By the last course, you and Chef will feel like old friends.
We've grown accustomed to anticipating an impressive experience when entering a prestigious dining establishment in Dubai. As a city heralded internationally as the next foodie destination of the world, achieving recognition among the elite ranks of Dubai's finest restaurants is indeed a remarkable achievement.
However, if anyone can do it, a chef as talented and prolific as Chef Jason Atherton certainly can.
Hidden on the top floor of Grosvenor House’s City Social, Row on 45 is an exclusive dinner experience that defies convention and elevates the very essence of fine dining. The experience feels like culinary theater, played out in three acts on a stage set in your best friend’s private home — where the chefs are the stars of the show and you are the invited guest. By the finale, you feel as if you've come to know Atherton as intimately as if he was your oldest friend.
From the moment you step into Row on 45, accessible via a private elevator, you're transported into the opulent private apartment of a New York City socialite. It's a lofty experience that sets the stage for a night to remember. It's a series of contrasts: grand theatricality in a private setting, childhood memories of home and boundless adult adventures around the globe, and an exclusive, fine dining experience set to the eclectic playlist of Chef's favorite 80s and 90s rock and roll. We're almost positive it mirrors the same playlist we use for informal get-togethers in our backyard.
The journey commences in the Champagne Lounge, a cozy haven offering mesmerizing views of Dubai Marina. As you savor the first three courses, you're taken on a diverse initiation, each bite transporting you to another destination. Atherton's travels are embodied in every morsel, creating an unforgettable and deeply personal sensory journey.
However, the true heart of this gastronomic extravaganza is your second destination: the Chef's Kitchen. Here, you'll initially be awestruck by the breathtaking views, but your focus will undoubtedly gravitate to the chefs as the chairs have been set to face the kitchen, and not the windows. This intimate space, which hosts only five tables, offers an unobstructed view of craftsmanship and gastronomic creativity unfolding from within its pristine canvas.
Each dish is a work of art, assembled before your very eyes, with the chefs passionately narrating the story behind it. Atherton's connection to each dish, its origins, and his ingenious elevations turn every plate into a masterpiece. Even the simplest of ingredients, like potatoes or cheese and onions, are transcendent, and a 100-year-old brown sauce becomes an unexpected delight.
The synchronized ballet between waiter and chef is a dance of dinner, preparation, and service. From squeezing the juice of roasted prawns (in a nod to Spain) to savoring a brioche (crispy on the outside, buttery on the inside) that resurrects childhood memories, Atherton's culinary prowess leaves you spellbound from dish to dish, and step by step along his ambling Memory Lane.
As the main courses arrive, it's as if your appetite has been finely tuned for this grand crescendo. Each dish is a testament to Atherton's culinary ingenuity, a celebration of the finest ingredients, and a harmonious symphony of flavors without any of the smoke and mirrors so often seen in Dubai.
The final act unfolds in the Chef's Library, an oasis of calm and sophistication. High-backed chairs, captivating artwork, and the feeling of a bygone era set the stage for the final scene. These bites, inspired by the spice route, take you on a delightful journey through the world's flavors, percolating on your tongue and leaving a hint of the exotic on the taste buds.
Row on 45 is more than a restaurant; it's a theatrical performance of culinary artistry. It's an intimate and opulent dinner party, where you're both the audience and the guest of honor. The choreography in the kitchen is a testament to the mastery of the culinary craft, and every bite is a testament to Chef Jason Atherton and his team's remarkable talent.