The Maine, Dubai’s very own New England brasserie, has opened its second branch at the Studio One Hotel in Studio City – finally. Its interior is very much in-tune with the original branch at the DoubleTree in JBR of which I remember writing, “The interior of Maine could have been designed by Ralph Lauren, it is the epitome of dressed-down, East Coast elegant…with a little seaside thrown-in”. Yeah, that could apply here too. Like the JBR flagship, this branch also boasts an outdoor area, in this case beside the hotel’s smallish swimming pool. Inside a horseshoe bar greets you as you enter with dining areas on either side of the bar. I like that they’ve got their priorities right.
Maine’s Studio City kitchen is headed by the hugely talented Head Chef Vikas Jakkula. He and his culinary team do serious justice to the Maine menu, knocking (in my opinion) the following dishes out of the park:
The Italian Steak Tartar gets its Italiano from a concoction comprising of Grana Padano and parmesan cheese, basil, olives, truffle and potato bark which is folded in with the freshest chopped raw filet mignon for a superb tartar. This is topped off with a perfectly poached egg, firm white and a gooey-but-still-runny yolk.
The Chargrilled Octopus is literally a masterpiece. I don’t know if it is the Spanish octopi which I am told they fly in (I’d say EK first class by the freshness) or if it’s the mastery of Chef Vikas (or both), but I can’t remember the last time I had octopus so flawlessly cooked.
And then there is the outstanding pan-fried Sea Bass Fillet. Served on a crisp salad bed of haricot vert and fennel, itself drizzled with a light lemon sauce reduction, the fish has a perfectly fried skin yet maintains its moist and beautifully flaky flesh. If there weren’t so many people around, I would have kissed it.
Also worth mention is the excellent Thursday special, the 48-hour Braised Short Rib as well as the well-battered, crisp and crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside (cod) Fish and Chips, and what could possibly be the best Shrimp Linguine in the business.
Service at The Maine Studio City is simply best in class. In fact, every part of this restaurant is a class act, from the kitchen which I have already mentioned to the bar, where Chris Hemsworth look-alike bartender, Jacob, has moves which would shame Tom Cruise in Cocktail. The girls simply go gaga for him. My wife certainly does. On the dining floor, superstars Deepak and Mina have moves of a different kind, ensuring diners enjoy the Maine experience to its fullest. Whoever put this team together has done a splendid job.
I think the most impressive thing about The Maine is the speed in which they have been able to hit this peak, a credit to the quality of the team. I find myself spending more and more time here as opposed to my regular watering hole, Maison Mathis, which will no doubt start feeling the heat from this new kid on the block. Irrespective of where you live in Dubai, be in not doubt, this venue is well worth a detour.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.