If you ask food bloggers or IGERS for a list of the most ‘gram-able cafes and restaurants in Dubai, I can guarantee you that Pots, Pans & Boards will make the list, if not top it. Pots, Pans and Board is the first Dubai venture of two Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens, and -since the day they held their first pre-opening blogger dinner- they’ve caused a stir. This is partly because of how delicious the food is, and partly because of how fantastically fascinating the interiors are. Everything on the menu is served in a pot, pan, or board, and while it may sound very hipster and “trying too hard”, it actually really works in a very modern country way.
I love, love, love the breakfast here, so the other day M and I decided to check them out for lunch and yes, it was a tasting. One of the first observations I made was that the prices on the menu appeared to be rather steep for a casual dining joint. Once we saw and tasted the food though, the superiority of the ingredients and show-stopping deliciousness of the food shone through and totally justified the prices. This was a casual spot serving up hearty and rustic comfort food that was supremely enjoyable to the last bite.
Here’s what we had:
Artisan bread basket with homemade butter because why on Earth would I turn down any chance to have fresh sourdough?
Chilled, crunchy Gordal olives topped with orange zest were just what this blazing hot summer calls for.
Squid Ink Calamari: I didn’t like these. the ratio of batter to calamari was way too high for my liking.
The Roasted Rosemary Peppers were sublime. Slow-roasted for 2-3 hours in Lots of homemade balsamic from Modena (and served with Greek Feta that was tarter than the Saudi Feta I’m used to) elevated these to the next level and made these another dish ideal for summer. I truly savored these.
Soy Tuna, sesame, avocado and pickled radish. Can you tell I was clearly in the mood for chilled food? This reminded me of a similar dish I’ve had at Comptoir 101, and I couldn’t get enough of both.
I’m not a lamb person, but M is, and since I never cook lamb, he’s quick to order lamb when he sees it on the menu. Since he tries lamb so many different places, he’s a self-proclaimed connoisseur. The dry-rub marinated chops had the perfect sear and unparalleled flavor.
I’m a sucker for soft-shell crab, so naturally when I saw a soft-shell crab burger on the menu, I was sold. Our server (and then the manager) both felt the need to warn me that the burger contains an entire crab. I hardly considered that a warning, and more of a temptation, but I assume that perhaps there are customers who expect a patty instead. Lo and behold, my jaw fell to the floor when this monster burger showed up on my table- I had no idea it would be this huge a crab! Lucky for me, this was not a case of just skin-deep beauty. The batter on the crab was light and crispy, the coleslaw was crunchy and not overly doused in mayo, the fries were absolutely perfect and the sauce was to die for.
It took every cell in my body to decline dessert, but I did. Do I regret it? Yes, most certainly. But I’m down to only a couple of pairs of pants that fit, and that’s what I need to keep reminding myself.
Pots, Pans and Boards: highly recommended, and I’ll definitely be frequenting it.