We Feast At Toro + Ko, Dubai’s Newest & Coolest Tapas Restaurants
Toro +Ko, renowned Barcelona inspired tapas from Boston by Jamie Bissonnette & Ken Oringer has wowed New York and Bangkok and is now here at City Walk, Dubai.
I’m about to say bye-bye to Dubai for the whole of half-term (Dexiting at the best time of the year weather wise – rookie mistake!) leaving hub kicking his heels on his own (read surviving on beer and takeaway). So it seemed like the perfect time to grab a dinner date – and take advantage of Dubai’s built-in babysitting – before I jet off for sunnier climes.
Toro + KO – one of the new kids on City Walk’s ever developing block. Confession time – I’m actually not a huge fan of tapas, but when one of hub’s best foodie mates gave us the Toro reco and I realized I could eat, then shop, I had to give it a try.
Pretty cool. Moody lighting and three bars to service just one restaurant should please the hipster mama crowd. Martinis are an art form with their own dedicated menu (and bar) here – and they didn’t disappoint. The yummy Appletinis, made with freshly chopped apples, were my personal favourite! The restaurant also has loads more to come, including a collaboration with up and coming Spanish artist Ruben Sanchez and the completion of the upstairs bar (which looked funky when we took a sneak peek on our way to the loos). But despite its trendy vibe, every single staff member was friendly, welcoming, and knew exactly what they were talking about. They were happy to give suggestions while letting us do our own thing. Insider tip – they told us that on Saturday lunchtime the hipster crowd gives way to a more family friendly feel – I’m planning to check it out with my mini-me post half-term.
Dear tapas, I’m sorry and I take it back. The food was all kinds of awesome – from juicy prawns dripping with garlic, crispy calamari in all the colours of the rainbow (due to the squid ink and saffron they’re cooked in) to carrots as you’ve never seen them before. Where possible all its ingredients are sourced from Spain and it shows – the meat and cheese were delicious. Oh and they even managed to make patatas bravas (which are basically swanky Spanish chips) look elegant. But our biggest tip is to save room for the paella – it doesn’t disappoint.
Room for improvement
The elephant – or should that be pig – in the room is pork. Or the lack of it. As a lover of piggy products, I thought this was going to be a serious dealbreaker for me, but the truth was the meat on the meat board (which included chorizo, salami and cured duck) tasted so good, I didn’t even notice its absence.
What we loved
Everything! But a special mention should go to the churros. While it is this fried food fan’s belief that it’s impossible to do churros badly, Toro + KO’s red velvet dipping sauce (as well as the dulce de leche and chocolate) elevated the churros to ridiculously sublime. So good that I even forgot to shop after the meal. Which was probably just as well – after the amazing spread, I’m not sure I would have fitted into anything I found. Note to self – shop before dinner when you go back. Which I definitely will.