Embark on a journey through the seven regions of Anatolia.
The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm has firmly established itself as a desirable dining destination. The luxurious Palm Jumeirah address is already home to all-day dining venue Cordelia, The St. Regis Bar and the chic Kyma Beach Dubai. This month, the five-star property will add the high-end Turkish restaurant Rüya Dubai to the list.
The popular Anatolian restaurant has had quite the culinary journey. Initially located in Grosvenor House Dubai, Rüya Dubai closed in 2020 before gaining a new lease of life at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London. It now returns to Dubai with a new location and a brand new look following a two-year hiatus.
Incidentally, the name Rüya means ‘dream’ in Turkish, and the venue effortlessly creates an enchanting and ethereal dining experience. Hidden behind an ornate wooden door on the hotel’s third floor, guests will hear the pulsating Oriental soundtrack before they cross the threshold. Greeted with elaborate artworks depicting whirling dervishes, the 175-seat Rüya feels intimate and cosy thanks to its Byzantine-inspired chandeliers, hand-woven Turkish carpets and striking three-dimensional tilework. The theatrical open kitchen, complete with a pide oven, is abuzz with activity on the evening we visit, as is the gold-accented bar, flanked by comfortable seating, ideal for a pre or post-dinner tipple.
Mixologist Francesco Medici is behind the beverage menu, which features a selection of fun and flavourful handcrafted cocktails. Nazar Sour (AED 120), with cardamon-infused vodka, pear and a lemon Prosecco foam, comes topped with an edible Nazar Boncuğu (evil eye) that complements the beguiling blue concoction. For something stronger, the Rüya Negroni (AED 70) combines gin, sweet vermouth, Campari and Turkish coffee, and the Constantinople (AED 75) is an acquired taste made from truffle-infused gin with saffron, lemon, black pepper and Parmesan.
Rüya’s food selection is anchored around traditional Anatolian flavours enlivened with a modern twist. Broken into five sections – meze, soğuk (cold dishes), sicak (hot dishes), firin (bread oven) and büyük tabaklar (larger plates) – the menu has been purposefully designed for sharing, and portions are more than generous. Expect to see a mixture of Rüya signatures and old favourites, such as Levrek (AED 90), a beautiful dish of thinly sliced raw sea bass with mustard, apple and shaved radish, and Isli Patlican (AED 55), a moreish aubergine and walnut purée served with crispy-coated aubergine chips.
We leave our meal in the hands of our affable waiter, who guides us on a culinary journey from the shores of the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, beggining with Oxtail Pide (AED 105). The freshly-baked flatbread comes topped with tender oxtail and fried artichoke and is a dish of complementing textures that perfectly showcases the gastronomic intentions of Rüya Dubai’s Head Chef, Gökhan Cokelez.
A dish of Ciğ Köfte (AED 90) offers roughly chopped beef tartare served inside baby gem lettuce leaves. The robust dish, presented on a glass platter, comes to life with a spritz of lemon. Elsewhere, the crisp Börek (AED 65) are golden cigars of filo-wrapped feta cheese with carrots, courgette and walnuts. The Zeytinyağli Ahtapot (AED 145) is a generous portion of meaty grilled octopus doused in chilli and served with black-eyed beans and a green apple vinaigrette.
Rüya’s large plates include lamb cutlets, rib-eye steaks and whole fish. However, the 24-hour Slow-cooked Short Rib (AED 250) is the restaurant’s pièce de résistance. The remarkably tender beef melts in the mouth and is served with a fiery Turkish chilli BBQ glaze and spiced Konya chickpea purée, resulting in bold flavours and beautiful aromatics.
Make sure you savour dessert on the poolside terrace with its views of the Burj Al Arab whilst sipping on a cup of warming Turkish tea. Hazelnut Baklava (AED 65) or sweet cheese Künefe may seem like obvious choices, but the Çikolata ve Türk Kahvesi (AED 75) offers the most appeal. This dark chocolate dessert takes on the appearance of an almond-shaped kibbeh and is filled with salted caramel and served alongside a dollop of Turkish coffee ice cream. It’s an Insta-worthy finale, a sweet hit to the palate and Rüya’s most memorable dish.
Rüya is a wonderful addition to the dining options at The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm and marks a triumphant return for this Turkish delight. Yet the five-star hotel hasn’t quite finished wowing Dubai diners. In the coming months, the property will introduce The St. Regis Gardens, a dining enclave home to the FACT Award-winning Trèsind Studio, the soon-to-open Signor Sassi, and Leña, a steakhouse concept from Spanish chef Dani García.
With openings scheduled for Riyadh, Cannes and Doha this year, Rüya is on the rise.