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When is savoury sweet? When it’s at the Westin... - By Rebecca Wicks

As Chef Andrew placed what looked like the filling from a chocolate biscuit surrounded by cookie crumbs before me, I felt a little burst of excitement. We were dining from a special, luxurious chocolate menu you see, at the Westin’s classy steakhouse � Hunters Room and Grill. A menu of five carefully and intricately prepared courses comes served with a fountain of chocolate knowledge by the staff, who know exactly why fois gras tastes even better and feels even fluffier on the tongue when paired with chocolate and coffee crumble, than it does on a bed of lettuce or a slice of toast.

This gourmet menu has been running all month at the restaurant, but I only just got to try it last night, which is a shame because it means there are only two more days for you all to rush out and follow my lead. Unless I was the last to know, that is. Not to worry � judging by the passion in Chef Andrew’s voice when he wanders over to ask how we like our food, there will be plenty more special menus to sample in Dubai’s hottest steakhouse. He’s hoping to be the first restaurant in the city to serve real, Japanese wagyu beef before too long. Don’t tell anyone I told you, it’s still a work in progress, but it looks to me as though, if anyone can make this happen, it’ll be these guys.

If you haven’t been to the new Westin hotel yet, which looms like a giant sandcastle over Al Sufouh Road, next to the Mina Seyahi, you’ve already missed out. It might be ridiculously large and somewhat clinical looking in parts, but this addition to the hotel collection has some excellent restaurants bustling behind its walls, not to mention Oneo, a cosy yet modern wine bar at the bottom of a spiralling staircase, (this offers cheese plates to die for). If you’re heading upstairs for a proper dinner at Hunters, this would be a great stop for afterwards � how about a bed time drink, an aperitif perhaps, a fine Armagnac or icy glass of scotch?

Back to Hunters, and our Nestle chocolatey menu was going down a storm. A perfectly placed scallop atop a delicious cloud-like bed of white chocolatey mashed potato, was drizzled in a gooey sweet liquid. Medium-rare venison coated in a dusting of cocoa was a yummy highlight and looked amazing, thanks to tiny sprinkled florets of fresh broccoli and crimson beetroot reduction. A side of fluffy potato, topped with cherry tomatoes and covered with a goats cheese dressing was incredible.

I have to say, both of us were impressed by Hunters, not to mentioned the setting itself � it’s a lovely, warm restaurant with a sweeping outdoor terrace to boot. Two men cracked open a 5000 dhs bottle of vintage wine on the table next to ours while we were there; proof that when it comes to extravagance, this place has already established itself as a great place to splash out. Along with specialty menus such as our Nestle concoction, Hunters brings you the best of meats from all around the world. From the finest aged grain-fed beef � Angus, Australian, North American, Brazilian and Argentinean � to supreme game, Hunter’s Room and Grill have got authentic country tastes down to a tee.

Plus, who’d have thought chocolate would go so well with savoury items? I’ll be dicing up mars bars and sprinkling them on my curries before the month is out, mark my words people.

Posted: 30 November 2008

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