Newly-opened Asil in Rixos Premium Dubai aiming to be a success
Editor Simon Ritchie takes a closer look at the new restaurant in JBR
Based on Dubai’s bustling JBR, which itself is filled with hotels and places to eat, Rixos Premium Dubai is awash with F&B experiences, ranging from the casual, such as Lock, Stock & Barrel, to the more upmarket with STK, and everything in between.
But one location in the hotel has had an eclectic few years. At first it was host to nightclub Inner City Zoo, then more recently gastropub District, neither of which lasted more than a year. The ground-floor space boasts a beautiful terrace, but has yet to find a concept to catch the public’s imagination.
The other venues in the hotel have seen plenty of success, with Luigia, Azure, Ammos, and more all pulling in the crowds year after year.
Could Asil join them?
A new restaurant blending a trifecta of North African and Middle Eastern cuisines has opened its doors and is taking the location in a new direction.
Asil draws on cuisine from Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon to make a creative and contemporary mash-up, mixing the flavours of one country with the signature dishes of another.
Sitting opposite the more drinks-focused LSB, Asil restaurant manager Hussein Hadla says it stands out from the hotel’s other venues. “It is definitely adding value to the hotel as it is bringing in a new concept that doesn’t exist anywhere in the surrounding area, where locals and residents can enjoy exclusive, enchanting, and entertaining dining and tourists can have a cultural experience.”
Meaning noble in Turkish, Asil is like entering an Aladdin’s cave of fabulous fabrics and extravagant chandeliers inspired by the ambience and hospitality of the Arab world.
While the space’s previous concepts have been bar-driven, Asil brings a stronger focus to the food.
“All the dishes come with an authentic taste,” says Hadla “It’s meant to be shared and whatever is ready comes to your table. Portions are small, giving the opportunity for guests to savour and sample as many dishes as possible.”
But while they are authentic, the food is not unoriginal. For example, rather than just hummus, you get hummus tantuni, a twist on the popular Turkish street food meat served over the chickpea dip.
Hadla explains: “The concept of blending the three cuisines, comes from our managing director, Mouhamad Hadla, who is very passionate for the food of his Lebanese heritage, combined with his extensive experience in Morocco and who lived a long time in Turkey. He intended to have a concept that combines Turkish senses, Lebanese flavours, and Moroccan taste, presented with a twist.”
And while there is more of a spotlight on the food, the bar is not forgotten about. Drawing once more on its cultural influences, the famous nightlife districts of Beirut, Marrakesh, Istanbul, and Casablanca are used to create inventive mocktails and cocktails. As the evening progresses, guests might decide to change environment once more, with the lounge the ideal place to relax with some shisha or they can head to the terrace and enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf, before coming back in to watch some live entertainment, says Hadla
“The split set up between the dining room, the bar, the terrace, the lounge, and the stage give all our guests a reason to come in to Asil and experience it in different occasions and moments.”
It sounds like they have it sussed.