Ever since Marina Social opened it’s doors last year, it has been the talk of the town. It does create a lot of buzz if a restaurant is under the stellar patronage of Jason Atherton and Tristin Farmer, but in a market as competitive as Dubai, a celebrity’s name attached to a restaurant has never been reason enough for it to stay open, let alone thrive. Great food is what keeps diners coming back, and Marina Social has been such a breath of fresh air that it swiped the Best New Comer award by Time Out magazine only about 6 months into operation.
Located on the first floor on the Intercontinental in Dubai Marina, the breathtaking view plays a huge part in elevating the dining experience. I’ve been hearing rave things about the new Social brunch, but I was torn between going for that vs. an elegant dinner with a view of the marina by night, so I went with my gut and picked the latter. I don’t regret that decision one bit, but now I can’t wait to go back for brunch too!
We sat on the terrace with this breathtaking view and a cool breeze.
So you can choose between 3 tasting menus: Munchies for AED 450/pax (4 courses each), Feed Me for AED 550/pax (6 courses each) , or Hungry for AED 650/pax (8 courses each). OR, you could just go Ala Carte. We picked Feed Me, and boy oh boy, were we fed well.
It’s a super tough call to pick between having your dessert on the terrace or at this dessert bar where you can watch the desserts being plated.
On the bartender’s recommendation, I tried their best selling mocktail: Beet Around the Bush. As much as I try to, I just can’t seem to enjoy beetroot juice, and couldn’t have more than 2 sips of this drink. M’s mocktail was custom designed based on flavors he liked, and he loved what the mixologist whipped up for him! It was a combination of passionfruit, pineapple and ginger- this was a mocktail done right, and I couldn’t help eyeing his drink and hating on mine, haha!
As far as the food goes, here’s what we sank our teeth into:
Goat cheese churros with truffle honey. According to M, these were the best churros he hass had in his entire life. Unfortunately for me, I can’t stand even the faintest whiff of Goat cheese, so I didn’t enjoy these at all, but that’s entirely on me.
The “Afternoon Tea” comprised of a mushroom consume with parmesan foam (which reminded us a lot of the Mushroom Chai at Tresind), and was served with whipped bone marrow butter, gentlemen’s relish and toast.
Hand chopped beef tartare, with horseradish, egg yolk jam, truffle & balsamic dressing. The 5 wings of condiments extending out of it were mixed in, in front of us. This tasted like a really good, raw hamburger, paired with the wood-fire baked flatbread below.
Woodfire flatbread- man do I love a good hunk of bread!
Italian beef tomato, burrata, 25 years aged balsamic vinegar and tomato salt. I was excited to have this dish for 2 reasons: 1. Everyone who has been to Marina Social raves about it and 2. I love burrata. I was also a little skeptical as I thought it would just be burrata inside a tomato, but boy oh boy was I wrong. The tomato salt and aged balsamic really elevate this dish and make it the most memorable burrata in Dubai as far as I’m concerned.
Duck leg agnoiotti, white onion puree, duck fat crumble and cooking juice. Extremely rich and flavorful.
Cod loin, brandade, crispy skin, cockle vinegarette, leek & potato puree with chive and olive sauce. The sauce was great, the fish was good, the skin was as crispy as a prawn cracker- all these checked out. But something unbelievable happened as I tried a cockle (and hence ruined my appetite for the dish)- my cockle was full of sand. A mouthful of sand is never, ever fun, and I would not have expected this at a place like Marina Social. I’m sure it was a one of case, but it did happen.
This Seabass with white asparagus and a deep fried oyster (LOVE) on top was hands down the best execution of Seabass I’ve ever had. The pea puree and white asparagus offered a burst of freshness in every bite and the fish was cooked to perfection. This was my favorite entree of the night.
This Tenderloin with brocolli, roasted garlic, and peppercorn sauce WAY too rare for me. I prefer a medium cook on my beef, and I kind of wish we had been asked how well we’d like our beef. The
We also got a side of green beans with truffle oil, and even though truffle oil usually has such a strong smell and flavor, we couldn’t detect it at all.
By this time, M was stuffed, and while I was super excited about their iconic Rhubarb Souffle with Vanilla Custard, I assured him that the above pictured “Mr.Whoopie” (a blackforest milk icecream soft serve) was dessert. It was hands down, the best soft serve I have ever had (sorry Godiva). I know, I’m dubbing a lot of items here “the best versions I ever had”, but hey, it is what it is. The soft serve brought out our inner children and it was oh so satisfying to be having a soft serve in the Intercontinental, overlooking the Dubai Marina- I don’t think it life gets better than that.
The strawberry Eton’s Mess was anything but messy but oh so, SO good! Crispy meringue, with fresh berries and a tart, smooth sorbet…mmmMMMM!
The much awaited grand finale: the dessert I had been looking forward to ever since I RSVP-ed to this tasting: the rhubarb souffle with vanilla custard. Oh. My. God. Let’s just say it lives up to every ounce of hype, and more. The souffle is firm but light as a pillow, and the richness of the custard is cut by the tartness of the rhubarb and this is officially in my list of top 5 desserts in Dubai!
Just when we thought we were done though, we were brought perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all: the Social sweet trolley. Enclosed within these Bohemian crystal jars, were homemade sweets ranging from Turkish delight, rose marshmallows, peanut brittle, chocolate brownies, and Baci chocolates.
Classy yet whimsical, this restaurant screams personality and is the place to be for the inner child in all the “grown ups”. If this restaurant were a person, it would be the charming heartthrob who wears a Fendi suit with bright colored socks. It’s almost as if it’s trying really hard to be classy (and it is), but just can’t help letting it’s fun side come out- and that’s never a bad thing. Marina Social is definitely here to stay, and we need more places like it!
It’s super popular, so you’ll need to make a reservation on 04 5597862