The Stock Exchange is not the easiest restaurant to locate. With sparse signange, it takes some time to navigate the narrow passageways and staircases of the Roda Al Murooj complex in search of this popular watering hole. With a recently re-vamped menu The Stock Exchange is looking to represent more than just bargain drink prices and to elevate the quality of food to match its buzzing its atmosphere.
As we descend into the dimly lit venue, we’re transported back to the Shoreditch of our youth (minus the hipster edge). The Stock Exchange is a sparse environment and represents little more than a collection of scattered tables, lit by the fluorescent glow of wall mounted television screens. Early on a Thursday evening business is booming and the after work crowd are gearing up for the inevitable weekend.
What differentiates The Stock Exchange from your standard down and out bar is the concept and the food. The concept is novel and resembles the trading floor of an actual stock exchange. Think London or New York but replace the arrogant traders with a crowd of late twenty-somethings looking to have a good time. Monitors flash as prices travel along the ticker tape screens, displaying the fluctuating prices of beverages.
Drinks go up in price the more they’re ordered and decrease in value if they’re not. Keep your eyes peeled and there are bargains to be had. Especially for those not fussed about what they’re drinking, In this instance, The Stock Exchange easily offers the cheapest drinks in Downtown Dubai!
Stock Exchange’s new menu comes from Chef Pradeep Khullar, the passionate and charismatic man behind the ‘retro-innovative’ cuisine at the adjacent Jodhpur Royal Dining, At that restaurant, Khullar has taken classical Indian dishes and re-interpreted them for the modern age, while still retaining the memories and history associated with each plate. At The Stock Exchange a similar idea prevails, with classic bar bites given a unique Indian twist while still managing to evoke a sense of nostalgia.
With one restaurant representative of fine dining and the other far more casual. It’s a testament to Chef Khullar that he’s not only able to oversee two operations simultaneously (with a third potential outlet in the works), but that he manages to maintain a strong level of consistency across both. Sure enough, ideas are repeated in both menus but for bloggers that tend to stick with fine dining establishments, the food at Stock Exchange surpassed our expectations.
Our meal covers everything from Chilli Cheese Toast (a crisp baguette topped with melted cheese and chopped chilli) to Kung Pao Chicken and are paired with some show-stopping cocktails presented amongst bursts of flame and clouds of smoke. With burgers, salads and the usual fish and chips, the menu represents comfort food done well.
The Mirchi Imli Lamb Chops were our absolute favourite dish. Cooked for four hours to ensure ultra-tender meat, these chops are flash-fried in a marinade of sweet tamarind and red chilli, before being served with a side of blue cheese fries. The dish certainly has the appearance of your standard bar food but the techniques and flavours are what impress and it’s evident that Chef Khullar’s creations are more than just a means to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol being consumed.
The Pink & Dark Sliders (Cheetos & Chicken) present burgers with black and pink coloured. Appearing to replicate the success of the chicken and Cheetos sliders from popular food trick Salt, these sliders are bigger in size and stuffed with crisp lettuce and chopped onion, in a familiar dish that certainly hit the mark.
2 Minute Noodles utilises Maggi noodles (yes, the instant ones found on every supermarket shelf in the UAE) in an unpretentious dish that provides a nostalgic feeling that every student can relate to, before taking things up a notch with the addition of truffle and a spicy kick. It’s an adventurous move from Chef Khullar and one that could only work within the casual confines of a restaurant like this.
Our favourite dessert from the Jodhpur menu, Lotus-Treacle Tart makes the transition into The Stock Exchange and arrives with vanilla ice cream. This take on the classic British treacle tart is enhanced via the inclusion of Lotus Biscoff, the sweet and sticky biscuit based ingredient that has taken the Dubai dessert scene by storm.
In keeping with the alcohol theme of a venue such as this, the Dark Chocolate Rum Ball is a bold invention. A dark chocolate sponge is sat in a pool of Valrhona sauce, before being flambéed with dark rum. It’s a visual treat with the flames licking at the chocolatey dessert and the flavours produced are intense, reminding us of a boozy dessert like something you might find at Christmas.
The drinks were hit and miss. While we really appreciated the reliance on fruity blends at Jodhpur, we found the mixology here to be far too extreme. Drinks were either too sweet or sour, with seemingly no middle ground. Despite impressive presentation from a smoking teapot, the Vodka Flaming Breeze (vodka, blue curaçao, absinthe and lime) was sickly sweet, while the non-alcoholic Kala Khatta Daiquiri (blackcurrant, lime and black salt) certainly looked the part but was overly sour and something that we just couldn’t stomach. We eventually settled on the Passionfruit Mojito which seemed to find a suitable balance of flavours.
Aside from some jarring drinks, the new menu at The Stock Exchange has given Chef Khullar ample opportunity to run wild with his culinary toy box and draw inspiration from a number of sources. He is clearly a man of intense vision and with Jodhpur being one of our favourite restaurants in Dubai, it’s pleasing to have a slightly toned-down version of Khullar’s food in a more causal setting.
Something we were’t expecting were the levels of service. The staff at Stock Exchange really go above and beyond to ensure that customers are having a good time and the friendly demeanor, mixed with true sincerity, is a selling point that we didn’t think we would be discussing in a review like this. Much like the dishes, staff transition between the two restuarants and we spotted some familiar faces, this move from fine dining may explain the better than expected service,
The Stock Exchange may not present the all out bravado of somewhere like Lock, Stock & Barrel (another Dubai instiution capitalising on the down and dirty bar vibe) but gurantees a good night out. A place to listen to live music, watch sports, or dance the night away. Stock Exchange is loud, grungy and smokey but altogetehr fun.
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We were invited to dine at The Stock Exchange. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.