FACT Favourites: The best dishes we ate in April 2024

FACT Favourites: The best dishes we ate in April 2024



From Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, these are the best dishes to sink your teeth into this month.

Restaurants come and go in the GCC, but FACT's unwavering passion for dining remains unchanged. The team can be found across the region, sampling the good, the bad and the exceptional. We eat at every kind of restaurant and experience every type of meal, from flash-in-the-pan novelties to iconic institutions. To spare you the guesswork, here are the best dishes we ate in April.

Chi Town Platter at Chicago Rare in Doha

The Chi Town Platter at the newly-opened Chicago Rare, located in Four Seasons The Pearl-Qatar, is a fantastic choice that showcases meat glorious meat. With three meats on the platter: Australian Wagyu Ribeye, Beef Tenderloin, and Braised Short Rib on the Bone, I left with my belly — and heart — a little more than full. The Braised Short Rib was terrifically tender, while the Australian Wagyu Ribeye packed a punch. The Beef Tenderloin also impressed with its soft and succulent texture, making the Chi Town Platter, a clear winner. – Shaheera Anwar, Staff Writer.

Dubai's best dishes

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery in Dubai

Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding is a New York City legend, and this Editor-in-Chief has been known to replace birthday cakes with bowls of this sweet treat. While the OG layers vanilla wafers and fresh banana slices with rich vanilla custard - resulting in a devoted following - the bakery often introduces limited edition flavours from peanut butter to red velvet. Currently, diners in Dubai can tuck into a decadent chocolate hazelnut swirl. You can thank me later. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

Dubai's best dishes

Hamachl Usuzukuri Tiradito at White Robata Riyadh

Recognised by MENA's 50 Best Restaurants, White Robata has seen acclaim in Kuwait before expanding to Laysen Valley in Riyadh. The new restaurant boasts an open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs as you work through the sharing-style menu of the best dishes featuring raw, robata, kushiyaki and buns. The Hamachl Usuzukuri had the FACT team reaching for the chopsticks thanks to an alluring combination of thinly sliced yellowtail served in a sweet passion fruit ponzu with a fiery jalapeno relish. If you're looking to savour the flavours of Japan, then this is it. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

White Robata Riyadh

Hand Dived Scallop at La Dame de Pic Dubai

Having enjoyed a memorable meal at La Dame de Pic London last summer, I practically knocked down the restaurant's door ahead of its Dubai opening, and wow, did it impress. Elegance and sophistication reign supreme across Chef Anne-Sophie Pic's experience menu, yet it's the Hand Dive Scallops that deserve all the applause. The molluscs are plump and presented carpaccio style alongside sake gel, crunchy kohlrabi, and geranium ice cream. It's a plate that takes time to appreciate, with a subtle textural interplay harmonising with floral notes without ever overpowering the delicate scallops. Thanks to its salinity, Caviar brings the flavours together, resulting in a triumphant fusion of French expertise and nuanced Asian influences. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

Anne Sophie Pic

Heirloom Carrots at Jun's Dubai

I had guests in town this month, so we decided to visit Jun's for dinner. Chef Kelvin has recently introduced a tasting menu featuring his handpicked favourites. While the Pani Puri and Potstickers certainly impress, it's the Heirloom Carrots that remain a firm FACT favourite and one of the restaurants best dishes. The pretty plate features a row of smoked heirloom carrots, lacquered with soy honey butter and placed over a pert mound of smoked labneh and topped with candied walnuts. It's third-culture cooking taken to the next level. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

Jun’s Dubai

Michele's Apple Pie at Pitfire Pizza in Dubai

I'm not usually a fan of apple pie. It reminds me of school dinners and something Granny Smith would make for you as a child. However, at the newly opened Pitfire Pizza in Dubai Hills, I tasted Michele's Apple Pie. Named after the restaurant creator, Michele Johnson, it's a charming crumbly concoction. Thanks to its mixture of apples, cinnamon and nutmeg, it made me the desert's devotee. The fusion of flavours tastes like Christmas morning – and that's worth looking forward to. – Kohinoor Sahota, Deputy Editor.

Dubai's best dishes

Spaghetti Limone at Jon & Vinny's in Riyadh

Entering the newly opened Jon & Vinny's in Riyadh, I expected to gravitate towards the pizzas, which include the extremely popular La Woman with local burrata, tomato basil and olive oil. However, it was the pasta choices that enamoured this diner. Both the spicy fusilli with basil and the rigatoni with six-hour beef bolognese are worthy choices, but don't sleep on the stunning spaghetti limone with parmigiano reggiano and breadcrumbs. It's as perfect a plate of pasta as you're likely to find and is easily one of Jon & Vinny's best dishes – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

Jon & Vinny's Riyadh

Taco De Pulpo at StreetXo Dubai

From drinks served in glassware resembling human hearts to staff dressed in straight jackets, StreetXo from acclaimed chef Dabiz Muñoz is an immersive experience. But away from the fun and theatrics, simple yet delicious Taco De Pulpo is the restaurant's unsung hero. The dish features robata-grilled octopus plated upon a butter yellow morita mole, tree tomato gazpacho, and Parmesan. It's a flavour-packed meaty morsel, but one we would definitely return for. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

StreetXO Review

Watermelon Salad at Arrazuna in Dubai

It's not hard to find a watermelon salad on Dubai's menus, but it is hard to find a unique one. At the newly opened Arrazura in One&Only One Za'abeel, it showcases Turkish cuisine. Chef Mehmet Gurs has drawn from his Turkish roots, and created eight interactive kitchens. While the choice can be overwhelming, we are here to help. Order the Watermelon and Cheese, which is superbly seasoned and spicy. The dish combines ezine cheese, spiced pine nuts, zaatar and small slices of watermelon. Fresh and flavourful, it is the ultimate version of this starter. – Kohinoor Sahota, Deputy Editor.

Eid Brunch

Wagyu A Lo Pobre at Kuuru Riyadh

Having set Jeddah alight with its funky fusion cuisine, Kuuru has now made its way to KAFD in the Saudi capital. The restaurant brings Nikkei cuisine to the Saudi table with a sharing-style menu designed to bring people together. Don't be distracted by the stunning interiors that blend Japanese minimalism with a Peruvian jungle vibe because the food is top-notch. The Nikkei Style Nigiri saw the FACT team fighting over the last piece of wagyu striploin layered over sushi rice with smoked tare, Nippon chimichurri and a dainty quail egg. As one of Kuuru's best dishes, this nigiri is lightly torched before being eaten. – David Tapley, Editor-in-Chief.

Kuuru Riyadh