The Omnia Series | Grassy wishes
Celebrity Chef Silvena Rowe has been all over the place lately – from magazine covers, articles and interviews, to her live cooking demonstrations during the Dubai Food Festival. And of course, we love her epic selfies on social media! While she has been referred to as the domestic diva by Friday Magazine, “domesticated” isn’t exactly fitting for someone with 3 Dubai restaurants, who dares to be different! Although the trend among restaurants in Dubai is to import the majority of their produce, Chef Silvena instead chooses to use only locally sourced organic foods, with a few limited exceptions. Omnia Blue and Omnia Gourmet seem to have taken off, but somehow, despite the trendy modern interiors including an entire wall covered in calligraphy art, her unlicensed* downtown fine dining concept Omnia by Silvena was still very quiet on my last two visits.
As you may know, “Omnia” is an Arabic name for a girl meaning wish. So instead of reviewing each restaurant separately, I decided to club all 3 together and provide you with a grassy wish list.
Although Omnia Blue and Omnia Gourmet are two separate restaurants, they are adjacent to each other and you can order food from either menu at both of the restaurants. My preferred location in good weather is Omnia Blue, which has a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, and was where I sat on my last visit.
The menu is just on a single page and consists mostly of burgers and sliders, the only veggie option being the Organic Quinoa Slider. If only I had tried this one prior to writing my piece on Dubai’s top 7 veggie burgers, because it would have definitely been high up on my list! The quinoa slider is definitely something I would go back for, but next time I am ordering more of them! So the first item on my veggie wishlist would be a regular sized version of it!
I ordered a few dishes from their lunch menu but the only thing that really stood out from the savoury dishes was the Spanakpita, which is a flavourful, light and perfectly baked filo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese – item # 2 on my wishlist!
The signature Avocado, Sugar Snap Peas & Organic Chickpeas, with organic Za’atar pesto & chia seeds didn’t have much flavour, although the vegetables themselves tasted very fresh, and the sugar snap peas were nice and crispy. Their Organic Quinoa Salad was nothing to write home about either and the quinoa itself was undercooked.
Having said that, you will find me there OVER and OVER again for their healthy yet delicious desserts. Silvena’s Velvet Raspberry Cheese Cake is to die for, and their Orange & Almond Cake tastes too good to be gluten free, sugar free AND dairy free! I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other healthy desserts, particularly the Rich Chocolate Brownie and the Raw Banoffee Tart, both of which are also free of sugar, dairy and gluten. All these desserts are on my wishlist!
Omnia Gourmet also has a really interesting breakfast menu, which I haven’t had a chance to sample yet – I am told that Chef Silvena's Shakshuka is one of her signature dishes, so I am definitely putting that on the list.
Omnia by Silvena
While the suited doorman standing outside Omnia by Silvena is a nice touch, the hostess stopping you at the door to ask whether you have a reservation before you even walk in is not. It would probably feel more welcomed if I could just walk in and approach the hostess desk, which seems more appropriate. At first I wrote this off as a one off incident, but when I went back again the second time, I experienced the same thing again, so I do hope they change this strategy.
I have tried most of the vegetarian dishes on the menu, and while the food on the whole is decent, some of the dishes are quite average.
The Organic Red Cabbage & Baby Vegetable Consomme is certainly a visual treat, and tastes light and fresh, however both the Lentil and Quinoa Salads were quite average. The white truffle scented Cauliflower mousse with baby vegetables and wild herbs is a beautifully presented dish, which definitely has novelty value, but is not something I am specifically craving as I write. The highly recommended raw and gluten free Young Coconut Pad Thai certainly had some pad thai flavours, but it is basically just a crunchy raw vegetable salad. The Ottoman style Risotto with saffron scented coconut cream, Parmesan and sumac crisps is a unique and creamy dish with hints of sweet bitterness from the saffron. A tasty dish, but it doesn't quite make it to my wishlist.
The desserts, on the other hand, are quite interesting! The 24K Gold Omnia Sphere is a work of art and a feast for your eyes; the gold sphere melts as the warm chocolate is poured over it, to reveal the crunchy praline and passion fruit cream inside. The Pistachio & Pistachio is another visual treat, the warm pistachio sponge cake with crème Anglaise doesn’t fall into the healthy category, but is delicious. For a dairy free, sugar free AND gluten free dessert, the Chocolate Mousse is very good, but tastes a little too rich to have more than a few bites.
So here’s a final summary of my Veggie Wish-List:
- A larger version of Omnia Blue’s Organic Quinoa Slider
- Omnia Gourmet’s Spanakopita
- All of Omnia Gourmet’s desserts!
- An opportunity to sample Omnia Gourmet’s breakfast, specifically the Shakshuka
- Better vegetarian options at Omnia by Silvena.
* For better or worse, Omnia by Silvena does not serve alcohol.
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