Restaurant Review – Play Restaurant & Lounge

One evening a few days ago, we were in the mood for something exciting yet glamorous and not to forget, a place that serves delicious food.
Ever since it’s inception in Dubai, we’ve witnessed crowds rave about Play Restaurant and Lounge, not just for its impeccable dining experience but for its music and unique atmosphere as well. We were definitely expecting our experience at Play to be phenomenal, little did we know how effortlessly it would swoop its way through our list of the top five fine dining restaurants to visit.
A place for thinkers, dreamers and trendsetters:
Play is a homegrown restaurant run by Chef Patron Reif Othman (from Zuma). The cuisine served here is “Mediterrasian” which is a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. We can rest assure you that as you want into Play, you will be blown away but how enormously large the restaurant is. Part of the restaurant is the lounge and bar that looks vibrant, chic and very modernist. Since we rarely indulge in alcohol, we asked the attendant to escort us directly to our table. As we walked past the dining area, we couldn’t help but gawk in awe of the beautiful setup. We absolutely adored the large floor to ceiling glass windows that showcased the magnificent views of Dubai. As for the furnishings, the chairs and tables were low rise tempting the guests to stay comfortable and laze around the restaurant for longer. For a weekday, the restaurant was buzzing and the atmosphere was lively.

The Food:
The menu is extremely diverse with about nine sections to chose from, making it all the more difficult to make up our minds.
The first section was “Partager” (French for sharing) from which we sampled the Duck Gyoza made from Duck Leg Confit and served with Chilli Ponzu. The flavor of the duck was delicious and the gyoza was generously filled. However the thin layer of cornstarch over the gyozas did not contribute much in terms of flavor.  We relished the Pita Surprise that tasted absolutely airy and bursts with flavor. The combination of  Lightly Seared Wagyu Beef and Truffle Butter went brilliantly together and left us wanting more.
From the “Crudo” section (Italian for raw) we tried the Maguro that was lightly seared with Lime Truffle Soy and Japanese Herb Salad. It was pretty evident that the quality of fish used was premium and we loved the subtle hint of soy shining through the maguro.
From the “Luce” section (Italian for Light) we tried Ellie’s which is a refreshing starter comprising Fresh Tortilla, Sliced Avocado, and Green Chilli Mayonnaise all presented to look like a mini thin crust pizza. The tortilla was wonderfully crisp, the avocados were fresh and the mayo rounded the dish up well. We were also blown away by a dish that goes by the name of “A Little Shred Cheese” comprising Fresh Stracciatella Di Burrata, Couscous and Molasses Jelly. Make sure to try all the elements together for a wonderful burst of flavors and textures. We particularly loved the balsamic spheres that popped in our mouths as we bit into it. Delicious!
From the “Aceite” section (Spanish for oil; dishes in this section are lightly fried) we tried the Rock Shrimp with Harissa Salt and Spiced Dip and the Truffle Fries with Truffle Salt, Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Grated Seasonal Truffles. Both of these were pleasantly delicious and crisp. We loved the fries in particular for its strong truffle and parmesan essence that was borderline therapeutic.
From the “Jardiner” section (French for ‘from the garden’) we tried the Grilled Hokkaido Sweet Corn with Ras El Hanout Butter and Lime. The corn was addictively good, and the butter elevated its flavor.
From the “Zesto” section (Greek for hot) we tried the Duck Confit with Sour Cherry compote and fennel salad. This dish has definitely got to be one of the best duck dishes we’ve ever had. The meat was flaky and were perfectly with the cherry compote. The fennel salad helped cut through the richness of this dish.
Our dish of the day definitely had to be the Veal Milanese with Charcoal Crumbs, Black Garlic Paste, and Tomato Spaghetti. The color of the charcoal is derived from black garlic & Charcoal Panko which gives the veal that burnt look. The taste and cooking technique of this dish is absolutely phenomenal. Its also worth mentioning that the portion is huge enough to be shared among 4 people.
Our final savory dish was from the Maki Roll section where we tried the Hanfuku Maki Roll comprising Spicy Chu Toro (medium fatty tuna), Prawn Tempura and Fried Leeks. Loved the textures and flavor of the sushi, and it looked pretty to eat too.
When it came to dessert, we tried the addictive “Sneaker Bar” comprising Pistachio Chocolate Bar with Caramelized Pistachio and Pistachio Ice Cream. We loved the strong essence of pistachio in every component of this dish. The bar was perfectly set and the combination of pistachio and chocolate was flawless. The sponge was lusciously soft and the ice cream had a wonderfully earthy and nutty flavor. It’s like nothing we’ve ever had.
We also tried the “Sticky Dating” that was sinfully delicious. The Dates pudding was extremely gooey and not too sweet, the bitterness from the Macha Ice Cream helped balance the sweetness and the Dates Butterscotch rounded the dessert up perfectly

The Bill:
Duck Gyoza – Dhs68
Pita Surprise – Dhs58
Maguro – Dhs78
Ellie’s – Dhs58
“A Little Shred Cheese” – Dhs135
Rock Shrimp – Dhs95
Truffle Fries – Dhs65
Grilled Hokkaido Sweet Corn – Dhs52
Duck Confit – Dhs185
Veal Milanese with Charcoal Crumbs – Dhs315
Hanfuku Maki Roll – Dhs95
Sneaker Bar – Dhs55
Sticky Dating – Dhs50

Ambience – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5
Food – 4/5
Value – 3/5

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