January 23, 2011
Haute Cuisine: Dining in Dubai’s At.mosphere
Jenifer Fenton
At.mosphere, the world’s highest restaurant in the world’s tallest building, is opening its doors in Dubai to diners who are looking for a little haute cuisine.
To get to the restaurant, dinners use the express elevator in the Burj Khalifa, which whisks them up to level 123, 442 meters or 1,350 feet high. You travel 10 meters per second so the trip takes just 57 seconds.
The menu is modern European grilled cuisine. Executive Chef Dwayne Cheer recommends the beef. “Definitely the beef,” said Mr. Cheer, who has worked for more than 13 years in Michelin star restaurants.
Marc Dardenne, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, which manages the outlet meanwhile recommends the fresh scallops or the lamb flown in directly from New Zealand. For dessert, the soufflé is “just outstanding,” Mr. Dardenne said. The food is “all very light, you don’t put on weight.”
When asked if the check was on the lighter side, the answer was, “Hopefully we would like to create a special experience at that restaurant that people keep on coming back,” he said.
Reading between the lines, one might think: expect a pricey meal.
The main courses are all based on a “beautiful magic” oven, Mr. Cheer said. The Josper grill is a BBQ dual oven designed in Spain and fuelled by charcoal, not gas. Temperatures reach 700 degrees Celsius.
So it’s hot in the kitchen. And hopefully hot in the restaurant.
Designer Adam Tihany said he was aiming to “create the sexiest venue on the top of the world.” He aimed to design a bar, restaurant and lounge in an iconic location and altitude in a way that diners can still feel comfortable, still feel “grounded.”
“It’s an absolutely spectacular opportunity to do a project this iconic knowing that with the current economy there is not going to be competition for quite some time,” Mr. Tihany said. “We are going to be on the top of the world for a while. So it’s a great feeling.”
Mr. Tihany’s work on the restaurant is done, but the chef’s work is just beginning and he is nervous about the work ahead.