Buddha Bar: An Enriching Evening
After checking out the new avatar of Siddharta Lounge recently, it only seemed logical to give Buddha Bar a look as well. The Paris import (with several other locations worldwide) has been making waves in Dubai’s culinary scene for ages, but it has never really been reviewed from a vegetarian perspective.
Sitting on the ground floor of Tower 1 in Grosvenor House, Buddha Bar is a more opulent and elegant alternative to its casual rooftop lounge sibling. Dark wood interiors with accents of red and gold, elaborate chandeliers and soft orange lighting create a sense of warmth. Floor to ceiling windows offer a glimpse of the Marina nightlife and a giant golden Buddha statue towers over everyone. Although it’s a weeknight, the dining room is quite full, and about half an hour into the evening, it’s practically overflowing. However, the space never feels overly crowded despite being packed with tables.
We start off with a simple mixed salad – beetroot, rocket, tangy vinaigrette and fried parmesan, which is the real star of that dish. The vegetable spring rolls are nice, with a good crisp exterior, but the green vegetable dumplings taste fairly average. Seasonal vegetable tempura is a medley of root vegetables in light and crunchy tempura batter, which we polish off with a nice dipping sauce. We get our sushi fix thanks to avocado and sun-dried tomato maki rolls, full of freshness with a lingering tang from the tomatoes.
All four of the robata (grill) options look tempting, so we decide to try the lot of them. There are spears of green and white asparagus with citrus gel (refreshing), Japanese eggplant and miso (a must-try), mushroom tomato ‘al cartoccio’, which translates to ‘cooked in a bag’, or aluminum foil in this case (not my favorite), and tempeh skewers with chili relish. This is probably the first time I have eaten a tempeh dish at a restaurant in Dubai, and this one certainly does not disappoint (another must-try).
To conclude the savory part of the meal, we have a stir-fry of tofu, bok choy and broccoli with vegetable yaki soba noodles. Both dishes have a rich, earthy flavor that’s just perfect for a cool winter evening.
There’s still room for dessert of course, and we go all in on chocolate. The Chocolate Fondant is a gooey delight paired with vanilla ice cream and a dash of raspberry sauce. However, the standout dessert for me is the Chocolate Chili Cake, with alternating tones of sweetness and heat.
Buddha Bar’s pan-Asian cuisine offers a little bit of everything for everyone, and has enough to satisfy any veggie lover. Eating there won’t go easy on your wallet, but it’s well worth it for the stunning view, groovy tunes and bold flavors. And based on the fact that the whole place is full on a Monday, I’d recommend booking a table early for the weekend!
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: ✔
Pros: Good food, amazing décor, bustling atmosphere
Cons: Service slows down quite a bit as the restaurant gets busy
Price: $$$ (200 - 500 AED)
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