When I heard Bread Street Kitchen was opening a location at the Atlantis, I made it a point not to read anything about the opening or subsequent articles and was generallydetermined to experience and review this restaurant at face value; no pre-conceptions, no historical influences and no expectations.
Bread Street is a classy urban brasserie, with a buzzy NYC style vibe. Inheriting the majority of the design from her previous inhabitants, the tourist infested French restaurant,Brasserie, Bread Street Kitchen does well to create an identity using someone else’s DNA – not an easy feat and one that can often backfire. In Bread Street Kitchen, you have a hip,relevant space where the food still counts.
There are two things BSK has in abundance. Staff and Kids – and I mean a lot. I genuinely think they hand out children to customers who arrive without them, in the same way afancy restaurant has spare jackets for guests who arrive in only a shirt. I was expecting one of the thousands of managers to slide up to my banquette seat and whisper politely inmy ear, “Sir. It seems you have forgotten to bring a child this evening. Perhaps you would like to borrow one for the duration of your meal?”
The staff were plentiful and genuine – everyone seemed happy to be at work and there was a real level of authentic hospitality in the place. Smiles, acknowledgements, checkbacks, intelligence and initiative were all on show that evening from the team – despite there being a million of them.
The Serb did her usual trick of trying to guess where our waiter came from, and secretly, I’m pleased to say she was horribly wrong. She is far too good at that game, and one rightanswer sets her on a roll that is difficult to stop.
There is depth in the menu’s simplicity and reflects the culinary zeitgeist – lots of must-have ingredients like burrata, quinoa and sriracho, and on trend concepts like posh burgers,mac & cheese and a Josper charcoal grill.
For starters, I had the chilled tomato and raspberry soup, and the Serb was persuaded by our rather charming waiter to try the butternut squash puree flat bread. My soup arrived,and I remembered that I largely dislike soup and was surprised that I had ordered it. Nevertheless, it was perfectly fine, as soups go. The raspberry sweetness cut through the acidityof the tomato, and it was flavourful and light at the same time.
The flatbread was also OK. I imagine the waiter recommended it based on its profit margins rather than its flavour and taste. Having said that, the board went back to the kitchenempty, so it was good enough to finish.
Bread Street’s Shepard’s pie is going to be their signature dish – the lamb was slow cooked and plentiful, with the right ratio of meat to mash. It was a good size, well presentedin a miniature oven pan and topped with garlic crumbs. Despite being ridiculously hot, the pie was familiar, comforting and oozed the confidence of superior ingredients.
There was a musician in the back of the restaurant, who on several occasions, picked up a guitar, threatened to actually play, and then didn’t, for some reason. Maybe he didn’tknow any Disney songs.
The burger was a big hit with the Serb. The short rib meat was soft, tender, with the right amount of moist and the whole dish was given a good kick up the backside with a whackof spicy sriracha mayonnaise.
Despite what you have read, Bread Street Kitchen isn’t really about Ramsay, which is why this is the first time I mention his name. Ramsay is for the financiers and sponsors, for themedia and the Twittersphere.
Bread Street Kitchen Dubai is about the head chef behind the line with his brigade, the servers, sommeliers, bartenders, managers and runners. It is about the food they produce, the atmosphere they create, and the memories they leave you with. It is about them not being judged against their celebrity namesake’s other ventures, but against themselves,night after night, dish after dish. In the eyes of the customer, you are only as good as your last experience, and if I was to judge Bread Street purely on what they achieved when Iate there, they did a bloody wonderful job.
We left Bread Street Kitchen, full, satiated, happy and with a couple of extra kids. We don’t know whose they are.