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On The Menu: Café Nikki at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai

Sophisticated yet Down-to-Earth, Thursday evenings at the chic Café Nikki Dubai are all about sustainability.

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai situated on the picturesque Pearl Jumeira offers an exclusive enclave where beachfront hedonism combines with luxury living and destination dining.

With breathtaking vistas overlooking the waters of the Arabian Gulf, where azure blue swimming pools seamlessly merge with the horizon and palm trees sway to a rhythmic soundtrack straight from the Balearic Islands. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is a destination in itself and one with a distinct foodie slant.

The resorts all-day bistro, Café Nikki, focuses on light, fresh and creative presentations inspired by Nikki Beach locations worldwide. Yet Thursday evenings take a unique and altogether impressive approach, where the Director of Culinary and Creations, Cláudio Cardoso, has created a special 14-course sharing menu known as Down-to-Earth.

Down-to-Earth menu

Down-to-Earth is a constantly evolving showcase of consciously and ethically sourced products from local and international producers, the Nikki Beach Garden, and the ocean close to which the restaurants sits. 

The culinary tour de force begins with a laksa soup served inside an oyster shell. This hit of spice combined with the sweetness from the coconut opens the palate for the meal ahead and shows the culinary teams ability to balance nuanced flavours. Still, Down-to-Earth represents more than just fine food and impeccable presentation. It’s about sustainable practices and educating diners.

Down-to-Earth menu

Each dish has a story and a specific purpose and we’re suitably impressed by the Candy Tomatoes, which are sourced close to the Abu Dhabi border. Topped with caviar for a hint of salt and adorned with basil and cress handpicked from the Nikki Beach Garden, the dish is simple, colourful and undeniably fresh.

We’re enamoured by the selection of raw dishes that include seaweed tacos with kumquat, tuna cornettos and salmon salad with mango, avocado and caviar. Offering a punch of sweetness and beautiful tropical flavours that are perfectly in keeping with the beachfront locale.

With fourteen courses on display, it’s challenging to pick a favourite. The sea bass with ponzu offers a warm and cold sensation of fluctuating flavours that is quite unlike anything we’ve tried before. At the same time, the comforting NFC (Nikki Fried Chicken) provides a crisp cumin-spiced exterior that gives way to tender chicken breast complemented by a fiery chipotle Mayo.

Down-to-Earth menu

However, it’s the selection of nigiri that we will remember most fondly. Based around the notion of breakfast, the offering includes a fried egg nigiri with truffle pearls that boasts an almost velvety texture from the egg yolk, a veal bacon nigiri with ketchup and mustard, and a truffle-cured beef nigiri. It’s a playful and audacious course from the charismatic Cláudio Cardoso whose previous experience includes SUSHISAMBA (a restaurant concept coming to Dubai later this year) and a stint at Central Restaurant under the tutelage of Virgilio Martínez. Cláudio is your guide through the Down-to-Earth menu, explaining the philosophy and ingredients behind the individual elements of each dish in an engaging manner.

If you’re lucky, Cláudio may surprise you with his experimental ‘marshmallow sushi’ that presents puffed sushi rice with unagi teriyaki in a dish resembling the texture of marshmallow confectionary. It’s a playful push towards the dessert course and one that left us truly astounded. 

Down-to-Earth menu

The final course continues to play with expectations and diverse produce. Looking like a baby Chiquita banana, the vibrant yellow ‘skin’ is actually white chocolate and hides an exterior of exotic coconut and chocolate. 

Café Nikki’s Down-to-Earth menu offers a unique dining experience bursting with vibrantly coloured, peak-season produce. With the belief that making an impact starts at the dining table, the dinner series incorporates premium products, playful presentation and a strict focus on sustainability that is not to be missed.

Down-to-Earth takes place on selected Thursday evenings, from 8pm to 10pm. AED 350 per person.

GO: Follow @nikkibeachhoteldubai for reservations and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor
Dubai-based editor for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications across Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Specialised in food, hospitality, arts, culture, and travel-related content.

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