Kizmet Dubai Opera: The Esquire Review
The world of gastronomy is in a bit of flux at the moment.
Fine dining establishments are going the way of the dodo (too stale, perceived as being very expensive) while family-style sharing restaurants are quickly upping their game in an attempt to grab (and keep) the attention of the same food snobs who previously turned their noses up at fine dining.
And so, for each proper restaurant that closes its doors another two pop-ups in its place. But instead of serving proper plates, they instead spoon a few mouthfuls of food onto a small piece of grey slate, garnish it with whatever hipster-approved sustenance that is currently in vogue (smoked avocado mousse) and proceed to serve it at the table using some form of Instagram-worthy gimmick (dry ice, perhaps).
Kizmet is certainly the latter, boasting a menu that is ‘a little bit of everything’, ideal for sharing and – most importantly – serves plates of food that would make the perfect addition to your Instagram feed.
It’s very on trend then. But does its food stand up to scrutiny?
Kizmet Dubai Opera: what’s the Vibe?
Kizmet is set over two floors in one of the buildings directly adjacent to the opera house. Both floors are rather small (when compared to many of Dubai’s 300-cover restaurants) but not in a bad way. It gives the place a buzz, even when there are a few tables occupied.
Upstairs you get a small bar that specializes in cocktails with ‘cool’ monikers, such as “peaches be crazy” and “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. They’re not bad, despite the bitter taste you’re left with after saying each name out loud.
Kizmet Dubai Opera: how’s the food?
The menu is substantial but fits on a single piece of pink paper. Dishes are meant to be shared and vary in size; some have just a few portions (such as the arancini balls) while others are more substantial like traditional main courses (such as the crispy whole sea bass).
The cuisine was inspired by the type of food the restaurant’s chefs grew up with, and so there’s a real mix of flavours to be had. The smoked duck pizza with goat cheese and chilli is more Asian than Italian, while the lamb shoulder, with eggplant and tahini, wouldn’t go amiss in a good Moroccan restaurant.
Honestly, everything on the menu is delicious. And in this case, the smaller portions (which aren’t over-priced) let you order more dishes to the table than you might otherwise be comfortable with. But again, that’s a good thing. More is definitely more at Kizmet.
And fortunately, while the slightly awkward naming conventions continue here (an avocado dish goes by the name of “my girlfriend is not hungry”), it has been dialled right back.
Kizmet Dubai Opera: the verdict?
Kizmet is a rare restaurant here in Dubai, one that seems to have tried very hard to be on trend for Dubai’s current posh foodie scene. But as long as each comically-themed dish is backed up by flavour, we’ll be coming back for more.
Kizmet Dubai Opera: where is it?
Kizmet sits alongside Japanese restaurant Kohantei, just in front of The Dubai Opera’s main entrance.