Organic Sundays at Cocktail Kitchen
It’s Sunday evening and I’m on my way to Cocktail Kitchen at JLT, expecting a fairly quiet dinner as people get into the groove of a new work week. On entering the restaurant, however, I almost feel like I’ve traveled back to the weekend. The whole place is already buzzing though it’s barely 7 pm, and the crowd continues to build.
Cocktail Kitchen really highlights the ‘cocktail’ part of its name with a sprawling bar that covers a big chunk of the restaurant space. Just around the corner is a smaller private bar that’s used to give mixology lessons. Aside from the cozy dining area, there’s also a private space for events and, thankfully, the main dining room and bar are non-smoking.
I’m pleased to see that the regular menu has a decent number of vegetarian options; that really seems to be catching on at bars and lounges nowadays, which is great. In addition to that, Cocktail Kitchen has recently launched ‘Organic Sundays’ in conjunction with Ripe Organic. The special menu, which uses sustainable and organic ingredients sourced from around the UAE and Oman, will be available until late December. I decide to try a few dishes from each menu.
Cocktail Kitchen’s dishes vary by season, using the freshest ingredients on hand. The Summer Salad is a good representation of that, consisting of sliced celery mixed with apple, cucumber and watermelon spheres. It adds a neat visual element and the spheres provide an interesting texture. It’s a very refreshing dish and a perfect antidote to the hot and humid weather. The light, summery flavors are balanced out by a dollop of crème fraiche.
The vegan carpaccio from the Organic Sundays menu is another pretty looking dish. Strips of spiced watermelon are cooked sous vide, mimicking the look of a non-vegetarian carpaccio and creating an interesting chewy texture. It tastes like very high quality gummy candy! Pickled cucumbers and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing add to the sweetness of the dish, while rocket leaves provide a nice contrast. I just wish the watermelon had been de-seeded.
Cocktail Kitchen’s risotto is highly recommended, and is another dish that’s tailored for the summer with a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Some goat’s cheese and truffle add a richer tone to the dish, resulting in a dish that’s well worth the recommendation. The organic option is vegan kohlrabi ‘spaghetti’ with broccolini, kale and semi-dried tomatoes. Light and flavorful with a crunchy texture and a tangy flavor undertone from the tomatoes, this is another great summer dish.
All the dessert options look tempting (and I’ve heard good things about the tiramisu), but I decide to keep it simple with a berry ricotta cake from the organic menu. It’s a light, melt-in-your-mouth mixture of ricotta and raspberries served with a berry coulis, delivering a sweet finish without being too indulgent.
The vibe at Cocktail Kitchen is electric, the service top-notch and the food, with its use of seasonal produce, leaves me immensely satisfied. I do refrain from sampling any of the cocktails, however, to keep the focus on the meal itself, but that just gives me another reason to go back.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Buzzing atmosphere, great food, Organic Sundays is a good option
Cons: Not too many vegan options on the regular menu (most of them are only in the Organic Sundays menu)
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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