A Mediterranean restaurant with a 1960s twist inside The Opus by Zaha Hadid.
The Opus, a striking building in the heart of Business Bay designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, has been attracting visitors in admiration of its futuristic architecture and enclave of upscale dining destinations.
The futuristic structure is already home to several noteworthy restaurants, including Japanese robatayaki ROKA, the Pan Latin DESEO and Joey Ghazal’s new England juggernaut, The Maine Land Brasserie. Yet it’s a new Mediterranean hotspot that has been turning heads in recent months. Enter: Basko.
Situated on the ground floor of the impressive 20-storey structure, Basko gives little away at street level. Simple signage leads to a large glass door shrouded in curtains which adds to the effusive allure. Inside, guests are met with a small but vibrant retro-style restaurant space that is both jovial and intimate. Here, friends gather around small dining tables while a live DJ creates an infectious vibe to complement the dining experience without distracting.
Despite the charm of the vibrant interiors, we decided to relish the opportunity to dine al fresco upon the chic terrace that wraps seductively around Bako’s glass facade. Here, seated on plump upholstery beneath a fringed parasol, we’re immediately enamoured with the winning combination of cocktails and Burj Khalifa views.
Drawing influences from Spain, France, The Basque and Lebanon, Basko’s menu is refreshing in its conciseness. A collection of tartines, raw dishes and salads pave the way for heartier pasta, risottos and proteins from the robata grill. We’re amazed by not only the speed at which each course arrives but by the sheer simplicity of each dish. Proving once again that quality produce reigns supreme.
The signature sea bass ceviche (AED 85) combines delicate cubes of sea bass with slithers of cool avocado and zesty citrus. Topped with a refreshing basil ice cream, it’s a beautiful pre-cursor for the unfolding meal. The Wild Mushroom Burrata (AED 130) perfectly pairs the creamy Italian cheese with mushrooms rather than the expected tomatoes. The earthiness of these forest mushrooms in collation with herbaceous artichoke hearts uplift the dish into something altogether memorable.
When it comes to pasta, the thick ribbons that make up the Parpadelle Shrimp (AED 145), coated in a sauce made from heirloom tomatoes and garnished with an abundance of Spanish Camarones, result in a dish that is not to be missed. From the robata, we delve into Lobster Fregola (AED 225), which presents the fiery Sardinian pasta with a lobster that has been smoked to accentuate the delicate flesh.
Ensure you save room for dessert, as the six sweet options are where Basko leaves a lasting impression, especially when it comes to the Lemon Tart (AED 75) or Pistachio (AED 80). As the name suggests, the latter choice is a giant chocolate pistachio nut, hiding a mousse and jelly-filled interior.
Post-dinner, diners are encouraged to prolong the Basko experience with a visit to the venue’s private speakeasy, Suave. Ascend the golden spiral staircase and embrace the retro vibes of a space that boasts suede interiors gushing with deep reds and velvet blues. Suave’s intimate bar features a library of over 500 authentic vinyl records, 600 meters of fringes and a bar that serves only curated cocktails by a team of master mixologists.
Basko is a restaurant that ticks many boxes thanks to its Burj Khalifa views, chic retro interiors, and a menu of simple Mediterranean specialities executed well. Complemented by affable and effortless service as stylish as the decor, expect a memorable night at this retro-Mediterranean spot.