FACT Review: Playa Dubai
With Peruvian restaurants #trending in Dubai, can Playa stand out from the crowd?
Palm West Beach is fast becoming one of Dubai’s most popular dining destinations. The most recent openings range from Kyma Beach Dubai to Ristorante Loren. So, when we heard about the new beach club on the block, Playa Dubai, we bought our game face. So much so, we visited twice: for a beach day and dinner.
First things first, how do we pronounce the name: is it plier or player? While it’s the former, nobody is judging you for using the latter. Playa is located in The Club, which is also home to the dreamy Eva and FACT Award-winning SĀN Beach. So, what sets Playa Dubai apart from the other bars and restaurant is its cool concept.
Peruvian cuisine is trending in Dubai. So, if a restaurant is serving an overcooked cuisine, it has to be doing something different – and, thankfully, Playa is doing just that. The restaurant combines Japanese influences with Latin American cuisine and creates a luxe, laidback experience.
On both visits to Playa, we opted for the sand between-our-toes experience and suggest you do the same. The indoors are jungle chic with bold artwork, bamboo lampshades and gorgeous greenery. The outdoors are boho chic, thanks to the oh-so-soft, it’s-surely-imported sand. Take your pick from the sun loungers by the infinity pool or tables by the bar, and admire the views spanning the Arabian Gulf to Dubai Marina.
Playa’s starters cover crudo, nikkei, salads and raw. The mains cover josper, robata, signatures and sharing plates, which make it great for groups. Plus, there is a dedicated kid’s, vegetarian and vegan menu. If you’re overwhelmed by the choice, the staff are knowledgeable about the menu and delivered top-notch recommendations.
We savoured the smoky taste of the Truffle Scallop Nigiris, which arrived steaming and loaded with truffle. Plus, the Wagyu Maikimono had a rich umami flavour, and the Peruvian Corn Salad was fresh yet fiery.
Since you’re in a Peruvian restaurant, make sure to order from the ceviche menu. We’d recommend the Mixto Ceviche and Oysters Ceviche – the latter comes with the kind of dry ice theatrics which would make Heston Blumenthal proud.
The drinks menu includes signature cocktails, which draw inspiration from Peru. The pisco-based drinks are where the bar shines, as we drank our way through more Pisco Sours than we can remember — it even comes in a sharing carafe. The creation is the perfect amount of silky and sweet.
One of The Club’s issues is the proximity of the venues, as the beach clubs are close together, it can sound like Battle of the Bands. So, on our subsequent beach day in Playa Dubai, the relaxed Ibiza vibes were interrupted by a competing soundtrack.
If you’re after a drink with a difference, check out Playa’s Sol Celebrations. The baby Coachella meets back to nature ritual takes place on Sundays from 5pm. As the sun sets, torches are lit, faces are painted, incense is burnt, and you’re encouraged to let the bohemian in you free.
Playa Dubai, we’re game.
GO: Visit www.playadxb.com for reservations and more information.