TAPAS TRADITIONS

Just when we thought Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre couldn’t be more food goals than it already is, their newest addition, Bebemos Bar De Tapas throws its hat in the dining ring to challenge its culinary contenders all over the city. FACT’s Shabana Adam visits to see how the new Spanish restaurant is bringing its A-game…

Steering clear of all the Spanish cliches; there’s no signs of bullfighting, flamenco or castanets here – Bebemos Bar De Tapas brings Spain’s most famous food export to Dubai, without all the theatrics but instead a focus on the traditions of Spanish life. Keeping things colourful and relaxed, Bebemos marries robust flavours of the region with its extraordinary artistic heritage. The dining philosophy is a nod to the Barcelona way of life and the popular culture of socialising and sharing tapas – small portions of a variety of dishes – amid friendly banter and sangrias.

The venue is a sight to behold; splashes of colour highlight the artistic and Neo-modern duality inspired by Spanish painter Joan Miró’s modernist sensibilities. Exposed brick walls, classic Spanish tiling, traditional window shutters, arches that exude vibrancy, and even colourful crates hanging above the bar – Bebemos carries the vivid spirit of Spain with a laid-back attitude. Exotic favourites range from the North’s seafood-focused cuisine to Central Spain’s assorted roast meat specialities. The menu’s strengths lie in its ability to retain authentic tapas flavours served in mainland Spain, using speciality ingredients, including Bomba rice, olive oil, Ñora peppers, amongst others, sourced directly from Spain.

Diners can expect an assorted fare of crisp, golden brown croquetas, robustly flavoured bombas, as well as a selection of bravas, including alluring renditions of crab ensalada, fried calamari, and octopus that are just as surprising and delicious to taste as they are artsy to the eye. Home to a large live paella grill, guests can take their pick from five different types of paellas, with proteins ranging from assorted seafood to crustaceans as well as chicken and artichokes. We start with the iconic Potato Bravas (AED35) and Padron Peppers with Rock Salt (AED33), both are excellent options for vegetarian diners and equally tasty, setting our palates up for the oncoming slew of dishes. Baby Spinach with Cabrales Cheese, Caramelised Walnuts and Quince (AED52) is every salad-lover’s fantasy. Incredibly fresh, the strong blue cheese flavour beautifully complements the extra rich and crunchy walnuts – we could eat this every day. Of course, there’s no tapas without Fried Calamari (AED49), and here it was the spicy mayonnaise that elevated every mouthful.

The Prawn Al Ajillo (AED70) has to be one of our favourites – a dish that seafood fans will appreciate. Coated in garlic, the ubiquitously Spanish dish is slightly smoky and perfectly juicy – highly recommended. Spanish Omelette with Piquillo Peppers (AED30) is next and with a golden brown texture and a fluffy bite, Bebemos reminded us why this dish is universally fantastic. The best surprise comes in the form of Broken Eggs with mushroom (AED41) – also available with other meaty fillings – a popular dish called Huevos Rotos, widely consumed in taverns all across Spain. Hearty and very memorable.

We adored the Black Rice with Calamari, Prawns and Clams (AED99), unlink a few other places in Dubai where the paella is served in a gigantic dish, here it is kept manageable, with a portion that would easily please a table of three to four people. This one-pan menu item is an instant crowd pleaser – moreish but not stodgy, the chefs have created a harmonious mix of ingredients. The Grilled Sea Bass with Asparagus and Romesco Sauce (AED125) is a blend of flavours that we didn’t realise we had been craving – stunning. Whilst the Chuleton Prime Ribs 1kg Sharing (AED420) added the tender touch of cooked meat to top off a fabulous choice of mains.

Bebemos convinced us that when Churros (AED42) are done right, they can literally blow your tastebuds away. But, it was the fluffy-as-a-cloud Torrija with Vanilla Ice Cream (AED38), the Spanish take on French toast, that had us in complete silence, vying for every last bit of food on the plate. An absolute must-try for dessert enthusiasts. Bebemos also honours the cosmopolitan side of Spain in its beverage offerings. Housed with an expansive selection of signature Spanish sips, the assorted spirits and libations are nuanced with select molecular ingredients, highlighting the artistic and neo-modern duality from Barcelona.It was difficult to fault the food and the service at Bebemos which, unlike its dining counterparts at the hotel, is still a fairly new concept that is slowly making a mark. We hope the footfall picks up and more people start paying attention to the excellent cuisine being served up here, which is as authentic as it gets ✤

Bebemos Bar De Tapas (WWW.BEBEMOSDUBAI.COM) has been nominated for the 2019 FACT Dining Awards in the following category: ‘best/favourite Newcomer Casual Dining in Dubai’. Help your favourite restaurant take home the award by voting for them on link https://factmagazine.com/index.php/2019/05/16/voting-form-fact-dining-awards-dubai-2019/. #FACTAwards2019


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