Ruya Dubai: Turkish Culinary Traditions with Fine Dining Panache

‘Ruya’ translates to ‘dream’, a very apt name for one of Dubai’s most anticipated new restaurants, located in the very luxe Grosvenor House (Marina Dubai). This very stylish new Turkish restaurant pays homage to the rich culinary history of the Anatolian region.

Headed by Chef Colin Clague who has some very reputed names under his belt (including the iconic Burj Al Arab, Jean Georges Dubai, Qbara and Zuma), the dishes here are as artistic as the venue itself.

The expansive interiors are done up with a great deal of panache. Dimly lit, suave and chic, the ambiance is all at once inviting and posh.  From the traditional oven to the Cag Kebap grill, and the beautifully intricate mosaic in spurts of turquoise, a few typically Turkish accents add a touch of the exotic to the space. Ruya is a restaurant, lounge and bar, and also features an open terrace, boasting of a very scenic view of the Dubai Marina.

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I was at Ruya last Sunday night, invited once again by the lovely Monica Kapila of DoInDubai.com for a bloggers’ meetup. Dining with this bunch of blogger friends is always so much fun! With amicable banter and an absolutely divine lineup of food, we had a very memorable evening at Ruya. Here is a look at what we had:

We started off with an assortment of starters.

Crudites: Move over ordinary sticks of carrot and cucumber, at Ruya the crudites platter looks like a mini vegetable garden on ice! The selection includes some exotic additions like purple carrot and broccoli, and comes with a very enticing whipped red pepper and yogurt dip.

Levrek: Love Sashimi? Chef Colin gives this popular Japanese treat a Turkish makeover. Seabass sashimi is used here, tempered with mustard and garnished with shaved radish and apple.

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Firin Pancar: A vegetarian starter consisting of roasted baby beetroot, traditional Anatolian goats cheese and freshly baked cornbread. The combination might sound pretty simple when read off the menu, and then it comes to the table… the presentation is an absolute work of art!

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Mucver Zucchini Fritters: A traditional Turkish fritter made of grated zucchini. At Ruya, the fritters are made more decadent with the addition of labneh and a sprinkle of fennel.

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Citir Kalamar: My absolute favorite starter from the night, these moreishly crisp, golden brown squid bites have been coated in ‘simit’ crumbs. Simit is a traditional Turkish bread, and using this in the batter gives the squid that much more crunch in every bite.

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Nibbling through the starters, I had sips of their Mad Honey, a refreshing mocktail consisting of fresh grapefruit and a muddle of honey sweetness. What I loved even more about this drink was the absolutely stunning Turkish copper mug it was served in! How I wish I could do a takeaway, mug and all 🙂

Before long, it was time for our main-course. One of the most talked-of dishes at Ruya Dubai is their Kuymac – a rich, warm cheese fondue made up of a very special mix of exotic cheeses. Just look at all that stretchy goodness!

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The other cheese-infused dish on our table was Ruya Dubai’s 2 Chese Pide with Slow Cooked Egg. I’ve had pide before, but never have I seen it served with a wobbly, runny yolk! What a treat, with all that salted cheese.

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How can you dine at a Turkish restaurant and not have kebabs? Here is their Adana Kebap, a char-grilled meaty treat made of minced lamb and accentuated with the flavor of burnt tomato.

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Living in the Middle East, we are all familiar with the sight of a Shawarma grill, a tower of skewered meat, grilling on a rotating axis. In Turkey, they have the same concept but the grill goes horizontal.

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This is called a Cag Grill, a traditional horizontally stacked rotating kebab originating from Turkey’s Erzurum province in Eastern Anatolia. We were served Chicken Cag Kebap hot off the grill. The chicken pieces were deliciously smokey and had the perfect amount of charring. Think of it as a Shawarma platter going posh!

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If you are a seafood fan, I would strongly recommend you try Ruya Dubai’s Whole Grilled Seabream. This whole fish has been marinated in a very special spiced herb rub and is served with drizzles of lemon dressing and havoc saltasi. The outer layer is decadently crisp (I love salted fish skin!) and the fish meat itself remains beautifully soft and steamy. I don’t even like fish that much, and this ended up being my favorite from the main-course!

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To counteract all that richness on the table, we were served Ruya Dubai’s very refreshing Spoon Salad. Sour yet mildly sweet, this salad is a toss-up of chopped vegetables in an exotic pomegranate dressing, made in-house.

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And what do you think is this dish below? A fancy form of sushi perhaps?

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This is Ruya Dubai’s Watermelon and Lion’s Milk, a light yet refreshingly flavorful dessert featuring watermelon and raki ice pop, mint granite, rose jelly and an array of exotic herbs. Love the Turkish plate as much as the dessert itself!

We were also treated to a wide array of Turkish ice-creams. Apart from the lone Chocolate, every little pot had us guessing what the exotic flavor combinations were. From pomegranate to rose, mixed berries and cashew, we found ourselves digging our spoons into every scoop for more.

Love this group photo from our ice-cream indulgence at Ruya Dubai! Beautifully captured @DoinDubai 

We ended our elaborate Turkish feast with strong little shots of black Turkish Coffee. At Ruya Dubai, coffee comes in this very pretty crescent-topped copper vessel. However, there’s more to Turkish coffee than strong dose of caffeine… a lady at Ruya Dubai tells me you can even use your coffee cup for fortune-telling! This is how its done: Finish your cup and turn it over. Place a ring on it, and let it cool. Flip over and get an expert to read into the patterns left on the inside by the dark brown coffee residue.

 

Apparently my coffee cup says I am ‘going a long way’. The lady said my coffee has a fish in it, and this signifies ‘kimet’ (Turkish for good luck). Let’s hope these coming months prove to be kissed with kismet for me!

Overall, Ruya Dubai really lives up to its hype. From the strikingly stylish interiors to the artistic lineup of dishes (and equally gorgeous serveware!), this brand new Turkish restaurant lounge and bar is set to become a much coveted dining destination in the city. With alfresco weather well and truly here, their scenic terrace would make for a spectacular dinner date venue.

Ruya Dubai is located in Grosvenor House, Marina Dubai. For bookings and more information, do give them a call on 04 456 1122.

Ruya - Grosvenor House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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