A Taste of Persia at the luxurious Palazzo Versace Dubai.
Palazzo Versace Dubai is a trendsetting hotel, not only in terms of its relationship to the world of fashion but as a destination in its own right when it comes to five-star dining. Each of the hotel’s eight restaurants and bars provides diners with unique culinary concepts and have been purposefully designed to have an al fresco terrace. Reflecting the heritage of Palazzos in Italy, where the inner courtyard represents an informal space to meet, dine and enjoy the weather.
It is here that we find ourselves on a breezy winter night overlooking Dubai’s historic creek, where illuminated boats bob about on the flat waters and we excitedly embark on a journey through the cuisine of Persia, at Enigma.
Winner of the ‘Best Middle Eastern and North African restaurant’ at the Fact Dining Awards Dubai 2020, Enigma is a restaurant that should be high on your dining bucket list when in the emirate of Dubai. Not only is the setting and service exquisite, reflecting the glamour and pizzaz for which the Versace brand is known, but the food is transforming perceptions of Persian cuisine. The menu has been conceived by Executive Chef Mansour Memarian, the first Iranian to ever head up a Michelin-starred restaurant and the man behind Enigma’s unique Persian offering.
The concise menu is broken down into distinct sections and draws inspiration from Chef Memarian’s Iranian origins. Diners should be fully prepared to give in to a sensory assault of robust flavours, intense aromas and the homely nature of Persian cuisine which are deftly given a unique contemporary touch.
Aptly titled, we begin with dishes from the ‘cold nights’ section of the menu and are delighted bu the Zeytoon Parwardeh a tangy mixture of marinated green olives, walnuts and topped with bejewelled pomegranate seeds. It’s the interplay of texture and bold flavours in the dish which act as a precursor for the rest of the meal. We follow this shareable dish with the Masto khiar wa Naana from the ‘divine yoghurts’ selection and are surprised by the raita-like dish comprised of freshly grated cucumber and mint, adorned with cucumber caviar for a decadent touch.
Progressing through the Persian feast laid out before us, we embrace the ‘Tehran warm and hot starters’, finding ourselves utterly enamoured with the Kashke Bademjun, a moreish dish of charcoal-grilled eggplants with Kashk, fried mint and roasted onions that we will undoubtedly endeavour to replicate at home – wish us luck!
The majority of Enigma’s menu is dedicated to ‘flavours of Persian Kababs and Luscious Stews’ with a lavish selection of grilled meat and seafood on offer. The Enigma Kabab comprises caul fat wrapped lamb kofta, cooked on charcoal with vegetables and served with saffron rice. Our personal preference, however, goes to the Kabab Kubide, offering two delicious skewers of minced lamb prepared over charcoal with a seductive drizzle of saffron.
Enigma also offers a range of signature dishes including the Instagram-worthy King’s Legacy. A plate of slow-cooked lamb rack and leg, marinated with King Secret Recipes and served in the presence of a royal and it’s with the final courses of the meal that Enigma’s theatrics, presentation and interactivity are brought to the forefront of the dining experience. Take, for example, the traditional Iranian wedding dish of Shirin Polo, where the saffron yoghurt marinated prawn with orange saffron rice is presented to the table with a regal charm that is almost as sweet as the dish itself.
Enigma’s desserts include a traditional Turkish Baklavah topped with candy floss; a Faludeh prepared tableside and the Brownie in a treasure box, which has to be seen to be believed (we won’t spoil the surprise).
Enigma at Palazzo Versace Dubai offers a dining experience that is built for Instagram while delivering abundant flavours. The exceptional food is combined with proficient and friendly serviced and pleasing al fresco views. The Persian cuisine at Enigma is reason enough to visit Palazzo Versace Dubai and should the experience leave you feeling particularly regal, the option of checking into one of the lavishly appointed rooms is right at your finger tips.