Distillery – the newest hipster hangout/gastropub – is a welcome addition to Dubai’s seemingly never-ending list of eateries. If you’re anything like me, the one thing that bothers you about a lot of late-night spots in the city is the lack of finger lickin’, mightily satisfying food. You would think that in a city so vibrant and ‘in love with food’, it really shouldn’t be hard to find somewhere with a fun atmosphere, great food and enjoyable music that doesn’t get in the way of good conversation. But I can only think of a couple spots off the top of my head and Distillery is (now) one of them.
Found inside Souk Al Manzil (right next to Ting Irie) in Downtown Dubai, Distillery has something going on almost everyday, including Ladies’ night on Wednesdays, and an evening brunch on Fridays. We opted to go Thursday night, with live music by Josh McCartney from 8 pm to 11 pm. Considering the fact that Distillery only recently opened its doors, I was a little skeptical about the vibe but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted into a crowded venue.
Despite missing our reservation in a restaurant that was clearly running full, we were seated promptly and even moved to a different table of our choice within a few minutes. From the small plates, we ordered: potato skins, sriracha baby octopus, wagyu beef tartare and hamachi ceviche. It might be odd that I list ‘potato skins’ first, but really, they were THAT GOOD. My friend and I shared a grilled angus ribeye steak for our main course. I had kept my expectations slightly on the lower side to avoid disappointment, but ended up enjoying every moment of our meal. The potato skins were thinly cut, crisp and fresh, yet malleable. I just couldn’t get enough. I also really enjoyed the sriracha baby octopus, which was made of crisp fried baby octopus, lying on a flavorful sriracha-infused spicy mayo-like sauce. The beef tartare was interesting – a mix of flavors presented with egg yolk on top, but maybe a little too salty for my liking. The hamachi ceviche on the other hand, tasted fresh, with a tinge of coriander.
The ribeye was cooked to perfection – medium rare, just the way we wanted it. All their steaks are basted with their Honey Bourbon BBQ sauce, which makes them a little sweet. I personally really enjoyed the flavor, which I thought was compensated by that of the meat, but I should say that my friend wasn’t too crazy about the slight sweetness.
The service was on point, with two very helpful servers who checked in on us a few times and ensured we got our food and drinks on time. With many more fun nights and a whole lot of food left to experience, I will definitely be back at Distillery, very soon.