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Palm West Beach has fast become the go-to dining destination for residents and tourists visiting Dubai. The picturesque swathe of golden sand on the west trunk of Palm Jumeriah has exploded in recent months, adding a slew of beach clubs, hotels and dining options to the once quiet shoreline.
With the likes of the newly opened Kyma Beach Dubai and the FACT award-winning SĀN Beach vying for attention, Palm West Beach offers a cuisine for every palate and preference along its buzzing beachfront strip, including Mexican (Señor Pico), Peruvian (Playa Beach Club) and seafood (Lucky Fish). Now, a new spot is looking to bring a touch of South Beach splendour and a fusion of Caribbean and Creole food to the palm-shaped island. Enter: Black Flamingo.
The colourful venue is easily identifiable on the ground floor of Radisson Beach Resort Palm Jumeirah, thanks to a pink Cadillac parked out front. Neon signage signals the way to a vegetation-strewn terrace punctuated by colourful parasols and backed by a thumping soundtrack of reggaeton, reggae, dance hall and Latin beats. A giant black flamingo towers over proceedings as if observing the fun and frivolity of a venue that is filled to the rafters when we visit for an early dinner on opening weekend.
Tropical feelings abound throughout the Insta-worthy restaurant space with its colourful upholstery, pulsating illuminated ceiling and sparkling glitter balls. Black Flamingo successfully captures a sense of beachfront bliss, providing customers with a casual spot for crafted cocktails and a menu of Pan-Latin cuisine from acclaimed chef Reif Othman.
Known for unconventional Japanese street food at the lies of Reif Japanese Kusiyaki and Nomani, the Black Flamingo menu is a departure from the usual fare associated with chef Reif. Rising to the occasion with gusto, chef Reif has created a menu of casual beachfront fare that perfectly matches the eclectic setting. Presented in a velvet binder and traced across two pages in a kitsch pink font, the menu offers a selection of dips and chips (hello guacamole), fresh tacos (the charred shrimp are a must), generously laden quesadillas, salads, sandwiches and chicken wings.
We’re impressed with the selection of raw dishes, including a coconut seafood ceviche (AED 88) and mango-shrimp (AED 82), that present plump shrimp in a tropical coulis. Elsewhere, a collection of beef empanadas (AED 78) offer flaky pastry perfection that gives way to a rich, tender beef interior that is mightily moreish.
However, it’s the Fondos section of the menu that offers the most excitement, offering a selection of large plates designed for sharing. Reif’s take on Jamaican jerk chicken (AED 125) forgoes the usual dry spice rub in favour of a sticky and sweet marinade that is an absolute delight (admittedly, we would’ve preferred a touch more heat). The jerk fries (AED 42) hit the spicy spot, whilst sides of rice and peas (AED 55), grilled corn (AED 58), spinach and calaloo (AED 55) and baked mac n cheese (AED 60) round out the Caribbean offering.
As someone who resides in a West Indian household, the Caribbean fusion at Black Flamingo may not be authentic, but it sure is delicious, and that is precisely the point. The latest restaurant concept from 7 Management (Lucia’s, Seven Sisters and The Theater) is looking at inclusivity and mass appeal when it comes to creating culinary experiences, and in that aspect, Black Flamingo truly succeeds.
A celebration of Latino, Caribbean and Creole cultures, Black Flamingo is a destination for both dining and dancing. Start on the terrace with sundowners from a beguiling beverage menu that includes playful cocktails such as the Chasing Clouds (a winning combination of sesame rum, blue curaçao, mandarin and peach liquor and topped with a candy floss cloud) to the aptly named Flamingo (gibiscus gin, grilled pineapple juice, aperol, guava and prosecco), before heading inside for a Bagatelle-like nightlife experience, where even the staff will be dancing.
Black Flamingo makes quite the impression on the saturated Palm West Beach and is the new spot on the strip you need to get to know.
GO: Follow @blackflamingodxb on Instagram for reservations and more information.