Headed by the very amicable Chef Alain Devahive who’s impressive list of experiences includes a long stint at the much coveted 3-Michelin starred restaurant El Bulli (Spain), LALUZ at DIFC is one of Dubai’s latest Spanish imports.
La Luz is Spanish for ‘light’, and back in Barcelona, this restaurant chain is a culinary icon, well reputed for its Catalonian and Mediterranean cuisine. Keeping to tradition yet revamping the presentation with a few touches of molecular gastronomy thrown in now and then, expect to get a taste of Spanish cuisine like never before.
I had the pleasure of being invited for yet another bloggers’ meet by the lovely Monica of DoInDubai, and headed to LALUZ last Wednesday right after a grueling day at the office. LALUZ is located in Four Seasons DIFC. The restaurant itself is in a building of its own (at Building 9 to be precise). I parked near Zumba, and it took me under 2 minutes to find the place.
Walking in, LALUZ is a visual treat. The interiors are dark yet dramatically suave, sophisticated and done up with a great deal of panache. Post work you will find quite a crowd around the bar area, and if you prefer a more somber, secluded corner, they area near their open kitchen will suit you perfectly well.
Wednesday nights at LALUZ are Rumba nights! Rumba is an energetic style of dance originating from Cuba, and has since taken up a great deal of Spanish and African influences. Settling into our table, I was already in awe with the ambiance of the place, and the prospect of trying out their dishes with live entertainment to boot had me all excited!
We started off our meal with chilled glasses of sparkling white wine, and before we knew it, a whole array of ‘Pinchos’ were being served up on the table.
What are Pinchos you ask? Well here’s a bit of trivia for you! ‘Pinchos’ are little snacks that are often served using a cocktail stick. The word originates from the Basque region of Spain, and is quite different from your regular Spanish tapas. It is taken from the word ‘pinchar’, or ‘to pierce’, and traditionally, diners needed to count their leftover cocktail sticks to work out the bill!
Here is a look at our Pinchos selection:
Spherical Olives: Using the magic of molecular gastronomy, Chef Alain makes the humble olive burst on the palate with an unexpected freshness of flavors. Everyone on our table were in awe with this clever creation. At AED 7 a pop, these ‘olives’ are a gourmet treat.
Gazpacho Shots: Gazpacho (aka cold soup) is often a risky thing to order. Very few places manage to get this perfectly right. At LALUZ this tomato-olive based gazpacho was so refreshingly flavorful that I really do think they need to serve up bowlfuls of it instead of mini shots!
Chicken Croquettes: Growing up, my mother used to make a batch of chicken croquettes on a weekly basis. Croquettes are the posher cousins of your regular breaded chicken patties, enhanced with white sauce. At LALUZ their croquettes are a few notches better than my mother’s… Sorry mum! The breaded outer layer has a decadent crispness, and the inside is steaming hot with the moreish mix of chicken and creamy white sauce. Topped with a wee blob of avocado puree, these croquettes were an absolute treat.
LALUZ Tortilla: When a restaurant adds its name to a dish, you know the Chef must be exceedingly proud of it. The LALUZ Tortilla is an absolute tease. Who would have thought tortillas could be served in martini glasses?! With molecular gastronomy at play, this layered treat features layers of confit onion, yolk emulsion and potato foam, and is dressed with Mediterranean olive oil and salt. A very clever dish indeed.
Aubergine with Black Olive Miso: A nod to the Mediterranean part of the LALUZ menu, this grilled aubergine is coated with a generous layer of olive miso.
Halfway through our Pinchos, the party got started! A tall, slender young lady, all dolled up in a red polka-dotted attire, took to the floor with hip-swaying Rumba moves as a guitarist sang to some very soulful Spanish tunes.
The music playlist at LALUZ is absolutely wonderful! From Enrique to the Gypsy Kings and everything in between, you’ll surprise yourself with the number of Spanish songs you actually know and hum along to!
Before long, it was time for our mains! For our main-course, we were served the LALUZ Catalan Arros. Essentially a Seafood Paella, this dish is made more wholesome by substituting regular rice with black rice. This lends the dish a slightly nutty, chewy texture which I absolutely loved.
We finished off our meal at LALUZ with hot shots of coffee and a whole lineup of tantalizing desserts.
Catalan cream mini “Magnum” 45: Magnum ice-cream is one of the biggest brands to come out of Spain, and this ice-cream stick is glorified here by being served with a ‘honeycomb’.
Goat’s Milk Cheesecake: If you are an avid cheesecake fan, you will love the richness that goat’s milk lends to this classic treat. As a respite from all that richness, the sweet and sour hit of the beetroot and raspberry puree works wonders on the dish both aesthetically, and on the palate itself.
Torrijas with Yeast Ice-Cream: Crisp on the outside, yet absolutely airy, fluffy and soft on the inside, these ‘not so photogenic’ Catalan-style pancakes were probably one of my favorites from the night!
3 Textures of Chocolate with Passionfruit Granita: How gorgeous is this dessert?! Made to resemble shards of wood, this chocaholic treat features a decadent chocolate mousse with a tart contrast of passionfruit granita.
Stepping into LALUZ is an experience in itself. Add to it a very creative menu backed with Rumba beats, and you have yourself a real Spanish treat!
If you are planning on trying out LALUZ, I suggest you book a table on a Wednesday night. Wednesday nights are Rumba nights, and they also offer a set menu for AED 275 per head. This includes the 5 pinchos starters we had, a choice of vegetarian or seafood arroz, and 2 drinks (2 glasses of sparkling wine or 2 mocktails). Dessert can be bought separately.
LALUZ is located in Building 9, a separate entity of Four Seasons at DIFC. For reservations, give them a call on 04 359 7777.