This is a special one. This was one of those tastings that for some reason become truly memorable and warm up your heart every time you think of them. Was it the most eye catching press release ever? The extremely hospitable service? The gorgeous weather that day? Or the insanely delicious food? Perhaps a combination of them all, but either way, these are the places that keep me on my toes with excitement. Places that don’t belong to a franchise and most tourists have no interest in “checking in” at. Boca is a 2 year old restaurant tucked into the heart of DIFC, serving up mouthwatering food from the shores of France, Italy and Spain, and with one French chef and the other Italian, it is a true asset to the Dubai dining scene.
You have the option to sit both indoors and outdoors at Boca, but with the fairy lights draped over the little trees in the outdoor area, it’s a no brainer what my choice would be. I went in the daytime but I can only imagine how magical it must look at night. Since it was a tasting, we were being treated like royal guests, but I’m told by others who frequent Boca that this is the norm there. They wanted us to try the entire menu as it has recently been changed to utilize more local ingredients, and have recently added paella and bee ribs to the menu due to customer demand, but my brain told me to hit the stop button and remember that I hate food wastage.
Since I’ve been on a bit of a quest to try the Burrata everywhere, I naturally went for some of that. Served with crostini, roasted peppers and anchovies, this Burrata not only stood out but it was a real steal at roughly AED 70 (as far as I can remember).
As soon as I read the word Romanesco, I knew I just had to try the Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad. This salad has to be the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen in all my blogging history. I’m not even a fan of cauliflower usually but I absolutely loved this. An extremely creative and sophisticated marriage of flavors, this was served with an almond and cauliflower puree and truffle oil dressing.
The Scallop Carpaccio was interesting. It had a very subtle tartness to the otherwise dominant sweetness and I was left craving more acidity. Blueberries are my favorite fruit, but I think passion fruit would have been a better alternative in this dish. Although it grew on me with every bite, it felt disjointed over all.
The coconut water was not only the best we’ve ever had but a visual delight too. I can recognize Lootah Premium Foods anywhere;) It was extremely expensive for coconut water (AED 45), but it was also sweeter than your average coconut water.
Meanwhile M loved his Sangria, and later, the Miss Loren- but the sangria was the winner.
Now I had heard rave things about the Lobster Roll at Boca, but I was a little wary ordering it despite how good it looked, my previous experiences with lobster rolls had been disappointing in one way or the other. Either the lobster would be overcooked, or the roll dry, or simply overpriced. Still, I decided to give it a shot, and decided that if this lobster roll lets me down, I’m just going to write off lobster rolls as “simply not my thing”. Verdict: this was the best lobster roll I’ve had till date. The bread was soft and buttery, the lobster was poached just right, and it was just creamy enough to not be dry but for the star ingredient to still be the lobster. Also, bang for the buck.
You know what was PHENOMENAL though? The Lobster Truffle Ravioli. The Ravioli itself was utter perfection, and while I found the broth too overpowering as it was like having truffle soup, M was one SUPER happy diner. He just couldn’t get enough of it, and we have since been back to have this ravioli alone.
My favorite item, which I went back for an encore of, were the Beef Sliders. Hands down, easily some of the best sliders I’ve had anywhere. Till date, the Wagyu Beef Sliders at Toko still top my list of “Sliders I Dream Of At Night”, but these are a very, very close second. I also noticed that the lobster roll and these sliders were the most common items on most tables.
Our final entree was the Lamb Chops. These lamb chops were one of the most beautifully presented dish we have ever seen. It was so pretty, that after I was done photographing it from every angle, I wanted to paint it like a French model. But M was getting impatient, so I just let him eat it. Now we prefer our meat to be a little more towards the medium side than the rare, but after sparking a debate over Instagram just because I said these were a little “rare” for me, I conclude that for the vast majority of people, this was a perfectly done rack of lamb chops. While M loved the bacon wrapped artichokes, he wasn’t too fond of the sauce though and said it was too rich and could have used some acidity.
Last but not the least, dessert. They were out of the one dessert I wanted (I can’t even remember what it was but it had peanut butter), and so they suggested I go for the “Dessert Platter”, which had “little bits of everything”. We were assured that it’ll make for a real nice picture, and boy oh boy, did it ever. Talk about overcompensation, because our jaws were on the floor when we saw a sombrero sized nachos-and-dip plate that was loaded with fresh fruits, cinnamon rolls, french macarons, creme brûlée, pavlova, mille feuille, and sorbets. This was a really great option if you went with a group of friends, and it was really fun how we kept discovering more and more of our favorite things hidden under each other! The store-bought cinnamon rolls and chocolate muffins were the weakest link and most unnecessary, but the sorbet, creme brûlée, and pavlova were to die for!
The pavlova had raspberry granita inside and fresh berries on top and was hands down the best I’ve ever had.
A point to be noted is that the menu is sophisticated in flavors but casual in approach, and is largely intended for sharing. Some (if not most), of the servings are quite small though, but you can count on the server to tell how how many people each dish is good for. I’m starting to witness the sharing concept a lot across several restaurants now. It must make their job easier with the whole “we’ll bring out whatever’s ready first” concept.
I will most DEFINITELY be going back again, and again, and again- and I’ll be singing praises for Boca to everyone I meet. Our server, Tiffany, was absolutely fantastic, and so was the hostess, Anastasia. Thank you ever so much for having us, especially to the super cool Gbemi 🙂