BRIX Desserts opens new location at ME Dubai Hotel

Representing its second location, BRIX Desserts has a new home in the lobby of ME Dubai Hotel and is now open to guests for sweet and savoury bites, coffee and tea, plus cold refreshments Contemporary dessert bar, BRIX has opened its second location in the lobby of ME Dubai Hotel designed by Zaha Hadid, in the heart of Business Bay. Presenting visitors with handcrafted desserts, savoury bites and artisanal coffee and tea, BRIX is now welcoming guests for dine-in and takeaway. An inviting space for those looking to enjoy a relaxing moment paired with a cup of coffee and a sweet treat or sandwich, BRIX at ME Dubai is an ideal meeting location for friends or colleagues, and an easy access spot for guests that are waiting to check-in to the hotel, are checking-out, or for those that are passing through and fancy an on-the-go refreshment. Created by Head Pastry Chef Carmen Rueda Hernandez, the menu at BRIX comprises a range of signature desserts such as baked cheesecake on a base of feulletine, lemon tart with basil cream, choux éclair with vanilla, coffee or chocolate cream, banoffee pie with milk chocolate and banana, tiramisu, and more. Plus there’s sweet treats such as macarons in various flavours including raspberry & lime, gula melaka & orange, and pistachio, gluten-free chocolate brownies, banana bread muffins, chunky cookies, bon bons, stuffed doughnuts and more. For those with a savoury tooth, BRIX also serves pastries including turkey & cheese croissants, egg & spinach puff pastry, and more. An array of artisanal coffee and tea also awaits at BRIX. Guests can expect a generous menu that includes everything from flat whites to V60 coffees, and earl greys to lemon grass & ginger teas. Cold refreshments are available too, with options like Japanese lemonade and matcha shakes. Commenting on the opening, Chef Carmen said: “ME Dubai is known to be a stylish and uniquely designed hotel that acts as a bold statement within the Burj Khalifa district of Dubai. With BRIX’s innovative desserts and exquisite servings, we feel confident that the two brands create an excellent partnership concept-wise. We’re delighted to open BRIX as ME Dubai’s open café in the hotel.” She added: “Our menu consists of decadent desserts made with quality ingredients which in turn elevates one’s experience and defines how sweet dishes taste. BRIX is known for serving a variety of delectable options, be it sweet or savoury, and we have created some new items especially for ME Dubai that we are excited to serve to guests at the hotel. Some of our highlight items include the ‘coconut mango’ which is made of mango and chia seeds as a base topped with more mango cuts, passion fruit and granola, which makes for a great light breakfast or a healthy snack throughout the day. From the beverage options, there is Japanese lemonade, made using Japanese lime, and it is quite a refreshing beverage during summer.” BRIX at ME Dubai Hotel is now open to guests and can be found in the lobby area of the building. Open seven days a week from 8am – 11pm, with free valet parking available. For further information, please call +971565255299, e-mail [email protected], visit or follow @brix_desserts and @brixjourney on Instagram.

Restaurant Secrets Inc. announces the opening of M1 Café & Lounge in Abu Dhabi

The UAE-based restaurant consultancy has revealed the launch of its latest turn-key project in the capital – M1 Café & Lounge UAE-based F&B firm Restaurant Secrets Inc. has announced the opening of M1 Café & Lounge, its latest turn-key project located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen area. The new, ultra-modern venue is now open to the public and presents visitors with three floors for varied dining experiences. M1’s café welcomes guests on level one of the outlet, while diners will find the main dining lounge on level two, and an exclusive private members’ social club on level three. All-day dining takes place at the café, where an approachable menu features casual bites, while M1’s dining lounge opens for lunch and dinner with a unique yet familiar menu inviting guests to lounge, graze and relax. At the private members’ social club on level three, exquisite food and drinks will be served along with a VIP individualized service. The luxurious facility features a lounge, meeting room, and two private dining rooms. Curated by the Director of Operations at Restaurant Secrets Inc., Brian Voelzing, the menu features highlights of braised short rib fettuccini, rosemary & garlic grilled prawns, varied maki rolls including the classic California roll, burrata & pesto pizza, whole roasted seabass, and more. “We aimed to create a menu that offers something for everyone by using the best ingredients available and taking inspiration from some of the most popular dishes found in the region. Guests will find the menu divided into sections where each item is cooked or prepared like the Josper Grill, Sushi Counter, or the Woodfire Oven, there’s also Handmade Pasta,” said Brian. Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder of Restaurant Secrets Inc. and Cornerstone 61 Consultancy said, “The team has worked very hard over the past twelve months to open this unique concept of café, lounge, restaurant, housed in a three-level villa in Abu Dhabi’s prestigious Bateen district. Our latest turn-key project, M1 has opened doors successfully to a full house, which reaffirms our faith in Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning F&B scene”. For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc. call +971 56 216 1511, e-mail [email protected], visit or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media. For reservations at M1 visit @m1cafelounge on Instagram.

Get to know: Thomas Keller

Get to know: Thomas Keller - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Chefs - Culinary tales

Ever wondered what brand of knives chef Keller uses or what his most treasured piece of advice is? Here, the celebrated chef shares a little bit about himself. Renowned for exceptionally high standards and perfected culinary skills, chef Thomas Keller is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide, and at present, his restaurants carry seven Michelin stars in total: three at Per Se, three at The French Laundry, and one at Bouchon Bistro – all of which are located in the US. It goes without saying that he’s one of the world’s most celebrated chefs, who played a major role in redefining food across America. He now has several outlets across the Middle East, including Bouchon Bakery in Abu Dhabi. Getting to know more about the man who has achieved so much, here’s what he shared… Is there any advice you wish you had received, when you were first starting out as a chef? I was very fortune to receive advice that forever changed my path. It was a few words from my mentor, Chef Roland G. Henin one summer at The Dunes Club in Narragansett, Rhode Island. He told me that there is a reason that cooks cook. And that reason is to nurture people. Cooking was physical. But it was also emotional, a conduit for human connection. We cook to nurture. To make people happy. To create lasting memories around a meal. Chef Henin’s words became my guiding principle, the foundation of everything I try to do. What’s your favourite knife brand? I have been using MAC Knives in my restaurants and at home since 2000; their superior quality lends itself to precision and control, both of which are fundamental for tasks in the kitchen. If you could only have one piece of kitchen equipment, what would it be and why? A piece of cookware from All-Clad. I believed in and used All-Clad long before I partnered with them. They continue to innovate and ask the right questions about what chefs need and how they cook. Who is your favourite chef? My favorite chefs are the ones who came before us: the innovators and influencers who inspired a generation of chefs and whose experience and expertise paved the way for the most refined and advanced culinary era in history. We must honour that first generation of acclaimed French chefs in America, from the 1960s and 1970s, as an essential part of our larger community that ignited the culinary movement in America and inspired so many chefs like myself. Their genius made today’s novel kitchen arts possible and elevated the status of cooking, in the eyes of Americans, from a mere job to a prestigious profession. Without them, nothing would have been possible. What is your daily routine? Do you have any daily rituals? Yes. Mise en place – French for “everything in its place” is the single most important step in cooking and can be applied to daily rituals. It’s about having everything you need to start cooking; picturing ever task involved in developing a dish – all the ingredients and all the tools – and having them organized in advance. Whether it’s mise en place for a meal or service or for life, it’s all the same thing.Prepare yourself today for tomorrow. What ingredients do you love to work with? Our food philosophy is really based on our ingredients; those ingredients that are coming from our farmers, our fisherman, our gardeners, our foragers. These individuals are critical to what we do and what we are able to prepare for our guests.Some of the farmers and fisherman and gardeners have small businesses and they need our support; that responsibility is very significant. We have known many of our purveyors for decades and we cherish those moments and relationships. When hiring people to work in your kitchen, what top 3 traits do you look for? One of our primary jobs and responsibilities is to hire the right people – those men and women who possess the skills and have the attitude and mindset to enter our profession. We have to give them training that goes on the entire time they’re with. We then have to mentor them not just in their career, but in their lives. If we do those things right, what happens? They become better than you. And if they’re not, then you haven’t done a very good job.

Recipe: wild mushroom & black winter truffle risotto by Enrico Paiola

Wild mushroom & black winter truffle risotto - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Recipes

Try this indulgent dish by The Hidden Hog’s executive chef Enrico Paiola at home. Serves 1 INGREDIENTS 70g arborio rice 80g while mushroom mix 35g butter 25g Grana Padano 10ml white wine 1 no carrot, chopped 1 no white onion, chopped 1 no celery stick, chopped 1 no garlic clove, chopped 10g shallot, chopped 5g black winter truffle 5ml truffle oil 10ml extra virgin olive oil 5g parsley Salt & black pepper, to taste METHOD Prepare vegetable stock with 1 litre of water, carrots, onion, celery, cut into big pieces. Clean mushrooms and cut into small pieces. Heat the pan with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and shallots and sauté for couple of minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes. Remove it and keep It aside. In another pan put some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle the rice. Leave It for 1 minute until It looks transparent. Add vegetable stock in small quantities to the rice over medium to high heat, till it is ready. After 13 to 14 minutes the rice will be ready. Remove from heat. Add Grana Padano cheese, butter, salt, pepper, parsley and truffle oil. Mix gently for 1 minute. Plate in your favourite dish and shave the black truffle on the top. Buon Appetito!

Recipe: chicken cafreal by chef Himanshu Saini

Chicken cafreal recipe by Chef Himanshu Saini - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Recipes

Chef Himanshu Saini is the creative mastermind behind Dubai’s leading modern Indian restaurant, Tresind and Tresind Studio. Here, he shares one of his latest creations INGREDIENTS 700g coriander 30 coriander seeds 7g black pepper whole 3g green cardamom whole 5g star anise 5g fennel seeds 10g cumin seeds whole 3g cloves 3g cinnamon stick 10g ginger 20g garlic cloves, peeled 1 onion whole, small 500ml white vinegar 10g white sugar refined 30ml refined oil 15g tomato ketchup 15g cream 250g ghee For the cafreal 160g chicken juliennes, raw 80g onion juliennes 80g green capsicum juliennes 20g fresh coriander leaves 10 shisho leaves 80g tempura flour 60-80ml (depending on thickness of batter required) water 20g corn flour 40g smoky aioli METHOD Soak all ingredients for the base in vinegar for over an hour. Once soaked, grind it to a fine paste. Retain the remaining vinegar Take the chicken juliennes and deep fry them till it is cooked from the outside, drain the oil and keep aside. Add spoonful of oil and sauté onion juliennes as well as the capsicum juliennes till soft. Drain the oil and keep aside. In a medium pan, add oil and allow to heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cafreal base and allow to cook. Once cooked, finish it off with the tomato ketchup, cream and fresh coriander leaves. Add the fried chicken juliennes, onion juliennes as well as the green capsicum juliennes and toss. Allow the chicken to cook throughout, approximately 2-3 minutes, check seasoning. For the shiso leaf, make a batter using the tempura flour and water. Whisk it well and pass through a fine strainer to get rid of all the lumps. Take 4 leaves and dust them with corn flour, shake off the excess corn flour. Dip the leaves into a batter and deep fry in ghee till crispy. From the remaining shiso leaf, take a ring cutter and cut roundels from the leaves and put into ice cold water to retain its freshness. For plating of the dish, take a plate and place a crisp tempura fried shiso leaf on it. Take a spoon and spoon out some of the cooked chicken mixture in to the leaf. Make a spiral of the smoky aioli on top of the mixture and place 3 shiso roundels on top of the smoky aioli. Garnish with edible flowers.

Know how: sushi etiquette with Katsuya Uechi

Know how: sushi etiquette with Katsuya Uechi - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Chefs - Culinary tales

There’s a right and wrong way to eat sushi, and Katsuya Uechi, executive chef of Katsuya Worldwide, is here to teach us all we need to know about mastering the skill. Let’s talk sushi etiquette. What’s the correct way to eat sushi and sashimi? It is OK to use chopsticks or even your hands (as some people do in Japan), but dipping the fish side in the soy sauce is the right way to eat sushi, not dipping the rice portion. Also, if you sit at a sushi bar, it’s proper manners to eat sushi immediately when the chef serves it, rather than having a chat and letting the sushi wait on the platter. What are your top tips for rolling the perfect sushi roll? It is difficult to perfect the regular sushi roll the first time – I think a hand roll is better. Put sushi rice on a half sheet of seaweed and then put sashimi grade fish or vegetable and wrap it. It all sounds rather simple when you say it but you can only perfect the technique with practice. It takes some people only a couple of years, while it takes some a lifetime. More than ever, people are dining at home because of the pandemic. What ingredient essentials are needed from the supermarket to create sushi at home? If available, go to an Asian supermarket and get medium grain rice, sushi vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce, sashimi grade fish and some vegetables – that’s enough for a perfect sushi meal. Where would you recommend going for the best culinary experience in Japan? There are many options in the culinary world in Japan and one can enjoy any place you go, even if you don’t go to an expensive restaurant. For example, if you go to Tsukiji, go to Asakusa, if you like sukiyaki (a Japanese dish that is prepared and served in the nabemono, a Japanese hot pot) or unagi (freshwater eels). Tell us about your journey as a chef… I grew up in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa, where I lived with my parents who were very active in the restaurant business – so it wasn’t new to me. After graduating from Osaka Tsuji Culinary School, I went on to do a couple of apprenticeships in Osaka and Tokyo, and got my first job at a first-class Okinawa restaurant. I then moved to the U.S with my wife in 1984, and after working as an executive chef at a few local L.A restaurants, I decided to become independent. I started my first restaurant in Ventura Boulevard in LA, an area that is often referred to as ‘Sushi Ginza’ meaning ‘Sushi Corner.’ This is where I began experimenting with my own sushi creations, and the restaurant’s reputation spread throughout the city by word of mouth, attracting a variety of clientele, including celebrities. For more information about Katsuya, visit

Get to know: Michel Roux Jr.

Get to know: Michel Roux Jr. - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Chefs - Culinary tales

Staying true to his family’s culinary roots, English-born chef Michel Roux Jr. is known for his work at La Gavroche in London – and has two Michelin stars to prove it. Here, we get to know the chef and his secrets to success a little more. La Gavroche, London which was opened by Michel Roux Jr.’s celebrated father, chef Albert Roux in 1967, has been since headed up his son for over 25 years, and to this day is recognised as one of the city’s finest French restaurants known for its consistent delivery. From judging appearances on MasterChef, to writing acclaimed cookbooks, everything about Roux Jr. exudes a passion for food. Of all the food capitals in the world, where’s the best place you have been for its food? There are so many wonderful cities in the world that are doing amazing things with food that it’s hard to pick just one. If I absolutely had to, I’d probably say London. I am slightly biased, living there and running restaurants there, but it’s made such a transformation over the past 50 years. Now, there’s such a melting pot of culinary talents and it’s a hub of international gastronomy – you could quite literally pick any cuisine in the world, and you’d be able to find somewhere serving it brilliantly. Your daughter and father are both chefs too. Do you find culinary inspiration from each other, or are your styles very different? Yes and no. I was definitely inspired by my father, and I’d like to think that my daughter was inspired by us both. We have all been trained in the classic French style, but each of us has interpreted that differently. My father is very classically French in his style, lots of cream and butter and deliciously rich food. My style is slightly lighter, a little more refined. My daughter Emily’s is even more so, more modern and contemporary. Of course we do continue to take inspiration from each other but cooking is a very personal thing, and it’s unique to everyone. With your father being a chef, did you know from an early age that you wanted to become a chef? Where did your culinary journey begin? I can’t really say there was a particular ‘eureka’ moment when I knew I wanted to be a chef, it’s just something I’d always wanted to do. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be cooking. I think it’s a very natural reaction to being surrounded by a family of chefs and being brought up in kitchens. Some of my earliest memories are of my father cooking, and the smells of a kitchen. I was actually nearly born on our kitchen table! Being around cooking constantly at such a young age sparked a natural curiosity in me, in the same way it did for my daughter Emily, and she’s now a chef too! Neither of us were ever pushed into being chefs, it’s just something we always wanted to do. Who is the chef you admire most for their skill and technique? There are so many chefs I’ve been inspired by, it’s hard to pick one. A chef I’ve always found inspiring is Escoffier. He changed the face of British cuisine over a century ago, and put a love of great food at the heart of modern Britain. He brought glamour into the dining room and changed the way a professional kitchen works so dramatically. I still flick through his cookbook to this day. Since opening in the 1960s, Le Gavroche’s outstanding offering has been recognised through a plethora of awards, as well as earning two Michelin stars. What’s the secret to continued success? Le Gavroche is an independent family restaurant, and there are family values and traditions in the restaurant that you just can’t replicate elsewhere. Aside from that, we stay true to our roots – we’re known for classic French fine-dining and that’s what our guests expect when they visit us. Culinary excellence and attention-to-detail is all part of the package, and we are only ever as good as our last service. You need to keep evolving, but also pay homage to where you came from. It’s a fine balance. What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Being able to greet my guests is one of the best parts of my job. I’m mainly based at Le Gavroche, so if I don’t have any meetings or events, I try to always be there in the kitchen so I can go out and greet every guest. I like chatting with them and hearing their feedback. It keeps things more personal, and sometimes it can really make someone’s day. For those looking to learn more about French cuisine, which region in France is best to visit for food? There are so many! Léon is great for classic French food, and Provence is also wonderful – it’s got a really beautiful countryside with a variety of wildlife which produces delicious lavender and honey. The wines are also superb. Provencal produce in general is of great quality, such as the lamb and seafood. I’d recommend a visit during truffle season, from November to mid-March. For more information on Michel Roux Jr and Le Gavroche, visit

Recipe: Persian lamb shank

Recipe: Persian lamb shank - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Recipe

Palazzo Versace Dubai’s executive chef Mansour Memarian offers kitchen inspiration for cooking at home with his Persian lamb shank recipe served at Enigma. Persian lamb shank Serves 4 For the lamb shank 2kg lamb shank (approx.. 4 pieces)           200g onion   20g garlic, crushed 200g tomato, wedges     150g carrots, chunks 150g celery, chunks 4lt water 50g adviye powder (see recipe below)   40g salt 8g black pepper 80g vegetable oil 100g spring onion For the adviye powder (mixed spice) 150g coriander 150g cumin seeds 30g cinnamon stick 10g cloves 5g star anise 5g bay leaves 30g green cardamom, whole 10g nutmeg powder 100g turmeric powder METHOD Firstly, to make the adviye powder, mix all the whole spices except turmeric and nutmeg powder and roast in 160 degrees for 10 minutes. While roasted spices are still warm, blend them all together until powdered. Sift through with fine strainer. Lastly, mix together with turmeric and nutmeg powder. Season the lamb shank with salt and pepper. Heat the pan, put half of the vegetable oil and sear the lamb shank (all sides). On the other pot, sauté all the vegetables with the remaining oil until caramelized. Add tomato paste and adviye powder. Keep cooking in low flame for 4 minutes. Add water and salt into the pot, let it boil until the sauce gets a medium thick consistency. In a deep oven container, place lamb shanks and pour the vegetable sauce over. Cover the container with aluminum foil and cook in steam oven 100 degrees for 7-8 hours. Serve with roasted tomato, spring onion and white onion.

On the pass: Alessandro Miceli at Bella Restaurant & Lounge

On the pass: Alessandro Miceli at Bella Restaurant & Lounge - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Restaurants

Bella Restaurant & Lounge on the 20th floor of Grand Millennium Hotel Business Bay is Dubai’s latest hot spot for Italian cuisine. In the words of its executive chef Alessandro Miceli, we learn what dish, in his opinion, is the best on the menu. What dish on your menu are you most proud of? Our Costoletta, for sure. Bella’s own version of the famous ‘Orecchia d’ Elefante’, elephant ear, the not so traditional veal chop Milanese. Tell us about the inspiration behind this dish, and what makes it such a stand out plate? The inspiration behind this dish comes from the maestro himself, the ‘Chef of Italian Chefs’, Gualtiero Marchesi. In the 70’s, he reinvented traditional recipes and the veal Milanese is one of them. From Mamma’s grilled veal chop, we’ve come a long way. It involves many techniques to obtain a meat that is medium rare, with the juices sealed on the inside. The original recipe originates from the North of Italy. I am from the South, so we reconciled the both, with a fine veal from the north breaded in almonds for a more Mediterranean touch.   Where do you source the ingredients from for this dish?Our veal originates from the green pastures of Piedmont, it is grass fed and raised with care. The almonds come from Avola, Sicilia. For more information or reservations, contact [email protected], call +971 4 873 3377 or visit

Get to know: Pierre Gagnaire

Get to know: Pierre Gagnaire - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Chefs - Culinary tales

With three Michelin stars under his belt, over 10 successful restaurants worldwide and Le Chef’s title of ‘best chef in the world’ as his own, Pierre Gagnaire is notably one of the most respected chef’s in the industry. Although based in his native France, the accomplished chef is the culinary lead behind InterContinental Dubai Festival City’s Pierre Bistro. Here, we get to know chef Pierre Gagnaire on a personal level. What’s your first food memory? My first food memory is from my grandmother. My brother and I were always together as kids, and in the mornings when we were in bed my grandmother would bring us both a biscuit topped with butter and chocolate. When you’re a kid, you don’t realise the significance – crumbs in the bed and half asleep – but thinking back, it’s a very special, fond memory for me. It was quiet in the countryside, in the village where I was born, and how blissful it was to enjoy just a simple biscuit, with really amazing butter and a thin slice of chocolate. Why did you want to become a chef? My father had a restaurant, and I’m the oldest of my family so that naturally became my job. I didn’t like it at first, but after a few years it was my life and my passion for food started. I didn’t understand initially how working in this industry could open doors for meeting new people and how creative it’d allow me to be. With maturity and experience my appreciation grew. Through all your culinary successes, you’ve always stayed clear of the whole celebrity chef scene. Why is that? The reason is because when you do that, you spend a lot of time doing that. When you have the opportunity to be in the spotlight, it’s incredible the way that people see you, but if you become famous this doesn’t go away once the TV is switched off. You can be in a supermarket with people pointing at you, and I hate that. People become totally inquisitive and lose their minds around you. I don’t want to be treated like that. What ingredients do you like to source from the Middle East? Dates, camel milk, honey, lamb, and spices. What five ingredients are always in your kitchen at home? Olive oil, vinegar, butter, salt, and honey. What is your comfort food? An orange. It’s a simple choice, but when I was a child an orange was special. It was not something that was very accessible to me growing up. It was something very special to have an orange, in my time. And, if I had to pick something else I’d choose bread – a piece of nice bread with a little piece of chocolate on it. Another comfort food would be oysters. I love oysters. When you’re at home, do you cook often? In the summer, yes. In August when I’m at home, I enjoy getting into the kitchen. It’s my pleasure to cook for my family as I don’t see them very often so I enjoy spending this time with them over dinner at home. If you could go back and give your younger self some advice, what would you say? Don’t forget about your family and don’t forget your private life. It’s important to find balance. For more information or reservations at Pierre’s Bistro, visit or call 04 701 1199.