The right balance at Chalet Berezka
Using ingredients and techniques from the east and west, Chalet Berezka is out to prove that fusion fare can be done without the confusion. In an international hub like Dubai, it is no surprise that there is a high demand for fusion cuisine, with restaurants touting menus that mix and match cultural influences. Yet the idea of a culinary melting pot can often strike fear into even the most liberal of palates. All too often the contrasting flavours simply do not complement each other and customers are left a combination of baffled and disappointed. However, when a chef is able to strike the right balance, the results can be truly memorable.
Chalet Berezka is one such venue that claims to have the recipe for success with a menu that combines European, Central Asian and Far Eastern flavours. A brand new opening at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah’s new waterfront destination, the fully-licensed restaurant is split across two floors and has plenty of space for al fresco dining. The terrace on the first floor is particularly impressive with spectacular views of Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. It will also be a fantastic spot to watch The Pointe’s dancing fountains which are set to be unveiled next year.
Inside the restaurant, there are two very different spaces. The downstairs is elegantly decorated and features a large open kitchen, while the space on the first floor has hand-painted furniture, vibrant colours and an array of seating that all faces towards the main stage. The venue’s stage will feature live entertainment, set to be a nightly occurrence from the new year.
In the meantime, the focus is very much on the eclectic menu that is set to expand further in the coming weeks. The chefs are still in the process of finalising the dishes that will make up the completed menu, but even during this initial phase, there is already an impressive selection on offer.
Take your pick from hot and cold starters, soups, steaks and fresh seafood, as well as a selection of meats that are prepared on a Japanese robata grill. And despite this still being the soft launch phase, there is plenty to satisfy those with a sweet tooth with 10 scrumptious desserts that range from classic Russian dishes such as honey cake to a modern interpretation of tiramisu flavoured with matcha rather than traditional cocoa.
These interesting combinations can be found throughout the menu, with highlights including everything from the popular Korean side dish kimchi to Chilean sea bass. You’ll even find a Spanish gazpacho, a classic Thai tom yum soup and traditional shashlik, which is popular across Eastern Europe.
During our visit, we decided to sample as many different flavours as we possibly could, opting for a number of smaller plates that are ideal for sharing. The Arabic mezze was the first to arrive and featured a selection of four dips and homemade paratha. The hummus and mutabbal were particularly flavourful, while the presentation was striking, thanks to the dishes being served on a large bed of ice.
Next up was the grilled avocado which came with crab and a ginger dressing. Well balanced, the crab, which was light and fresh, was definitely the main attraction. Rounding off the starters then was the lamb and chicken samsa. These savoury pastries can be found throughout Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Xinjiang, and are filled with various meats that have been slow cooked along with onions. Traditionally a type of street food, the pastry is crispy while the meat inside remains incredibly tender.
From the main courses, we selected two types of shashlik, a Central Asian dish that consists of skewered and grilled cubes of meat. Similar to a shish kebab, both the lamb and turkey were particularly juicy and retaining a great charcoal flavour.
Finally, once it was on to desserts it immediately became clear that the pastry chef was particularly skilled. The Anna Pavlova had a meringue that was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, served with an indulgent cream and a selection of fresh berries that were complimented with a flavourful puree.
The traditional French Napolean was equally impressive, thanks to the wonderfully light puff pastry and thick layers of pastry cream. The perfect ending to our meal, Chalet Berezka may have an ambitious menu, but fortunately, they also possess a team of chefs who can execute classic cooking techniques with big flavours from the east and west.