We’ve been waiting with anticipation for the opening of Andes, Dubai’s latest South American restaurant. Having admired the artful images strategically placed across the restaurants Instagram feed in the months prior to launch, the marketing strategy successfully worked to build our anticipation for the opening.
On arrival the venue is smaller than expected with the entrance marked by elegant bronze lettering. Andes’ dining room is decorated pleasantly and features a small bar area and an open show kitchen in which you can watch the chefs artfully plating dishes. In the middle of the room rise a number of slender trees complete with green and purple foliage, while an outside terrace (currently closed) has the capacity for an additional 70 covers once the weather cools down.
Andes may’ve only been open a month, meaning their alcohol license is still under process, but the bar manages to churn out some decent mocktails and the addictive milk-based horchata. Service is particularly strong (a rarity in the city, even for well-established restaurants) with staff well versed in all aspects of the menu, from the preparation of the dishes through to the exact origins of specific ingredients.
A meal at Andes begins with a couple of amuse-bouche compliments of the kitchen. A simple sourdough, honey and cheese combination arrives plated upon a rock. An effective device used to introduce us to the geological terrain of the Andes Mountains and a showcase for the quality South American ingredients.
The term ‘earthy’ springs to mind when dining at Andes, for the cuisine is plated upon rocks, slates and some truly impressive crockery. These elements work in conjunction with the texture of the food to continually bring us back to the idea of nature – grasslands, mountains, deserts and oceans – all integral elements of the South American landscape. A technique that has been used to great effect at other South American eateries in Dubai, most notably Lima over in CityWalk.
While the food certainly impresses, offering an adventurous dining experience and education in food. The sweetbreads pasta (AED 66) is a prime example, with the ribbons of fresh al dente pasta working alongside the flavour of mushrooms and the creamy sweetbreads. A niche ingredient derived from the pancreas that you won’t find on many menus in Dubai.
Similarly, the humo (AED 78) is a fantastic dish and quite possibly the restaurants signature. Comprising a lone octopus tentacle, beautifully tender due to a three hour ‘massaging process’ and served alongside purple potatoes and a Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce. Cheese is not something we would expect to complement octopus, but the flavours work surprisingly well. Though we would note that the presentation which involves chocolo (Peruvian corn) is entirely unnecessary, considering the octopus is moved onto a separate plate for serving.
Unfortunately, the Masa Madra (AED 38) a dish of calamari and lime emulsion is far too acidic and the yellowfin tuna ceviche (AED 56) is somewhat underwhelming in comparison to the colourful presentation, but these brief lulls are easily remedied especially considering how new the concept is.
Main courses revolve around various meats and are particularly good. The Criolla (AED 86), Angus picanha served with Savoy cabbage, smoked potato puree and Andes mole is a wonderful choice of meat. The Cordero (lamb chops served with fermented berry sauce, parsnip purée, smoked tapioca, cacao nibs) and the Pollo (grilled corn-fed chicken accompanied by bean purée and new plums) are also of significant note, but it’s the 12 hour smoked brisket (AED 58) which won our hearts with its sweet potato puree and shallot confit. All meats served at Andes hail from Australia and the USA and the quality is immediately evident, with the unique Andean ingredients working wonders in elevating the plates.
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➕ ALL THE MEATS ➕ . . . The meats take centre stage when dining @andesdubai. Pollo, Cordero, Brisket and Carne all come embellished with hints of South America. With the majority of main courses priced at less than AED 100 there’s exceptional value for money too 🍖 🥩 🍗 . . . . #gastronogram #finedininglovers #chefstagram #artofplating #dubairestaurants #dubaieats #foodstagram #foodcritic #restaurantreview #dubaifood #wheretoeat #foodiepics #foodshots #foodspiration #restaurantstory #foodieheaven #foodtourism #chefsfeed #menwithcuisines #f52grams #beautifulcuisines #wheretoeatdubai #foodtraveller #restaurantlife #bestrestaurants #interiorgoals #beautifulrestaurants #andesdubai #carne #invited
While the smoking process undertaken by the octopus provided a subtle and delicate layer to the dish, the same cannot be said for the The Andes Mountains (AED 48). A dessert of dark chocolate, hazelnuts and back sesame, presented in a bell jar and cut into triangles to resemble the mountain range of the restaurants namesake. While the ingredients offer much appeal, the smoke permeates everything with the exception of the delightful tonka ice cream, resulting in an overwhelming dessert that requires a little refinement.
The Patagonia (AED 48) however is a stunning visual representation of the desolate region. Glacial shards representing an icy tundra, surround an organic Peruvian chocolate mousse adorned by a dark berry sorbet. These fruits of the Patagonian grasslands help to cut through the decadence of the rich mousse, and the flavours harmonise well.
Andes opens for breakfast to accommodate the needs of local office workers, but it’s the dinner service that has really piqued our interest. For much like our recent experience at Ikoyi in London’s West End, Andes only offers a blind tasting menu during dinner service which is changed on a weekly basis.
Andes marks an exciting new addition to Dubai’s Trade Centre area and having spent the summer dining in London and Paris, its nice to see a venue embracing the notion of the tasting menu. Mention should also be given to the prices which are very reasonable and we can’t think of many places where you can order a steak for around fifty dirhams, especially within a fine-dining setting!
While not every dish is an immediate hit, Andes offers plenty to admire. For fans of South American food this restaurant should be at the top of your must visit list.