Folly by Nick & Scott, Unit 27, Souk Madinat Jumeriah – Dubai
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, an Arabian style shopper’s paradise, has long been one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions. With an Arabian souk and traditional eateries, this sprawling atmospheric bazaar has something for everyone. However, located deep within it’s walls lies something special. Folly, a contemporary European restaurant from chef duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price is one of the newest additions to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Nick Alvis and Scott Price worked for Gordon Ramsay for fifteen years in London, Paris and Dubai, before leaving to launch this new restaurant.
From the moment you arrive at Folly you’re transported into a space that feels entirely unlike anywhere else in Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Trendy, quirky, and bursting with character, Folly wouldn’t look or seem out of place in London’s Shoreditch or Soho. Spread across two floors the main floor is primarily reserved for fine dining, whilst the impressive rooftop terrace, boasting spectacular panoramic views of the Burj Al Arab, is the perfect place to watch the sun set in style.
Comprised of an indoor dining area and open kitchen, as well as stunning outdoor bars and terraces, Folly offers an informal take on modern fine dining. The restaurant feels both relaxed and refined with each element carefully thought out. Large filament bulbs adorn the bar area providing just the right amount of light. The Beatles, and other British anthems from the 60s – 90s play in the background and the potted herbs, and foliage further blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Ingredients are kept to a maximum of three or four per dish, with a drive to use local produce and herbs.
We visited Folly to sample the five course tasting menu and see if it lived up to its reputation as one of Dubai’s top restaurants.
The first course, fried bread, sage, onion and spelt had a deep earthy flavor. The fried bread, soaked, fried, and topped with sage was aromatic, and slightly bitter which perfectly complemented the sweetness of the spelt topped onion petals. The smooth velvety caramelised onion puree was bursting with flavor but overpowered the dish overall, meaning the mild taste of the spelt was lost in the first course.
The second course of monk fish cheeks, paprika and salted lemon was a far more balanced affair. Considered a delicacy by many, and perhaps less commonly seen on menus when compared to cod cheeks, the monk fish cheek was the star of the dish. Cooked perfectly, this firm, meaty piece of fish was seasoned with smoky paprika. The smokiness of the fish sharply contrasted the zesty salty lemon aioli, whilst the pickled lemon peel added an additional layer to the dish providing freshness.
A delicious course of Crispy hen’s egg, pancetta and maple syrup dish followed. It smelt divine as our waiter placed it on our table. The light breadcrumbs encasing the hen’s egg were golden and crisp, the pancetta was salty and intense, and the sweet maple syrup drizzled in spirals around egg added a touch of sweetness. Each hen’s egg was cooked to perfection as the oozy runny yolk cascaded down the rocket salad in a pool of vibrant yellow. Sweet syrup and salty pancetta is a timeless pairing, but the beautiful hen’s egg brought the entire dish together.
We sampled two different options for fourth course. One option was the lamb saddle, whipped pine nuts and salsa, the other was the Dover sole, brown butter, beans, and capers. The lamb saddle beautifully pink was tender and cooked to perfection. The whipped pine nuts and salsa were an interesting accompaniment to the lamb adding crunch to the dish, but perhaps would have been better in a smaller quantity. However the Dover sole dish was utterly sublime. The sweet flavor of the delicate Dover sole fillet was enhanced by the richness of the sauce, and silky smooth mashed potatoes. The beans added an earthiness to cut through the richness whilst the baby capers sprinkled liberally on the dish added saltiness. The strong aroma from the capers enhanced the freshness of the dish as you could almost smell the sea. It was truly the highlight of the night, and the most impressive course of the five.
Chocolate, root ginger and milk, was the creation for our dessert. Course number five consisted of a sumptuous chocolate pudding, root ginger biscuit, and ice-cream topped with ginger confit. The indulgent chocolate and ice cream was contrasted by the chewy ginger biscuit which added texture to the dessert. The ginger confit, sweet, warming and full of flavour helped make the dish a delight, as the pepper heat from the ginger provided an interesting contrast to the sweet creaminess of the other components.
Overall, Folly is an impressive Dubai restaurant, with an innovative tasting menu and incredible views over the Madinat waterways and Burj Al Arab. Perfect for an informal evening of fine dining, Folly is a great choice for those staying in one of the luxury hotels located nearby, or for a delicious meal after a shopping trip at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
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