We love a homegrown success story at FACT, and the newly opened BB Social Dining Abu Dhabi has proven itself as one to watch following successful launches in Dubai and Riyadh.
BB Social Dining Abu Dhabi can be found in a fittingly fancy location tucked away inside Rosewood Abu Dhabi. Taking over the space formally occupied by the Spanish restaurant Catalan, the transformation is remarkable. BB Social Dining Abu Dhabi takes the DNA of the Dubai restaurant while instilling the space with a unique identity for the capital. Monochromatic flooring, gold accents, circular mirrors and plenty of potted vegetation set the tone for a cosy meal on the Al Maryah waterfront. A neon sign invites diners to “Meet me at BB”, while an expansive terrace offers glittering views of the Abu Dhabi skyline that will be ideal in the cooler months.
While the design stays true to the DIFC flagship and draws inspiration from contemporary European culture, the modern Asian cuisine by chef and co-founder Alexander Stumpf introduces BB’s now cult bites, baos, bowls and BBQ to Abu Dhabi diners. Not sure what to order? The Insta-worthy Habibti (AED 68), a soft-shell crab poking out of a bao bun, is one of the most popular dishes.
We visited for lunch and were met with a calm and cosy dining experience backed by proficient yet friendly service. A Garden Tonic (AED 70) arrives in a bulbous glass stuffed with citrus slices for a refreshing hit to the palate, while the robust BB Negroni (AED 75) concocted with coffee-infused Campari, gin and sweet vermouth makes for the ideal aperitif.
The restaurant may be casual, but the food is spectacular. When His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum first visited BB Social Dining in Dubai, he shared images of the Baos, Cauliflower Popcorn, and Crispy Sprouts on Instagram. We can’t help but do the same. Cauliflower is often a divisive ingredient, frequently regarded as bland, but given a BB twist, the Cauliflower Popcorn (AED 46) is a punch to the palate thanks to a Parmesan cheese butter and truffle tofu sauce.
Often seen once a year at Christmas, the Crispy Sprouts (AED 45) are a testament to texture in which the crunchy soy Brussel sprouts are topped with fiery red chilli. Other popular choices include the Chopped Kale Tabbouleh (AED 35), in which the Levantine favourite is given a superfood spin and the moreish Salt and Pepper Calamari (AED 60). The only dish that didn’t hit the spot for us was the Spicy Beef Tartare (AED 58) which lacked the expected spice of its namesake.
The signature baos is where the BB menu hits its stride, generously stuffed with everything from sesame beef to miso-marinated black cod, crispy confit duck or chopped lobster. Each bao is presented in Insta-worthy fashion upon a wooden stand and features pillow-soft buns and plenty of sauce. They’re as hard to eat as they are to pick a favourite – the Habibi (AED 65), filled with sesame beef, sweet chilli soy sauce and pickled cucumbers, gets our vote.
BB Social’s desserts have long been making the rounds on social media. Whether you opt for the sweet bao listed on the menu as a Baonut (AED 52) or the Waffles Apple Pie (AED 53) served in an ice cream cone with a syringe full of chocolate – you won’t be disappointed. Or you can make like this Editor-in-Chief and enjoy the Fry Pan Brownie (AED 54), where a chocolate brownie is presented with raspberry marshmallows and strawberry cheesecake ice cream in a hot skillet with lashings of toffee and chocolate sauce.
BB Social brings family dining to the Al Maryah waterfront, offering a dining experience that’s as inclusive as it is inventive. The result is a community concept that complements dining destinations such as Dai Pai Dong, Hidden Bar, La Cava and Glo at Rosewood Abu Dhabi.
GO: Follow @bbabudhabi on Instagram for more information.