Join your friends at The Huntr as we present an exclusive look at Portuguese chef José Avillez’s first restaurant in the UAE (and his first concept outside of Portugal) and take a virtual tour around Tasca Dubai…
Located on the sixth floor of the opulent Mandarin Oriental Jumeira hotel, Tasca by José Avillez is flooded with natural light thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer a magnificent view of the iconic Dubai skyline. Featuring a natural colour palette and wooden elements, The Huntr loved the greenery and potted plants hanging from the ceiling, which when paired with the cool sea breeze (we visited in January) instantly transported us to a dreamy vacation. An elegant ‘feeling fancy‘ spot – but with a relaxed, casual vibe – Tasca is open for lunch and dinner daily and runs a Friday brunch. There’s ample seating for small and large groups and The Huntr recommends reserving a table outside to bask in the glory of the winter sun and views (if the weather permits).
The menu offers a sharing style selection of small bites, main courses, vegetarian-friendly options and daily specials. The Huntr visited for a weekend lunch. We whetted our appetites with the delectable complimentary house bread, which comes with (amazing) smoked butter, Kalamata olives and hummus. From the small bites section of the menu we opted for the Tuna Tartare (70AED for 2 pieces) – two Blue Fin tuna tartare cones with truffle, mustard and pickles, which were so good that we could have easily eaten ten of them. The Tempura Cod Cake (45AED), which is crafted with dehydrated peri peri, coriander, sprouts, lime and lemon and again, we could have eaten at least double. And then from the dishes to share section, we ordered the Garlic Prawns (70AED for 7 pieces) with chili, which are perfectly cooked in EVO (which we greedily mopped up with bread once we had devoured the prawns). The Bacalhau á Gomes De Sá (80AED) – salted codfish with potatoes and onion cream, which was finished at the table and featured a divine mix of flavours and textures. The ‘Lagareiro’ Roasted Octopus (80AED) with potatoes and garlic, which is cooked for 6 hours and it shows because the tender octopus literally melts in your mouth. The faultless Beef Tenderloin Steak (175AED), which is topped with fried quail eggs and truffle sauce and comes served with your choice of fries or vegetables. And last but not least, the Portuguese classic – Piri Piri Chicken (110AED), which comes with smoked avocado cream and fries and was totally delicious. It’s impossible for us to pick a favourite dish – everything was wonderful, and we adored the simplicity, presentation and great mixed of flavours in each plate.
To end one of the nicest lunches we’ve had of late on a sweet note, we shared two desserts. Tasca’s Rose Pavlova (65AED), which comes wrapped like a gift and is totally picture-perfect and the iconic Portuguese Pastel De Nata (58AED), which comes with coffee cream and is a must-order for all pastel de nata fans.
The bar is fully licensed and offers a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We tried the Treasure (85AED), which comes in a cute treasure box wrapped with pearls and is made with rum, vanilla, grand mariner and vermouth aged in the conquerors old barrels. And the 6th Floor (45AED) mocktail, which is a creamy, fruity and slightly sour mix of grapefruit, strawberry, pineapple and spices.
Tasca is the perfect spot to enjoy incredible food, great service and amazing views with friends, loved ones or business associates that you want to impress. It would also make a cracking spot to celebrate your birthday or a special occasion and we imagine that popping in for an after-work cocktail and a small bite would also be rather lush here.
Insider tips: Complimentary valet parking at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira (get your ticket stamped/validated). Open daily from 12.30noon until 3pm for lunch and 6.30pm until 11pm until dinner. Friday brunch runs from 12.30noon until 4pm. Smart casual dress code. 2pm onwards is the busiest period (plus evenings). Smoking only permitted outside, inside non-smoking throughout.