If you’ve not yet been to Rixos Dubai Premium the first thing you might notice is the size – the lobby is cavernous.
In fact, you can work up an appetite walking to Azure Beach, the poolside venue that opened at this new JBR landmark in late June.
Part of a wider pool and lounge offering, the restaurant is seemingly aiming to be more than simply a place where sunbathers come to imbibe or nourish.
While it boasts an accessible menu – and easy-going but stylish décor – the food is done with a flourish and aesthetic care.
It’s casual dining with a menu that seeks to please rather than simply show off, fusing Asian influences with a range of choices plucked from various global locations.
While the coconut-driven Amber mocktail hinted at Polynesian – like a holiday in a glass – the sharing plates that landed moved from perky (and non-greasy) salt and pepper squid (AED 55) with a balanced yoghurt lime aioli to some well stuffed vegetable spring rolls (AED 45) that gave good flavour before dipping in sweet chilli sauce.
Staff are informative as they bring sushi, including spicy tuna rolls (AED60) that deliver decent zingy mouthfuls.
Edamame (AED 40) are made moreish from being sautéed in roasted garlic, soy sauce and chilli flakes and the red quinoa salad (AED 60) is tasty as well as healthy – red pepper, soya beans and mango adding further colour, sharpened with sesame and lime vinaigrette.
Spinach and feta salad (AED 60) is boosted by mandarin, water chestnuts and yummy soy ginger dressing.
Plugging a big hole, the salmon sandwich (AED 85) is served burger bun style with good wasabi coleslaw and a pickled cucumber and red onion salad. It’s messy but substantial.
Azure Beach tenders a small desserts selection, of which fruit and coconut ice (AED 45) is an exotic option, litchi, papaya, melon and spiced pineapple ice and jelly with evaporated milk proving an unusual blend.
The menu promises enough other delights – the intriguingly named stamina and fantasy rolls, banana tempura and sushi pizza among them – to merit a return visit, not least with generous outdoor seating giving a great vantage point over the infinity pool and coastal charms beyond.
Dubai Week dined as a guest of the venue. www.facebook.com/azurebeachdubai