Get yourself a reservation at one of the coolest places in town…
There are a lot of expectations resting on the shoulders of Canary Club, the latest opening from Joey Ghazal, the restaurateur behind Dubai’s beloved restaurants, The Maine. It is therefore with enthusiasm that we head to the grounds of the Banyan Tree residences of JLT, during the second week of activity of the Canary Club.
A lit neon sign in canary yellow emblazoned on the side of the building tells us we’ve come to the right place, and once inside the ground floor entrance, a trio of glamorous stewardesses in jumpsuits Shimmering emerald greens offer one of the warmest welcomes we’ve ever received upon arrival at a restaurant. We take the elevator to the first floor, and although this short journey takes only a few seconds, those brief seconds transport us from Dubai in 2022 to California decades earlier.
The Canary Club certainly looks fabulous. Cozy cabins are finished in dark leather and wood, there are plants climbing the stone walls, and an open galley is a welcoming invitation to watch the culinary team work their magic right before your eyes. Intricate details are everywhere you look, and no corner is without something worth looking at. By the way, regardless of the chandelier workshop for all restaurants in Ghazal, this is a name we need in our contact book.
The menu is designed as an ode to a California restaurant, and there are influences from Japan, Mexico, and all of Latin America. Ceviches, sushi, salads and bowls sit alongside a robata grill section, as well as a collection of pizzas finished with divisive toppings like chicken and pineapple; end of rib and burrata; and oyster mushrooms.
We start with a duo of ceviches, both perfectly presented. The Yuzu Scallop (Dhs95) is bursting with fruity flavor, thin strips of fresh scallop covered in a cucumber yuzu and topped with crispy puffed rice and a hint of red chilli. A Peruvian tropical sea bass ceviche (Dhs65) is another mouth-watering blend of sweet and spice, with cubes of sea bass, yellow pepper and passion fruit swimming in a light coconut milk. Of the small dishes, the aji atun tostada (Dhs85) doesn’t quite get the ratio of corn tostada to tuna garnish quite right, and we would have liked a bit more miso shiro dressing.
After some debate we opt for the Spicy Tuna (Dhs85) from the sushi options, served on a palm leaf shaped glazed plate. The taco-maki options are all appealing, and after trying both the tuna belly with caviar and wasabi (120 Dhs) and the Wagyu tataki with seared foie gras (95 Dhs), we don’t know why they don’t. not appear on more menus. Nori and sesame shaped into a taco shell are lined with sticky rice, before being packed with the aforementioned toppings.
Of the main courses, we choose to share the blackened cod (Dhs160) and a side of crunchy steamed broccolini (Dhs35), both of which are excellent. The mirin marinade is deliciously thick and adds a rich glaze to the cod flakes.
We order the flourless chocolate cake (Dhs58) to end a fantastic meal, and it’s as indulgent as we’d hoped. The crunchy coconut base is topped with creamy chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt, served with a perfectly risen meringue. It somehow tastes better with every bite.
JLT is one of the city’s most exciting foodie districts for local restaurants, but Canary Club has managed to find a niche in the market. And we’re clearly not the only ones thinking so, with every seat in the house full days after opening. It’s glitzy but not pretentious, the menu makes you want to come back for more, and the hand-picked team really cares about making sure every guest has a great time.
Canary Club, Banyan Tree Residences, JLT, 12pm-1am Sunday-Thursday, 12pm-2am Friday-Saturday. Tel: (0)4 584 5999, canaryclub.com
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