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Fire that“s closest kept burns most of all. -William Shakespeare
The 80s was an excellent decade, I am not being nostalgic but it was the decade that is most fondly remembered by everyone, I remember the summer of 1986, the world cup was held in Mexico and won by the footballing Aristocats of Argentina and Boris Becker won Wimbledon at the age of 17.
What I remember the most was when we visited my grandparents in the deepest darkest Punjab, Our trips to Pakistan were always adventurous and magical.
It was that coming-of-age summer I also discovered my love and passion for food, and it was in a big way influenced by my grandfather.
My grandfather was a larger-than-life character, I still remember his brilliant white Dhoti and Kurta he used to wear, the cotton cloth ironically brought from Holland and Sherry mill in Peebles, even though he had the biggest Cotton plantation in Punjab.
The summer days were long and hot, but when the heat broke around 5 pm he would get his staff to build a fire pit under the Peeple tree and when the embers glowed black hot he would then direct the staff to bring out the marinated game and meats and proceed to barbeque.
My favourite was the fire pit roasted lamb and chicken, the meat glistened in its juices as it cooked on the fire, every few minutes he would but off some burnt ends and hand it over to me to try, amazingly the taste would subtly change every few minutes at the fire worked its magic.
My grandfather would explain to me why the changes in taste happened which absolutely raptured me.
My wee brother, Goblees Foodwala, reminds me of my grandfather, he has the same physique and the same love for food, so when he heard about my story of the fire pit and my grandfather he took me to the Michelin stared 11 Woodfire.
See Omar has the same joie de vivre as my grandfather, my grandfather could have bought cotton from the local bazaar but instead, he imported it from Holland and Sherry, similarly, Goblees could have taken me to the local Nandos but his style was more Michelin stared 11 Woodfire.
As we entered we were greeted by the faint aroma of Hickory, Oak and Maple wood smoke, it was such a gentle and subtle way to introduce what was coming soon.
The interior of the restaurant was Jumeirah Jane meets Blacksmith chic, It was relaxed elegant industrial chic, with none of the stuffiness associated with the usual Michelin restaurants.
First up we opted for the Fire baked sourdough accompanied with harissa green dip and Olive Tapenade. The green dip was an excellent accompaniment to the fresh warm bread, buttery and fresh, the Olive Tapenade was equally delicious.
The Chicken wings were usual as it was different, the marinade was sticky and sweet yet hot and spicy, The only way to eat them was to manhandle them, so very un Michelin.
The Meat kebab was absolutely delicious in its umami deliciousness, the tailbone fat was expertly mixed with lean beef keema, which gave a buttery nutty kebab, the smokiness of a kebab for all the senses.
The lamb Chops were the pièce de résistance, expertly marinaded was not to overshadow the hero of the dish, the lamb was tender to the extent of butteriness, with just enough fat to wingman the lamb, class!!
Yes, that’s right a burger, what is this sorcery you cry, a burger in a Michelin restaurant and yes the brioche but was light and spongy with a Wagyu burger which insanely actually lets itself into a burger due to its marbling.
The crème brûlée ticked the egg custardy box, smooth and creamy with the ubiquitous burnt sugar topping…addictive
This was Chef Akmal Anur’s playful personality, a chocolate and banana dessert made to look like bone marrow, Omar loved it but not to my taste
11 Woodfire is basically fantastic, the true craftmanship is taming the wildfire to produce such nuanced and exquisite dishes. Chef Anur is down to earth with his complexity, a true master who does not flex due to insecurity. The focus is on playful taste and flavours rather than being modern for the sake of Michelin.
The Service was friendly and to the point, not overbearing and stuffy, however, the staff could have more knowledge of the dishes and allergins.
The Star of the Meal?
The Lamb Chops and the Wagyu burger in my opinion the star of the show.
The miss of the Meal?
This is like asking which of my 3 children’s my favourite, I usually say in jest I hate them all equally (by the way I love them all equally) I would say the bone marrow dessert, i am not a fan of banana and chocolate pairing, it was just convoluted.
The 11 Woodfire is a trailblazer in the cutthroat modern wood fire restaurant scene in Dubai, I would say it is better than 3Fils, or Orfali Bros, It just did its thing in an honest and delicious manner
The Chicken, Beef, Game and Lamb are confirmed 100% Halal.
Alcohol is served on the Premises
100% impartial Guarantee
Alfie Foodwala visits all restaurants anonymously and pays for the bill like any other customer, Alfie Foodwala does not accept free meals in return for reviews.