If it’s good enough for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it’s good enough for us.
Dubai’s Crown Prince is usually one of the first to dine at Dubai’s trendiest culinary hotspots. In recent months we’ve seen him enjoy a Nikkei-inspired meal at Clay and an Iberian dinner at La Niña, but it was his Instagram post from Bungalo34’s beachfront terrace that recently set social media afire.
Having given his royal approval to the new Mediterranean eatery, FACT successfully secured a lunchtime reservation at the latest opening from Tashas group just days after the Crown Prince visited. Located at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa on Pearl Jumeira, Bungalo34 takes over the space formally occupied by Key West. While the FACT team still mourns the loss of one of the UAE’s few Caribbean restaurants, its replacement is a superior successor.
Arriving at Bungalo34, we’re greeted with beaming smiles from the team of hostesses and led past chilled seafood towers and stripy parasols onto the beach. Here, a toes-in-the-sand dining experience awaits, where slender palm trees rise skywards, the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf glitter and the powder white sand beach makes you feel as if you’ve escaped to an exotic island. Truth be told, the location is hard to beat when it comes to al fresco dining in Dubai. However, the restaurant’s charms don’t stop with the location and view. The service, from a team dressed in matching shorts and blazers in a cacophony of rainbow stitching, is fast, friendly and more than a little fun.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bungalo34 offers a day-to-night dining experience that revolves around the quality we’ve come to expect from restaurateur Natasha Sideris. Bringing a touch of Greece, France and Italy onto each plate while honouring the custom of enjoying leisurely meals with friends and family, the à la carte menu consists of appetisers such as the Bungalo Seafood Porridge and refreshing salads. We’re immediately enamoured with the handmade Treccia (AED 152), a dish designed for sharing that piles the creamy cheese upon a bed of colourful pickled, sliced and roasted heirloom tomatoes to give the impression of summer on a plate. We also tuck into the Prawn Ritz (AED 136) a trio of plump prawns dipped in horseradish Marie Rose sauce. The result is an elevated take on the classic prawn cocktail.
Bungalo34’s main courses prioritise modern interpretations of classic Mediterranean cuisine. Whether that be a decadent lobster roll topped with caviar (AED 160) or the beautifully prepared Le Seabass (AED 230), doused in a spectacular basting of soy, lime and chilli. Elsewhere, the seafood display, prepared to guests’ liking – grilled on charcoal, baked in the oven, or raw with assorted vinaigrettes – extends the menu with bespoke dishes such as grilled calamari, lobster thermidor, mussels and clams, each complemented with homemade sauces. There’s also a selection of delicious pasta and wood-fired pizzettes, baked on the spot and topped with truffle, artichokes or stracciatella.
The alluring setting calls for some truly decadent desserts and Bungalo34 doesn’t disappoint in its selection of sweet treats. There’s exotic baba (AED 64), pineapple cheesecake (AED 76) and the impressive chocolate mousse (AED 56). The latter, presented within a gigantic shell, the generous portion of aerated mousse is served alongside caramel sauce and cookies that are ideal for dipping and will have chocaholics reeling with excitement.
In addition to the charming Meditarrana plates, it’s the small touches we will remember fondly, from the chunky ceramic plates embossed with seafood imagery to the fish-shaped napkin rings, mellow soundtrack and playful yet proficient service.
Following the licensed Avli by tashas, Flamingo Room by tashas and the FACT Award-winning Galaxy Bar, Bungalo34 represents another winning concept from the Tashas group that is further enhanced by its picture-perfect waterfront locale.
Come for sundowners and stay for a night of Mediterranean charm. You won’t regret it.
GO: Visit www.bungalo34.com for reservations and more information.