There is so much to love about Tasca. A fantastic location – with views that open to the vast sea on one side and the glittering city on the other. The zingy interiors with the stylish bar that is the centre of attraction surrounded by intimate tables-for-two as well as large ones for groups. Very well-informed and friendly servers, dim lights and buzzing music that keep the tempo high. Plus of course, Michelin starred chef Jose Avillez’s menu that is authentically Portuguese yet deliciously apt for an international palate. Be it for dinner or brunch, this is one must-do that should rank high on your list.
First, all about the dinner experience. The menu is divided into three parts – tapas style ‘Small bites’, Dishes to Share and Tasca Specials. The Small bites have really small portions but they leave you craving for more. We tried the tuna Tartare that came in the crispy cones with the spicy sauce adding just the right amount of flavour. The Tempura Cod cake was melt-in-the-mouth with the garlic and lemon emulsion but the Foie gras was surprisingly disappointing. But no worries as what came next was literally mind-blowing – the ‘Lagariero’ roasted Octopus – was a dish of another level. The octopus was fresh and perfectly grilled, the aromatic garlic-flavoured sauce had just the right amount of tanginess and the baby potatoes made for a perfect complement. Outstanding and a testimony to chef Avillez’s skills. While the wagyu sirloin could have been less chewy, we had no complaints about it.
The best was for the last. Do not leave Tasca ever without trying the Mandarin Orange for dessert – the orange ball with mandarin ice-cream stuffed inside makes for not just an instagrammable picture but gives you that supremely satisfying feel that only a good… no, great dessert can.
The famous blue lobster, part of the dinner menu is a must-try too
All of the above holds true for the brunch too. Especially on lazy Fridays. The recently introduced Tasca Brunch brings the spirit and vibrancy of Portugal to Dubai. Begin with the refreshing sangria (but of course!) and then move on to the Portuguese grape. In the food, the set menu has salads (the chickpea salad with cod fish and parsley being our favourite) and the 'Pesticos'. Be it the 'Bulhao Pato' (clams and coriander), the roasted veal or mushrooms, it's difficult to choose which is better than the other. Brunch can be a long drawn affair as the food comes to your table, platter by platter even as you surrender to the ultra-lazy vibe. In the mains, our vote goes to the roasted codfish and roast sardines - yes, this place is a seafood lover's delight.
Now, we wait for the winters – when the outdoor seating will open up. Sipping on a beverage, staring into the sea beyond the infinity pool, never looked this tempting.
INFO: Mandarin Oriental Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road