A staple of Grosvenor House Dubai’s impressive F&B line-up, its founder, legendary Chef and restaurateur Gary Rhodes OBE, admits in the lead up to its upcoming October anniversary that there is more to his fine-dining establishment than first meets the eye.
Chef Gary Rhodes brings his very own “Je Ne Sais Quoi” that we know and love to Rhodes W1, Grosvenor House Dubai. The Anglo-French-inspired menu takes diners on a culinary journey, giving them the opportunity to sample innovative pairings and fusions.
Throughout its ten year history, the restaurant has constantly kept things fresh with changes to its décor and menu. Speaking ahead of this week’s Middle East Hospitality Awards 2017 (18th September 2017) – for which he is both an Ambassador and Judge – Rhodes opened-up about exactly what it takes to keep one of Dubai’s most popular restaurants on top, and revealed ten things that you might not have known about the impressive eatery.
A very distinctive part of the dining experience at W1 is the aperitif, a delicious WHITE tomato soup. When asked about how it is made, Rhodes is notoriously secretive: “There’s a method of drawing all of the natural juices out of the tomato. These juices, which are absolutely clear, are where all of the flavour is. People taste it, expecting it to be red in colour and wonder – how do they do this? If another Chef or restaurant tries to mimic what we do, they won’t know the true method so won’t get the maximum flavour.”
Rhodes W1 has a few signature ingredients on its menu too. “Our salmon starter with candied lemon and spring onion risotto is absolutely sensational to eat,” said Rhodes. “The lemon takes hours to prepare because of the sugar content we’ve got to marinate like a syrup. When you eat it you get that slight bitterness and zestiness but it’s not too bitter, mostly sweet. That works into the risotto with the salmon on top to create a double combination of smoked and fresh. It is an attractive dish and the flavours are absolutely divine.”
Rhodes recently updated the W1 menu and there are many new items to look forward to. He commented: “There’s only a couple of popular dishes on there that we haven’t changed, the roast pork and the raspberry soufflé. Every other dish is different. A brand new menu will launch again in January 2018 and I have conducted lots of trials. I believe it’s going to be the best menu we’ve ever had.” A public trial of his next menu will take place in SKYE Rooftop Bar and Dining Restaurant, Hong Kong later this year, before being introduced to Dubai as a permanent fixture at Rhodes W1.
The restaurant closes for 5-6 weeks in the summer (it only re-opened in August). During this time Rhodes experiments in the kitchen with food to create new dishes. He reveals that it can take up to six months to perfect a single new dish.
The restaurant design transports you to a summer’s day in the English countryside. W1 is set in contemporary surroundings, with wooden floors, sleek furnishings and splashes of colour and greenery. Perfect for British expats, or anyone who enjoys travel to the UK.
Its terrace has panoramic, interrupted views of Dubai Marina and on a winter’s evening, it’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day at work. “In the evenings, when the Marina is lit up, and beautiful boats are coming up along the water and you’re sitting out on the terrace, enjoying a cold drink – you’re thinking – this is heaven,” relished Rhodes.
The bar and restaurant boasts a happy hour that lasts for four hours, six days a week. From 7.30pm – 11.30pm diners or bar goers can indulge in a wide selection of beverages from just 25 AED each. The happy hour bar menu is also not to be missed, with a range of gourmet mini-bites to share.
During the festive season, Rhodes is one of the only celebrity chefs known for personally cooking for patrons in his restaurant – which he has done for the past six years at W1. He said: “Last year, on 25th December, we hosted around 135 people at Rhodes W1 for a festive lunch. I always go to talk to the tables afterwards and that took me almost two hours with the number of people, it was absolutely cracking!”
Rhodes W1 transforms into a spectacular and unique event space for up to 90 people. “It’s great for events,” Rhodes commented. “You have all of your own space, totally private, and not open to anybody. Of course having the terrace and two bars – one inside one outside – there’s entertainment all around.”
Towards the end of 2017, the restaurant will throw a party with a signature menu designed specially in celebration of its tenth birthday. Details will be announced in due course, but guests can expect to reminisce from the day the restaurant opened in October 2007 and relive some of the most popular signature dishes Rhodes has created there in the last ten years.
Chef Gary Rhodes is an Ambassador and Judge of the Middle East Hospitality Awards 2017, taking place on the first evening of The Hotel Show Dubai – 18th September 2017 – at the Palazzo Versace Dubai.
More than 400 hoteliers from across the Middle East are expected to attend the glittering awards ceremony which is set to celebrate the leading facilities and professionals providing the Middle East’s ultimate guest experiences from Hotel Launch of the Year to Hospitality Leader of the Year.
MEHA 2017 is sponsored by Restonic, Pastificio Di Martino, Zumtobel Group, Kimbo, Pearl Tree and The L’OCCITANE Group.