Tribes DubaiTribes Grill Cafe in the Mall of the Emirates was the first stop on my Dubai food adventure, and it set the bar pretty high for the rest of my stay.

Mocktails are a big thing in Dubai, so I kicked off with a Brainwash. It has coriander in it – be warned!  (Dubai is the PERFECT place for non-drinkers like me – because almost every restaurant here has a list of decent Mocktails to placate those who like a colourful drink with an umbrella poking a piece of fruit in it!)

photo-9Homemade bread is delivered to your table. Fresh. Hot. And not your run-of-the-bread-mill bread, no – this is fresh date and honeyed-walnut bread. Read that again. Now drool.

It’s just one of three flavours they bake daily – and paired with soft, French butter, it’s a bloody good foreplay to the meal that follows.

A plate of large Mozambican prawns in a creamy chilli sauce followed, to whet the appetite further. Hot in both senses of the word, and crunchy. Proper!

Then came the pièce de résistance – a wagyu blade steak. My first ever wagyu beef – and I could write VOLUMES about it. I was eating with a foodie – the man who designed Tribes’ menu, in fact – so he regaled me with all the intricacies of the Japanese Kobe wagyu beef. I got lost in all the details about purebred and full blood wagyu, grading and marbling, and the global supply chain – that in itself is worthy of another blog, but that’s not my point of interest, and I’m sure Google will tell you all you need to know, if you’re really interested.

The piece I ate was a grade 4 – 6 purebred Ranger’s Valley wagyu blade steak – a decadently rich cut of meat. Marbling, by the way, is the thin layers of fat that run through the meat which crisp on the grill, and give the meat its distinctive rich, full flavour and alternatively soft and crispy texture. The steak was topped with thin slices of foie gras – an absurdly good blend to put on wagyu, as it turns out. A rich, textured cut of beef, topped by soft, smooth and rich duck liver – this is the stuff that last meals on death row are made of, probably. It’s certainly how I would want to go…

I added a strong blue cheese butter to the mix. The result of all this was that as the heady flavours and subtle textures swept over me, all reality beyond the extreme delight happening in my mouth ceased to exist. Nothing mattered but this sensation, these tastes – it was like damned good sex, and the waves of afterglow breathlessness that follow.

You really shouldn’t mess with the happy feelings in your brain after a dish like that, but I am nothing if not incautious, so of course we had to add dessert to the mix. A rich chocolate Malva pudding and a traditional South African milk tart was shared by five of us, followed by giant caffè lattes with crunchy homemade biscotti.

The hospitality team at Tribes is also amazingly friendly and welcoming, and make you feel like you’re family, coming home for a good meal after a long time away.

Love, good food and conviviality – if this was just the beginning, then my food adventure in Dubai was going to be nothing short of spectacular!


Mall of the Emirates

© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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