Located under the impressive 210-metre-high Dubai Eye observation wheel, The London Project Dubai offers an immersive dining experience on Bluewaters Island. Join The Huntr as we present our full review…
Encompassing a restaurant, bar and “social space”, the interiors, food, art and music at The London Project have all been curated to celebrate the UK capital. The brainchild of Stephen Valentino and Keith West, the cuisine is inspired by a mix of street food from the boroughs of London and fine dining fare from the Big Smoke’s well-heeled neighbourhoods (meaning you can have a casual dining experience or throw caution to the wind and celebrate a special occasion, fine dining style).
The interiors are outlandishly beautiful and inspiring. Think over-the-top greenery, colour pops of copper and brass, artistic murals and flamboyant little furnishings. Created to offer multiple experiences – day or night – this Bluewaters Island gem is divided between The Living Ground Floor Dining Bar, which has been inspired by the form of a tree and is framed by a leafy canopy and The Gin Garden – a wild, enchanted English country garden vibe complete with nature-inspired art. There is also a relaxing terrace outdoor seating area with jaw-dropping views of JBR, Dubai Marina and the ocean.
Built to share, the menu is divided between ‘Sharing Plates (Small)’ – ideal for matching with drinks at the bar or whetting one’s appetite at a sit-down lunch or dinner and features dishes like ceviche, buttermilk chicken, burrata and more, ‘Sharing Plates (Medium)’, which offers champagne-battered fish & chips, salads and pasta, ‘Sharing Plates (2-4 People)’, which encompasses freshly-shucked oysters, a decadent seafood tower, charcuterie and cheeses. ‘Chargrilled’, which offers three different kinds of steaks, ‘Flat Breads’, ‘Sides’ and ‘Desserts’.
To kickstart our culinary journey through London (on a manmade island in the middle of the sea in Dubai, no less!), The Huntr shared four starters, the Pulled Beef Soft Shell Tacos (70AED), which comprises perfectly-tender braised beef in a soft-shell purple potato tortilla with black garlic mayo, the Ika Mata Ceviche (65AED), a Southern Pacific-style ceviche marinated in coconut cream, red onion, tomato, chillis and chives, the Heirloom Tomato Burrata (75AED), a variety of locally-grown tomatoes served with burrata, parsley oil and fresh basil and the Nordic Cured Salmon (70AED) – house-made cured salmon gravlax with salmon caviar, compressed cucumber, citrus and radishes. Each dish was flavourful, fresh, beautifully-presented and impressive.
For the main event, we opted for the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Gnocchi (120AED), delicious house-made potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms, slow egg and porcini beurré (butter) monte and the Wagyu Panchia (flatbread) (110AED) – hand-rolled, fire-baked bread topped with tomato sauce, red onion, bocconcini, arugula, confit garlic and locally-made panchia.
Drinks-wise, The London Project is fully licensed, features a stand-alone bar area and offers a variety of champagne, wines, beers (including Meantime draft London lagers), cocktails, soft drinks, speciality coffee, tea and more. We tried The Queen Bee (69AED), which pays homage to the Italian honey bees in the Buckingham Palace gardens and is crafted with Chase Marmalade, Vodka, Imperial Honey and Espresso, and the Citrus Tipple (73AED) – Tanqueray No.10 gin, pink grapefruit caviar, lemon, orange, Chase elderflower liqueur and premium tonic.
Unfortunately what lets The London Project down is the service, which has been consistently disappointing (bar a breakfast visit detailed below) every time we have visited since the first. It takes a long time to catch the attention of the waiting staff (despite there being many), there’s a lack of initiative and communication and it can be frustrating at times.
Since The Huntr published this review, we returned to experience The London Project’s breakfast spread and speciality coffee – both impressed us. Available from 9am daily (and until 12noon on weekdays and 1pm on weekends), the breakfast menu features ample vegetarian options and a couple of vegan-friendly dishes. We sampled the Smashed Avocado (65AED), which is comprised of beetroot hummus, goats cheese, 2 poached eggs, pumpkin seeds and arugula on a fig toast and might just be the best avocado toast we’ve tried in Dubai (bold shout, we know. But yum!) Plus the equally delicious Eggs Benedict (65AED), which offers three options – smoked salmon, (beef) bacon or mushrooms and spinach – we went with the latter. The coffee is superb and there various specialities on offer including black, milk-based, filter and drip coffees. We enjoyed two perfect flat whites (21AED), one with almond milk (2AED extra and coconut milk and soy are also available) and one with good old full-fat cows. The free WiFi on offer, al fresco setting and inspiring interiors make this the perfect spot to come and study or get some work done, enjoy a business brainstorming session (as we did) or just sit back and relax with great food and coffee. Don’t miss it.
Insider tip: If the weather permits, reserve a table outside for a breathtaking view while you dine. Construction is still ongoing at Bluewaters Island (as of January 2019). Smoking is only permitted on the terrace outside. Open daily from 9am until late (1/2am depending). A new Happy Hour promotion titled ‘London Hour’ gets you buy1get1free drinks between 4.30pm and 7.30pm on weekdays.