Review: brunch at Distillery, Souk Al Manzil

ONE thing Dubai is never short of, in its vast array of going-out options, is a themed F&B venue.

And for a few months now, Distillery has given the city a New Orleans-style speakeasy that neatly contrasts the Downtown Dubai scenery beyond its doors.

Now each Friday evening it tenders a “prohibition” vibe in the form of the Moonshine Brunch.

Distillery – set just inside the modern Arabian environs of Souk Al Manzil -combines kind of industrial urban setting with the sort of hospitality we’ve come to expect of Dubai.

Quality casual dining meets artisanal bar in this gastropub, and with the Moonshine Brunch it bundles up some of its best flavours into a pocket-friendly package.

Distillery’s kitchen delivers memorable food, embracing quality comfort grub and some dishes more sophisticated than others, but all designed for sharing.

That said,you might find yourself being selfish with the BBQ beef baby back ribs or the tuna togarashi – the latter’s thin spicy slices served in a cool black bowl laced with soy vinaigrette, lime and cucumber, and Asian slaw.

These were two standouts on a compact menu littered with yummy stars – and all served to order to your table, admirably cutting out the waste often associated with brunch formats.

Juicy Wagyu sliders and lamb meatballs can likewise be re-ordered as you go along.

To break up the meatier elements, beetroot tartare here is carefully poshed-up with toasted cashews and avocado cream – and of the two bruschetta choices, the smashed avocado dosed with lime aioli carries the vote over a more regular tomato and basil option.

Distillery excels at chicken wings; dressed with sriracha mayo and jalapeno enhanced, these pack a punch.

The brunch menu includes a selection of innovative ‘prohibition signature sips,’ some bearing memorable names.

Also vying for your appetite is citrus salmon crudo, cured and sourced from Scotland and topped with seasonal garnish – essentially an Italian take on ceviche.

Those textures also contrast an eggless pumpkin ravioli – postage stamp packages lifted to fine dining level by kale ‘chips’, chilli flakes and moistening Parmesan sage cream. If you need a meat break, this is your go to.

That said, Distillery’s arancini are also something to savour; deliciously dense spheres filled with mushroom and truffle, delivered with chilli flakes, chives and truffle mayo.

You’ll still be thinking about them in the cab home, along with the braised beef short rib, that is. Sliced and served in a gorgeous blend of chimichurri sauce and Peruvian-style quinoa mayrouba, it’s a rugged yet stylish dish you’ll want more of.

Throw in a DJ playing eclectic music, attentive staff, several high-end plates of well curated food and blended beverages and that urban, hipster decor and you’ve a Friday night brunch experience that delivers value in an unfussy environment. 

Dubai Week dined as a guest of the venue. Moonshine Brunch happens every Friday, 8pm-11pm. Packages cost AED185 for food and soft drinks; AED295 for selected grape, hops, blended beverages and the food. Call 054-998-2003 to reserve a table.

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