In case you hadn’t noticed from my Instagram, Boca has to be up there as one of my favourite restaurants in Dubai and has been since I first visited about 18 months ago. Not only is it a gorgeous, relaxed venue with a beautiful bar and awesome food but it really does feel a bit like what the song from “Cheers” was on about, you know “where everybody knows your name”? Yep, those are the feels at Boca.
Last weekend I couldn’t resist attending their Craft Brew Brunch, where they took their brunch game to a whole new level with over 20 craft beers, a HOPS masterclass and an almighty feast from their new chef Matthijs. Set up in their olive tree terrace were stands where you could crack open bottles of beers straight from the chilled buckets. Or if you weren’t sure where to start you could visit The Tasting Class’ stand and talk to the knowledgable Lindsey about what kind of beer and aroma’s you like so she could recommend something to suit your palette. Alternatively order a beer on draught that you’ve spied in your tasting and guidebook all whilst listening to the incredible live band. One of my favourite beers from the day had to be “Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’” from Lagunitas; it was punchy at 7.5% and whilst I wouldn’t normally go for something as wheaty, I loved it. After this Brewdog’s Punk was a popular choice along with a couple of the Ace Cider variations, especially the Pineapple!! After a couple of beers take your seat in the lovely restaurant and get ready to eat a LOT (why didn’t I wear my stretchy pants?!) as the outstanding Mediterranean menu gets served straight to your table. And I’m not kidding when I say it was a feast!
To begin we were treated to a droolworthy table of olives, incredible Italian and Spanish beef cold cuts, Padron peppers, grilled tiger prawns, the divine 24 hour slow cooked wagyu meatballs (always one of my faves) and grilled squid. It was such a beautiful sight to behold (and devour). Everything was presented and cooked perfectly. This was my first time trying the grilled tiger prawns which were fresh and juicy, cooked in lashings of chilli oil and garlic (don’t go here on a first date!). The grilled squid was also a new one for me and soooo delicious. Luckily for me the husband isn’t the biggest squid fan so I got this dish all to myself. Winning at life. Of course our starters weren’t complete without the signature “Boca Potato Chips” with aioli and bravas sauce – trust me, these are insanely good.
For mains we began with the Black Rice and Seared Scallops with aromatic clams which was a party in my mouth. The scallops were beautifully tender and perfectly cooked. The pizette margarita was a lovely fresh addition, with a nice thin base. And FINALLY one of the best dishes I’ve ever had, the gnocchi with braised beef short rib. I’ve had this dish several times now and cannot get enough of it, it is so deliciously moreish. The short rib is to die for and literally falls apart whilst the gnocchi is well cooked and not too dense. After all this we needed a beer break back out on the terrace in order to let our food go down ready for the next round. Phew, what a tough day.
On the menu for desserts was a delicious crème brûlée which is one of my husband’s all-time favourites. The prettiest of dishes, the Madagascar Vanilla Parfait with red fruit compote and honeycomb, was well-balanced and super light. And last but by no means least the brand new Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar – this is what heaven tastes like. You need it in your life if you are a peanut butter fiend like myself!
The Craft Brew Brunch was a one-off but I have it from my sources that moving forward the same format and concept is going to be used but with a focus on wine, which means I clearly need to go back ASAP to test it out, for research purposes only obvs.
Omar and his fantastic team have smashed it. This is an incredible chilled brunch, with a reasonable price tag (starting at 345 AED) that really focuses on high quality food and drinks, and a lot of it. Go with friends to sit and soak up the atmosphere on the terrace or on a relaxed date where you don’t mind eating yourself silly and joining in the banter with the locals and awesome staff.
A little tip from me – sign up to their newsletter as Boca are always hosting amazing events with unique food and drink pairings. I may be off to a very special one on Wednesday… watch this space for more!
For more information visit: http://boca.ae/ or call 04 323 1833