up of seasonal wild mushrooms and decadent shavings of black truffles.
The Huntr got its truffle hit from the truffle fries and we can’t recommend them enough: Perfect French fries coated in truffle salt, parmesan cheese and fresh black truffle shavings. To die. We also tried the rock shrimp, which were delicate and moreish, the only downside being that the spicy mayo cutely squeezed out in front of us from a novel paint tube, could have been a little more generous in terms of serving size. Leave an extra tube with us next time please PLAY! Another dish we wholeheartedly recommend is the crispy duck salad. Fried duck confit that is just the perfect level of crispiness is mixed with seasonal salad leaves, pomelo and then doused in a sesame plum dressing. It’s a taste sensation, with a tiny spicy kick and a punch of flavour. Divine.
A dish titled ’76 hours’ must feature on your order list and involves the most perfect Wagyu beef ribs, which have been thoughtfully de-boned and sliced into bite-size sharing portions (it’s all about the sharing dishes at PLAY) – and they literally melt in the mouth. The accompanying spicy goma dressing dances on your palette long after the tender piece of meat has melted and the dish is sprinkled with a spring onion salad, which perfectly offsets the sweetness of the spicy sauce and offers a crisp bite to the dish.
Other menu items The Huntr can’t wait to return to try include the seafood gyoza (black miso cod, seafood and citrus miso), the steamed buns (braised beef, spiced dip and cucumber), the hamachi (sliced yellowtail and herb aji Amarillo sauce), the ‘fish in a bag’ (Japanese red snapper, assorted olives and veal pancetta) and basically everything on the sushi and raw bar menus.
So, why should you visit this H Hotel eatery? In short: If you dig the ambiance of Dubai gems like Coya and Zuma, and you just wish there was a place where you could simultaneously stuff your face with pasta and sushi (we’re with you) – meet your new BFF: PLAY Restaurant Dubai. You guys are going to get on like truffle and French fries (and whatever you do, do not forget to order those).
Insider tip: The “view” tables scattered along the windows are all housed inside the expansive smoking section. If you book an early sitting you could sit in this area and not be bothered by cigarette smoke thanks to the quiet vibes (double check when you book). The Huntr can not vouch for how well the restaurant’s smoke-extraction system works (we visited at 7pm on a Saturday) but we do warn you that the smoking area is expansive and in close proximity to the non-smoking area at times. PLAY could potentially get quite smokey on a busy Thursday and Friday night, but this could easily be combatted by specifically requesting a table far away from the smoking section. PLAY Restaurant and Lounge also features an ample bar area (hence the lounge part in the name), delicious cocktails and a cool crowd on busy nights – making it a great Dubai nightlife spot, which is open until 3am daily.