When I walked into The Cavendish, exuding the charms of old-school grandeur (white starched linen, immaculate tableware, a grand piano… the works!), I felt rather out of place. There I was in my ‘Boho meets Soccer Mummy’ getup, a breezy floral tunic paired with super-comfy slacks, when I really should have donned my pearls, red lippie and LBD.
Google has a major part to blame for this wardrobe malfunction. You see, I usually do a Google scan before I visit a new place, and this time round, this trusty search engine spat out a very colourful room that resembles a play pen:
Perhaps that was a makeshift play area the restaurant had set up some time ago. The actual interiors of The Cavendish is a stark contrast to the colourful mess I was anticipating. The restaurant is tastefully done, suave and sophisticated. Its the kind of setting that makes you take fine dining seriously.
Despite my getup, the staff at The Cavendish put me at ease right away. Our host for the night, a young man by the name of Mollah, was a true gentleman. He pulled out the chairs for us, rearranged the cutlery with utmost efficiency and proved to be very well versed with the menu at hand.
The Cavendish Restaurant & Terrace is located in Bonnington Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), Dubai. Bonnington Hotel is Irish owned and operated, and is the same management that runs McGettigan’s, UAE’s much-loved watering hole.
The Cavendish started off as an Irish restaurant, but recent demand has lead the head chef to create a brand new menu that is completely Italian.
We had the pleasure of trying out their ‘Taste of Italy’ menu, and started off with long-stemmed glasses of Passionfruit Bellinis. A Bellini is usually peach-based, and muddled up with Prosecco sparkling wine. At Cavendish, you get a a choice between peach and passionfruit.
For starters, we had a rather scrumptious Chicken Caesar Salad featuring grilled chicken breast tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing, with generous lashings of shaved Parmesan. I really liked the crunch and flavour hit of the garlic croutons, and the unexpected salty hit of marinated anchovies in this salad. Who said salads were boring diet food?!
We also had a platter of Cavendish’s Grass-Fed Beef Carpaccio. The presentation and flavour combinations of this dish is absolutely stunning. The beef itself is beautifully moist, fresh and moreish, and I loved how well it went with the fruity sweetness of the very pretty slivers of dehydrated pears. A few cubes of potato adds depth to the dish, and a sprinkle of toasted almond gives every forkful a bit of crunch.
For our main-course, I decided to try their Pumpkin & Beetroot Gnocchi. Gnocchi traditionally has a potato filling, but this dish uses beetroot instead. Apart from adding a gorgeous blush of purple to the overall platter, substituting potato with beetroot also makes this gnocchi significantly lower on gluten.
Pumpkin and beetroot are two of my favorite root vegetables, and the combination of orange with purple looked rather spectacular. The dish comprises of pan-fried beetroot gnocchi tossed with garden peas, caramelized pumpkin cubes and pumpkin seeds, pickled tarragon and Pecorino shavings. This gnocchi muddle sits on a silky smooth pumpkin puree that acts as a sauce to the overall dish.
Hubby, being the carnivore that he is, had his eyes on Cavendish’s 300 Grams Char-Grilled Sirloin. The presentation of this dish is absolutely stunning! The photos really don’t do it justice. Hubby asked for his steak to be cooked medium-rare, and it was done just the way he likes it. It was served with a tall stack of giant onion rings, fat potato fries, pan-fried tomato and these divinely delicious breaded garlic mushrooms.
We had the Breaded Garlic Mushrooms as a side dish, and let me tell you these are definitely not the frozen store-bought variety.
We got to meet Chef Khaled Hassan Zarzour, the man behind all the magic, and he tells us making these mushrooms is a laborious process. It involves piping a special garlic butter mixture into each mushroom, creating the outer breaded coating, and deep-frying. Definitely not light on the calorie scale, but you really have to try one to know what I’m raving on about!
Cavendish also has a special menu for little ones. My daughter had their Fish & Chips. The presentation of this dish was like a miniature version of her daddy’s super cool steak. Her platter included a serving of deep-fried, crunchy breaded fish accompanied by a generous serving of chips, ketchup and tarter sauce.
When the most discerning diner at our table gives a thumbs up, you know this fish & chips platter must be pretty phenomenal!
Mollah, our very friendly, knowledgeable host, advised me to go for a white wine with my gnocchi. He poured me a glass of chilled, refreshingly fruity, clean white wine from Chile. This is the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc from the Montes Classic Series.
Mollah went on to say that white wine is best with poultry and vegetarian dishes, and red wine is to be had with red meats. At The Cavendish Restaurant & Terrace, the staff are well-trained on wine-pairings.
By the time it was time for dessert, we were really stuffed and decided to share a serving of Tiramisu. How gorgeous is the presentation! Italy’s best-loved dessert featuring layers of mascarpone and whipped cream sandwiched between finger-biscuits soaked in Tia Maria liquor and coffee, is covered by a wafer casing, and garnished with berries and edible flowers. It was almost too pretty to eat!
My family and I really enjoyed our dinner at The Cavenish Restaurant & Terrace. From the posh ambience to the immaculate, personalized service and exceptionally good food, we felt pampered to bits and would recommend this hidden gem to anyone looking for a special night out.
The Cavenish Restaurant & Terrace is located in Bonnington Hotel, JLT – Dubai. For table reservations, call 04 3560000 and do look them up on their website.