Trying to locate the newly opened Nassau at the Jumeriah Golf Estates is a little bit problematic as we find ourselves getting lost amongst the idyllic villas and pristine greens of the expansive golf course before eventually arriving at the clubhouse.
It’s well worth the effort though because Chef Silvena Rowe’s latest Dubai restaurant opening is as exciting as it is beautiful. Nassau has been thoughtfully designed and the interiors aspire to reflect the fresh Mediterranean vibes of the restaurants’ menu. Floor to ceiling windows bathes the dining room in swathes of natural light, while an olive tree takes pride of place with its twisted bows stretching skywards. There’s plenty of potted vegetation and trinkets to provide the feeling of dining in a stately home rather than a custom-built space, while a large stone terrace offers pleasing views over the fairway.
As a Masterchef Bulgari judge and regular guest on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, Chef Silvena Rowe is likely to be recognisable to many diners at Nassau but it’s her ability to seamlessly blend European and Arabian influences into the food that is the real highlight of this particular dining experience. Nassau’s one-page menu is simply constructed and broken down into a relatively small selection of starters, mains, sides and desserts. The notion of less is more certainly appears to prevail here and it’s evident that each dish featured on the menu has been thoughtfully designed and flawlessly executed.
We begin with the vegetarian-friendly black truffle labneh (AED 65) a dish we perhaps wouldn’t have ordered if it wasn’t for the instance of the helpful restaurant manager, whose recommendations are spot on and well-intentioned, without a hint of up-selling. The creamy labneh uses black truffle to subtly enhance rather than overpower the flavours of the soft cheese which floats whimsically upon the vibrant green basil oil. Adorned with seasonal vegetables and lotus roots to bring texture to the plate, the labneh works as an accomplished introduction to Rowe’s food and her penchant for locally-sourced produce and healthy eating.
Nassau represents takes an interesting approach to fine dining, with a price point reflective of the current market trend in which customers are looking for value for money as much as an ‘experience.’ The price point for many dishes are significantly lower than expected and the portion sizes are generous. Our tuna tartare (AED 89) is beautifully plated with cubes of fresh yellowfin tuna sat upon a wasabi scented avocado puree that brings a burst of colour and a burst of flavour to the lighter flavours upon the plate. Other interesting starters include the foie gras and date crème brûlée and the crispy prawn dumplings which we have made a mental note of for future visits.
Fifteen main courses range from burgers, Wagyu steaks and risotto through to delicately poached organic salmon and grilled jumbo shawarma marinated style king prawns. The confluence of European and Arabic influences is evident and help to provide Nassau with a unique stance in the saturated dining landscape of Dubai. We adore the 48 Hours slow-cooked Ottoman style shoulder of lamb (AED 125) that is resolutely tender and slides from the bone with unhindered ease. The dish represents comfort food at its best and the lamb is well seasoned and full of flavour and accompanied by a truffled celeriac purée.
Chef Silvena’s desserts perhaps make the most impact and Nassau features a beautiful mile-high lemon meringue tart, Nutella tiramisu and a rich chocolate and pecan tart (AED 59) that has been created for the chocolate lovers amongst us. Silvena’s Velvet Vanilla Cheesecake (AED 49) is just as the name suggests with the feather-light vanilla cheesecake making you wonder quite how the texture is so perfect.
Nassau achieves the goal of providing diners with high-quality food at reasonable prices and the venue is certainly a delight, despite the out-of-town location that may deter some from visiting. It shouldn’t though, for the food and service levels are far above the Dubai norm and the menu is offering something different while adhering to the ethos surrounding healthy eating. Nassau is not the only project for chef Silvena at the Jumeirah Golf Estates with a second restaurant, Botanica scheduled to open soon.
Out & About UAE were guests of Nassau and all views are our own.