The theme of the new offering is ‘abundance in the desert.’
Tucked away in the heart of Dubai’s financial district is BOCA, the winner of ‘favourite European restaurant’ at the Fact Dining Awards Dubai 2020. A Modern European restaurant influenced by Spanish cuisine and with a strong commitment to sustainability and local sourcing.
This home-grown concept was born in the desert, and showcases the UAE as a country rich in produce, from the biologically rich habitat of the Hajar mountains to the hydroponic, organic, and traditional farms of the central region’s oases, and the plentiful bounty from the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
With this in mind, BOCA has unveiled a brand new food and beverage menus for this season, based on an accumulation of research, travel, trials, and ideas shared with farmers, botanists, municipalities from multiple Emirates, scientists from the ICBA (International Center for Bio-saline Agriculture), and artists represented by the Jameel Art Center.
For the very first time, BOCA will feature four types of native desert plants from the UAE in their dishes. Some are seasonal, some are rare, but they come together in the signature salad ‘spring in the desert’ and the ‘orecchiette verde’ pasta dish. These plants have also been utilised in a vinaigrette for the local farmed ‘Dibba Bay oysters’ and as a seasoning for a dish of ’12-hour braised lamb.’
BOCA’s new menu also features a ‘seafood ceviche’ made entirely of Gulf of Oman yellow-fin tuna, marinated local squid, torched tiger prawns, slow-cooked Indian Ocean octopus, and Arabian Gulf clams, and an ‘Emirati Kingfish Crudo’ with local edible flowers and herbs from Mary Anne’s Farm on the Al Ain Road. Atlantic cod has been replaced on the menu with local, sustainable ‘roasted hamour.’
Other highlights from the ‘abundance in the desert’ menu include dishes inspired by the recent collaboration with ‘meat melt’, the local salt beef purveyors. A new ‘vegan paella’ with heirloom carrots, black and red radish, and black garlic allioli, and an ‘Arroz con Carne’ made with free-range braised lamb, local root vegetables, and ras el hanout.
New desserts include ‘vanilla rice pudding’ with local black lime sabayon, ‘Spanish orange and saffron cheesecake’ and ‘marinated figs and dark chocolate’ made with hazelnut ice-cream, guanaja chocolate mousse, and Emirati “Blossom” honeycomb also make the list.
This season BOCA will also unveil their own ‘desert garden’ inspired by the ‘Desert is a Forest’ installation at the Jameel Art Center in Jaddaf, Dubai by Sunoj D and Namrata Neog. BOCA features eight native desert plants sourced from multiple municipal nurseries across the UAE in this outdoor urban garden. The garden will show edible native plants to guests and serve as a platform for BOCA’s culinary team to experiment with more of them in the future.
The beverage list now features drinks resulting from BOCA’s bartenders collaborating with the restaurants internal waste officer. The bar team has been mandated to move at least one cocktail per month into the ‘no waste’ section of this menu. Expect to see pineapple pulp turned into lollies for garnish, local yellow peppers dehydrated and crushed into rimming salts and passionfruit shells turned into coasters. The bar team has also added a ‘tooth fairy’ section featuring dessert cocktails such as ‘bocamisù’ made with espresso, mascarpone, and Savoiardi biscuits and ‘Jellystone’ which combines a gummy bear-infused spirit with cranberry juice, lemon juice and a gummy bear stick.
To celebrate the launch of these new menus, BOCA is offering a tasting menu comprising of eight dishes and recommended for sharing between two guests for AED 495 (food only) and AED 695 including a bottle of Prosecco Rose from ‘Sea Change’ an environmentally conscious grape that directly supports ocean conservation across the globe.
The new menu’s launch follows hot on the heels of chef Matthijs Stinnissen’s four hands dinners with Reif Othman of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki and Vinu Raveendran from Carnival by Tresind. If there’s ever been a time for the uninitiated to visit BOCA, then it’s now…