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FACT Favourites: The best dishes we ate this month

From Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, these are the dishes to sink your teeth into this month.

Restaurants come and go in the GCC, but FACT’s unwavering passion for dining remains unchanged. The team can be found across the region, sampling the good, the bad and the exceptional. We eat at every kind of restaurant and experience every type of meal, from flash-in-the-pan novelties to iconic institutions. To spare you the guesswork, here are the best dishes we ate in February.

Angry Chicken at Dasha in Riyadh

Dasha in Riyadh is dishing out some seriously impressive Chinese modern cuisine from acclaimed chef Akira Back. The Angry Chicken boasts a sweet, crispy, and impeccably spiced exterior enveloping tender chicken. All you need is one bite of this dish, and you’ll understand why it’s got such a fiery name. Paired with aromatic Dasha Fried Rice and smoky Grilled Broccolini adorned with pistachios, this ensemble showcased the restaurant’s prowess in marrying diverse flavours and textures. – Shaheera Anwar, Staff Writer.


Come With Me To Aleppo at Orfali Bros in Dubai

I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Mohammad Orfali the day after Orfali Bros claimed the number one spot on the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The small restaurant offers several stunning dishes, from the Caviar Bun and Corn Bomb to the exceptional Umami Éclair. However, it’s the playfully named Come With Me To Aleppo that keeps me returning to this homegrown hotspot in Wasl51. A tender wagyu beef kebab served with sour cherry, pine nuts, and cinnamon is a textural marvel, a sweet and savoury sensation and easily one of the best dishes I ate this month. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

best dishes we ate

Honey Nut Crispy Beef at Tàn Chá in Dubai

It’s been a minute since I last dined at Tàn Chá, but a recent lunch meeting brought me back to the multi-faceted Chinese restaurant. With food served in bird cages and dim sum shaped like bumblebees, Chef David Pang’s menu takes diners on an exploration of the new and forgotten. The best dish remains the honey nut crispy beef, a display of culinary finesse that sees beef cubes triple-cooked to achieve an admirable tenderness before being tossed in a sweet and sticky honey dressing and rolled in peanuts. It’s a moreish marvel. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

best dishes we ate

Japanese Wagyu Kawarayaki at Netsu in Dubai

Netsu is a Japanese Steakhouse that showcases the traditional Japanese cooking technique of Warayaki. This straw-fire cooking technique sees plenty of the restaurant’s main courses prepared in the open flame. However, a series of new dishes bring dinner theatre to the tabletop. The Japanese Wagyu Kawarayaki sees three pieces of beef cooked on a tableside BBQ, letting the premium product shine through. Indulge in thin strips of tri-tip, tender cubes of ribeye or slender slices of striploin prepared with an undeniable smokey char and delicious dipping sauces. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

best dishes we ate

Pepperoni Primo at Pitfire Pizza in Dubai

Only one restaurant makes me break my don’t-order-in dietary restriction: FACT Dining Award Dubai winner, Pitfire Pizza. Whenever someone new moves to Dubai, I recommend where to live, shop and eat – and this pizzeria comes out on top. The ten-inch Pepperoni Primo is the best pizza I have eaten in Dubai. There is so much to love, from the bubbly base to the thin crust. Every order arrives piping hot, and the familiar flavours never disappoint. It’s not even a guilty pleasure; it’s pure pleasure. Speaking of which, excuse me while I order one. – Kohinoor Sahota, Deputy Editor.

best dishes we ate

Rosemary & Olive Oil Cake at Chi Spacca in Riyadh

When I spotted Rosemary and Olive Oil cake on the menu at Chi Spacca in Via Riyadh, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a whirl. Surprisingly — and delightfully — it turned out to be a fantastic decision. Served on a hand-painted plate featuring charismatic animal designs, the sweet treat exceeded my expectations. This light, moist sponge contained just a hint of rosemary and was topped with a surprising scoop of olive oil ice cream, offering a memorable ending to a marvellous meal. – Shaheera Anwar, Staff Writer.

Chi Spacca

Smoked Eel Nitro Tomato at Smoked Room in Dubai

Dani García’s Smoked Room Fire Omakase was easily the best meal I had this month. With only 14 seats, the exclusive and personalised dining experience sees each dish touch the flame or embers at the restaurant’s heart. Although each of the 15 courses was exceptional, the Smoked Eel Nitro Tomato impressed me the most. A smoked eel mousse is shaped like a tomato and dipped in liquid nitrogen to retain the form. Served with a sweet bell pepper caramel and almond soup, it’s a plate that plays with perceptions. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

best dishes we ate

The Fat Kid Cookie at Butcher & Still in Abu Dhabi

Going to a steakhouse for dessert might sound like a strange suggestion. The team’s desire for excellence extends from its cuts of meat to its delightful desserts. The Fat Kid Cookie – yes, it’s actually called that – is impressively indulgent. Inspired by the Prohibition era’s restriction of entertainment, desserts were a source of fun – and this a hoot. The chunky pieces of cookie dough, topped with ice cream and sauce combined together to create classy comfort food. There’s a reason this spot at Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island has claimed the title of Best Steakhouse in the capital multiple times at the FACT Dining Award Abu Dhabi. – Kohinoor Sahota, Deputy Editor.

best dishes we ate

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