What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot it would seem, as an ultra-luxury establishment opens with a bold name like Billionaire Mansion. Putting together two words with connotations of extreme wealth and grandeur to announce the arrival of Dubai’s newest nightlife enclave.
Dubai’s Billionaire Mansion comes to the Taj Dubai from F1 impresario Flavio Briatore. The man behind the Billionaire Life brand and its slew of lavish night spots that traverse the globe from Monte Carlo to Kenya and now Dubai. Billed as a new kind of venue in which everyone is treated like a VIP, Billionaire has become one of the hottest places to party in Dubai since opening early last year.
With so much hype surrounding the venue, our first impression left us feeling more belittled than VIP. Fleeting looks from the hostess immediately confirm we’re not the clientele she’s expecting and as if unconvinced she attempts to clarify with “you two? For Billionaire…?” Yes, we may have come from work but we’re well groomed and dressed presentably. Again a look of standoffish confusion crosses her face. It’s not until the realisation dawns on her that we’ve been invited by the establishment for a review that things change. In the blink of an eye we’re all best friends and we’re whisked up into the lifts and on a whistle stop tour of the venue.
With this initial hurdle out of the way the rest of the night progresses without a hitch and we’re left to enjoy our night at Billionaire Mansion but a thought niggles at the back of our mind: “Would we have made it inside under usual circumstances?”
Billionaire Mansion is made up of three distinct spaces that flow seamlessly into one another. We begin in the bar, a narrow passage of darkness adorned by a large chandelier come video screen, in a space that feels intimate and radiates a sense of sophistication. Slightly bohemian in nature, the bar featuring posters of Madonna and other iconic personalities and doubles up as a nightclub except on a Wednesday, which just so happens to be the day of our visit.
A small step and a burst of dazzling gold leads guests into the dining room. One of the most stunning interiors we’ve seen in the UAE and one that exudes a rich sense of affluence. At the centre of the room stands a tree and from there tables topped with white table clothes fan out to the very edges of the room. Its decadent, it’s opulent and its oh so Billionaire. With spectacular downtown views visible through the window panes, the stage is set for a memorable meal.
Stage is the appropriate word, as a meal at Billionaire Mansion is accompanied by theatrics that run approximately every half an hour. Each show is short and snappy meaning that your food won’t go cold but we did find the quality of performance varies wildly. We begin with a musical number of top hats, tuxedos and flowing ribbons to the soundtrack of Madonna’s Vogue. A performance that acts as a statement piece to diners letting them know that Dubai has something new to offer and the audience certainly appeared enthralled. Next came vocals from talented singer Sandrine and her startling renditions of classic tunes from the likes of Alicia Keys, Sam Smith and John Legend before stretching her range and moving into multi-lingual territory. We enjoyed the acrobatic pieces the most with two dancers traversing a suspended cube in a dizzying array of gymnastics and dance that encoporated elements from Fifty Shades of Grey.
Despite the general quality of performances being good, the dance numbers unintentionally strayed into comedic territory, with a performance of Bruno Mars’ 24 Karat Magic feeling more glee club (or dare we say it, Butlins) than the image that the Billionaire brand is trying to promote.
The food comes from a combined menu of Italian and Japanese cuisines and is very good. As expected from an establishment of this stature the price point is high but equates to quality in terms of both food and service. There’s no doubt that Billionaire attracts a very specific clientele and is catering to their obsession with high-end luxury to overwhelming success.
Slightly confused by the dual cuisines, we decide to go with both. Ordering from the Italian menu of traditional dishes and reinvented classics and the Japanese delicacies from renowned restaurant Sumosan – the perfect marriage for a luxury brand like Billionaire.
From the Truffle Hamachi Tiradito with its slithers of raw fish sauced immediately before serving, to the flavoursome Gyoza with Wagyu Beef, each morsel was divine. Even a simple Roasted Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato & Rocket Salad was packed full of flavour and left a resounding impression.
Main courses kicked things up a notch further and despite the slightly outdated presentation of the Lamb Chops from the Josper grill, we couldn’t fault the dish in regard to flavour and texture. The lamb was good but the Beef Short Ribs were the standout dish of the evening, with the meat falling off the bone into a sauce of such intense flavour. Short Rib is one of our go-to dishes on any menu and this version at Billionaire is admirably brilliant. Though it should be noted that none of the main courses come with accompaniments, so ensure you order sides. A practice that has become extremely common on the UAE dining scene but one that could frustrate those who are price conscious and looking for a special meal.
Desserts were a mixed bag. Our favourite Tiramisu consisted of too much cream, a lack of flavour and a bizarre fruit element that just didn’t work. The Light & Dark Fondant on the other hand, was wonderful and encased in a sugar spun nest, the presentation immaculate. White chocolate oozes from the centre and a simple ice cream helps to offset the richness but the arrival of the dessert mere minutes after ordering had us pondering wether the dish was potentially pre-cooked.
With generally high levels of service, we did find the pacing of our meal slightly off. Dishes arrived at the table almost too quickly and despite the restaurant only being half full, it felt as though the staff were under pressure to turn over the table. Perhaps this is common practice at Billionaire but is it really necessary on the slower nights? Tables are also a little too close together and at times we felt as if we were intruding on other diners.
Billionaire Mansion is definately doing something right and we adored much of our dining experience. With a pleasant shisha terrace offering premium BurJ Khalifa views and private karaoke rooms, we’d be keen to return again and see the venue in a different guise as it transforms into a nightlife destination with residences from some of Dubai’s hottest DJs, including Out & About favourite, Mr. Levier.
Having attracted Will Smith, Naomi Campbell and Robert DeNiro in recent months, the reality of the Billionaire Mansion experience was not as we expected. The food is very good, it’s not overly pretentious and offers a unique concept likely to pique the interest of Dubai’s socialites and the international jet-set crowd.
A shop downstairs pushes the luxury lifestyle concept even further, selling an array of merchandise from the Billionaire Couture menswear collection that’s likely to encourage a new found status to potential customers.
The name says it all. It’s opulent and emblamatic of Duba but did we feel like billioanires? Well perhaps just for one night…
Location: Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, Duba
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 7pm – 3am (closed Mondays)
Phone: 04 510 3100
We were invited to dine at Billionaire Mansion. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. Interior images used courtesy of Billionaire Mansion and Time Out Dubai.