When you enter Espana at the Jumeirah Creekside hotel which officially launched this weekend, you may cringe a little bit because of the interiors. It’s a concept that you keep questioning as you walk in. It looks akin to an Ibiza club with very Gaudi meets Dali style and has different backdrops of Spain projecting on to the walls. This place also has a ladies only bar and an ‘upside-down’ room which probably won’t help if you’re intoxicated in my opinion.
F.C. and I (because I had to take a Spaniard to judge authenticity) had been welcomed graciously by the Owner Amir Mahtani who F.C. happily jabbered to in Spanish while I was getting served up a very potent sangria. Amir informed us that Espana has a lot of influence from Barcelona, Ibiza and Seville. We sat in the Seville quarters and were informed we would be trying the tapas menu.
We ordered a couple of things, including:
- Padron peppers
These were a right balance of spicy and savoury. The cheese greatly put-off the mild spiciness of the peppers.
2. Pan tumaka
Simple and delicious, this freshly made tomato salsa on bread is simple and delicious. F.C. said this is a bit of a fine-dining upgrade than the regular tapas bar in Spain.
3. Turkey croquettes
These were pretty good and creamy, but the version F.C. makes (and the one I like as well) is not as heavy as this. Still delicious though, all the flavors married well.
So, I went on a culinary trip to Spain yesterday. @jumeirahcreeksidehotel hosts @espanadxb, a new Spanish lounge and bar! I stopped by last night to try some of their tapas last night with @francisco_caal , a proper Spaniard to judge the authenticity. This is what he had to say “I felt the touch of Spain in the food. It’s as close to Spain as Dubai can get.” That’s a pretty strong compliment. This place is all out whacky in terms of interiors, which deserve checking out. It’s got a very Dali/ Gaudi-esque feel and also has an only ladies bar! Check it all out in my instastories. Pictured here is their turkey croquetas, which I really liked but Francisco of course didn’t as much because he claims his mom and his grandmom make the best. (BTW, for me this is only second to Francisco’s croquetas which are the bomb.com) Francisco did love the goat cheese croquetas though..which were delish with hints of orange zest. . . . . #delish #eeeeeats #nom #omnomnom #dubaiblogger #uaeblogger #dubaifoodblogger #uaefoodblogger #iphoneography #foodography #tasty #huffpostetaste #f52grams #yum #dubaifoodie #feedfeed #DubaiPR #foodie #thatsdarling #beautifulcuisines #lifeandthyme #zomatouae
4. Goat cheese croquettes
I think we both enjoyed this far more than the turkey ones as the beetroot and goat’s cheese go together so well with the citrus zest. The chef here definitely knows what he’s doing.
5. Pollo loco
The menu at Espana calls this a grandmother’s recipe, but F.C. claims there is no such thing. To me, it tasted a lot like the stuffing of a coronation chicken sandwich. I would skip this next time.
6. Escalibada de tuna tapa
This by far was our favourite dish of the night as the smoked peppers were just so tender and went exceptionally well with the crunchiness of the bread and balsamic caviar. Another fine dining upgrade of the classic that we loved.
7. Empanadas de ternera
I loved these as they were in the crispiest, flaky coating with tenderly cooked meat.
8. Fresh prawns al ajillo
The prawns were fresh in this dish, but they added the skin of salmon to it and I still can’t figure why. :/ It just looked weird on the dish and didn’t add an extra oomph in any way.
9. Plum with a twist
This involved a drunken plum with a very colorful meringue. The light airy texture of the meringues didn’t mesh well with the dense plums in my opinion.
Overall, F.C. said that this place is the closest he’s ever been to authentic Spanish food in Dubai. I guess that’s a pretty good compliment. I say, if you’re forgiving with interiors or enjoy teetering on the side of wacky, but come for some genuinely lovely Spanish food and potent drinks, this is the place! Viva Espana!
Update on 22nd January 2019: Espana is now closed.
DISCLOSURE: F.C. and I were offered a complimentary meal in exchange of this review.
LOCATION: 1st floor, Jumeirah Creekside hotel, Al Garhoud