FACT Review: CouCou Rooftop Dubai
From sundowners to shisha, this new spot is all about sky-high views.
With no shortage of options for dinner with a view, Dubai is a city of stunning rooftop restaurants. Whether you want to gaze at Burj Khalifa from CÉ LA VI, stare at Ain Dubai at the Chinese-inspired Mott 32, be mesmerised by the waters of the Arabian Gulf at Tasca, or see the city splayed out beneath you at Fi’lia – Dubai has a rooftop restaurant for every cuisine and occasion.
Enter CouCou Rooftop Dubai, a new spot for drinking and dining on Level 52 of The Palm Tower. The restaurant, which encourages diners to ‘leave your inhibitions at ground level’, has been gaining a reputation for fantastic food and stellar views since opening in late December.
However, the location is tricky, and access to CouCou Rooftop involves valet parking at The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm, taking a lift up through Nakheel Mall, schlepping through the gift shop at The View at The Palm and ascending yet another lift, where dazzling video screens promise diners “a night like no other.”
Thankfully, it’s worth the effort. Stepping onto the viewing deck-come-dining room 240 meters above Palm Jumeirah rewards those of have successfully managed to find CouCou Rooftop(which incidentally means “hello” in French) with 360-degree views of Dubai – taking in Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and the glittering Marina skyline. First impressions are crucial and CouCou certainly has the wow factor.
While diners will be drawn to the venue for the impressive view in which the fronds of Palm Jumeirah stretch out into the ocean. CouCou Rooftop may have missed a trick because the venue doesn’t open until 8pm, meaning sunset dining is not (currently) possible at this rooftop hotspot.
Whether you’re visiting for post-work drinks or a romantic date night, there is an area to suit your mood and the size of your group. CouCou offers dimly lit booths, stools by the marble bar, leather sofas and more formal tables to capitalise upon the view. Half-glass walls are in place to protect guests from the elements, though at 52 floors high, we find our al fresco dinner to be a little too cold despite the abundance of heaters in place.
CouCou’s cuisine is difficult to pinpoint, with the menu swaying towards the Mediterranean while throwing in dishes such as guacamole and truffle tuna tartare with yuzu for good measure. It’s basically the greatest hits of Dubai, so fans of burrata, caviar and lobster linguine can sleep easy.
Exploring the menu, we find the Guacamole (AED 85) to be more under-seasoned than signature. However, the Snails with Garlic Butter (AED 95) make an impression. Removed from their shells and presented decadently with lashings of garlic butter and parsley, we savour every last morsel of the plump molluscs. Elsewhere, Dubai’s obsession with Burrata (AED 115) shows no signs of slowing, with the creamy sweetness of the Italian cheese used effectively to offset the acidity of its tomato pairing.
The main courses cover everything from pasta to pizza (of course, there’s a truffle one) and grilled meats. It’s here that chef Kanchana Ranasinghe gets to flex his culinary skills. Having previously worked alongside Chef Izu Ani at the FACT Award-winning Carine, influence is evident in dishes such as the gloriously tender Milk Fed Lamb Cutlet with Spicy Aubergine (AED 275), the lighter grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass with Artichoke Puree (AED 170) and the Demoiselles Tarte Tatin (AED 115), a highlight of the dessert menu. There’s also the reversed tiramisu which may be the most expensive iteration of the dish in town (AED 140 for two people and AED 280 for four), offering a robust blend of coffee, cream and chocolate plated with an inverse presentation.
Anchored around exemplary service (a special shout out to our genial waiter Brian), expertly crafted cocktails and backed by one of the most impressive views in Dubai, CouCou Rooftop brings a certain je ne sais quoi to proceedings. But as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, and at CouCou, this means the view. For a sky-high splurge, CouCou Rooftop Dubai ticks all of the boxes. Just make sure you bring a jumper.
CouCou Rooftop Dubai is open daily from 8pm to 2am.
GO: Visit coucou-dubai.com or call 052 451 2188 for reservations and more information.