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Restaurant review: Amazónico, Dubai

Restaurant review: Amazónico, Dubai

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There are restaurants that instantly raise your energy levels the moment you step in – Amazónico in DIFC is one of them. You can attribute that to one of many factors. It could be the refreshingly verdant décor where there are plants teeming from every corner including the ceilings, the walls, the floors, or the energetic Latino-electro beats emanating from the DJs console or even the muted lighting coupled with tasteful interiors finished in bright pops of colour.

Amazónico is a sprawling three-storey property located at the edge of DIFC, offering commanding views of much of the Emirates Tower Hotel across the road. The original Amazónico restaurant originates from Madrid where it is headed up by owners Sandro Silva and Marta Seco. That outpost is a celebrity magnet that still ranks high in the culinary capital of Spain which also offers other options of world-class restaurants including Numa Pompilio and Cannibal.

Amazónico has now begun on an international expansion, and during the last quarter of 2019 opened in Mayfair’s Berkley Square in London and also in Dubai’s DIFC.

Here in the DIFC restaurant whose interiors are designed by Lazaro Rosa-Violan, we enter the ground floor which opens up into the bar and a lounge area behind the reception desk. A spiral staircase leads to the second floor which has a large indoor-outdoor dining space, where diners can see an army of chefs working at a frenetic pace.

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The menu that they are working off is a nod to creations and ingredients found across Latin America. We begin with the Ensalada Amazonica served in a stone bowl which consists of avocado and mango with confit tomato and kalamansi citrus that makes for an ideal starter, as does the Carabinero Yarikahua that continues the citrus theme with flavourful lime and yuzu marinated prawns.

A surprise will be the guacamole that here at Amazónico is mixed with sea urchin and where the tortilla chips are swapped for crispy plantains. If you’re palette is adventurous enough, try the Ancas de Rana – deep fried frog legs (sourced from France, we are told, and not from a rainforest in South America) served with a habanero mango dressing.

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For the mains, although we saw many tables around us tuck into the Picanha, a Brazilian style grilled rumpsteak, we instead opted for the Costilla de Cordero – mint marinated lamb chops – and Carbinero which consisted of large baked prawns with a lime dressing – both of which were on-point recommendations by the helpful Spanish-speaking waitstaff. Another great option for the mains is the Seco de Mejillones, sautted mussels in a base that resembles the flavours of a Thai curry, served here though with edamame and corn.

For desserts, the baklava isn’t a South American creation but instead Amazónico showing its willingness to localize its menu. Here, the deconstructed baklava served with dulce de liche ice cream is an imaginative creation.

The experience of dining at Amazónico can aptly be described as carnival-esque, a far cry from the many stiff buttoned-up restaurants you will otherwise find in this financial district.

Amazónico, DIFC Pavilion, Dubai. Saturday- Tuesday noon-2am; Wednesday-Friday noon-2.30am. Tel: (04) 571 3999

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