Have you been to PLAY? A question I was hounded with several times in the last few months! Is it that every new restaurant starts off with a crazy hype, so much that you feel really left out until you actually visit the place? Well, PLAY has surely topped the list and become Dubai’s new hotspot.
Led by Chef Reif Othman, ex Zuma fame, this menu combines European cooking techniques with Asian ingredients, a perfect blend of East meets West. Oozing class in every corner, decorated in warm tones, art deco interiors, baroque sculptural chandeliers and a retro vibe, this spot boasts great views of the city’s skyline. Well, is it worth the hype? Let’s find out..
Name: Play Restaurant & Lounge
Location: H Hotel
Ideal for: A fun night out, dinner with music.
What I ate
Duck Gyoza: It was a Duck leg confit with Miso and Chilli ponzu. The thin crisp pastry with the sweet soft duck was quite a winning combination. (Dhs 55)
Pita Surprise: Lightly seared Wagyu beef with truffle butter, a dish that I really loved! (Dhs55)
Elie’s: A skinny crust topped with sliced avocado and green chilli mayonnaise. If you’re a veggie and love your greens, this is something you will relish. (Dhs45)
Japanese sweet corn: It was grilled and dripping in Ras el Hanout butter and lime, a side order that stole my heart and totally worth the calories. (Dhs38)
Truffle Fries topped with truffle salt and parmesan cheese, best in town and a must order. (Dhs35)
Cod : Served with a twist, this black cod came in two ways, half like a croquette with potato and the other half served teriyaki style, both accompanied with a miso sauce and on a skewer. I preferred the original grilled version any day! (Dhs155)
Ebi tempura maki with teriyaki reduction-Nothing extraordinary, it was the usual. (Dhs68)
Sneakers Bar: Pistachio chocolate bar+ caramelized pistachio+ pistachio ice cream. It was crunchy and scrumptious but not something you haven’t tried. (Dhs45)
-What I loved the most about the place was the ambience, it’s more of a hip spot with good music and always packed with people. If you want to just sip drinks and snacks then you can move over to the bar section of the restaurant or else take a table and enjoy the vibe.
-Since this is a fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese, the food is very different from its Japanese counterparts Zuma, Okku and Nobu, hence, leave the comparison aside. The food was visually appealing but there were some items that didn’t live up to the mark and there were some that I would go back for.
-The restaurant is on the 36th floor so expect a fabulous view.
-I wish the menu titles were a little simpler or translated in English. Unfortunately it was hard to understand what Partager, Binchotan, Crudo, Luce etc meant.
– The tables for couples were extremely close to each other making it difficult to talk. Try and reserve a table in the centre or the upper deck instead.
Service: Nemanja was good with suggestions.
Bill: Prices mentioned next to the dishes.
Contact: 04 336 4444/ [email protected]
I think it was the build-up on social media that made me expect way too much from PLAY. Not sure if this spot warrants the crazy hype, the food is not utterly unique but it’s the vibe of the place that I really loved. I would definitely go back for drinks and small bites.
Ebi Tempura Maki with Teriyaki Reduction
Elie’s: Skinny crust topped with Sliced avocado and green chilli mayonnaise
Grilled Japanese sweet corn with Ras el Hanout butter & lime
Cod with Wasabi Miso
From what I know, the culinary genius is coming up with another revolutionary concept. Set to launch within the first quarter of 2016 and located on the 37th floor of the H Hotel, ‘The Experience by Chef Reif Othman’ is a bespoke epicurean adventure catering to those looking to upgrade their PLAY dining experience to something even more premium, deluxe and intimate.
About Reif Othman
Chef Reif Othman has had an outstanding culinary career and is currently one of the most sought after chefs, and has gained global recognition and a celebrity status through his culinary genius and expertise. He began his curiosity and passion for food early on in Singapore, by helping his mother in the kitchen and studying at the Shatec Culinary School. Reif began gaining international recognition for his culinary talents in 2007 when working with One Rochester Group in Singapore as Group Executive Chef for some of the city’s top restaurants and hotels.
Reif was recruited to join the Zuma Dubai team as Executive Chef in 2009 and quickly moved up the ladder as he displayed extensive talents being both creative and disciplined in the kitchen. Being awarded Chef of the Year by BBC Good Food, What’s On Awards and Pro Chef Awards, which warranted his prestigious position of Zuma Regional Executive Chef in 2014, where his culinary excellence helped establish Zuma as one of the most renowned restaurants in Dubai, winning the DIFC location multiple awards and honors throughout his time there.
In 2015 Chef Reif moved on from this role as Regional Executive Chef at Zuma for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for the opportunity to propel his culinary career to new heights as the Director of Culinary at R.A.W. Galadari Holdings & Absolute F&B Facilities Management.