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Salvaje at Dubai Opera District

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Salvaje at Dubai Opera District

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The wild side of Japanese gastronomy…

Located in Downtown Dubai, Salvaje is a recent addition to the thriving dining scene in the heart of Dubai. Found a stone’s throw away from Dubai Opera, Salvaje almost feels hidden in plain sight, but when you spot you’ll wonder how you missed it.

The brand has conquered such culinary hotspots as Madrid, Miami, Barcelona and Paris, and now the curtain has raised on its Dubai performance. The name ‘Salvaje’ comes from Spanish for ‘wild’ and looking around the venue, it all clicks vibrant colours, tropical-inspired patterns, huge gorilla and rhino statues and more animalistic designs dot the venue, all blended together with Japanese touches.

But the wild side doesn’t stop at the decor. The restaurant comes alive at night with dancers decked in eye-catching cabaret costumes and feathery headpieces. Dancing amidst the tables, you can’t help but down your cutlery and dance in your seat. On other nights, we’ve been told to expect fire dancers – just another reason why the spot is a popular choice amongst celebrities.

We begin our night with sips and the presentation is appropriately fierce. Seaside (Dhs95) is a chemistry experiment unfolding in front of our eyes complete with flasks, a beaker stand, and dry ice. It comes with an oyster which enhances the flavours of the sea as you sip your drink. Not all cocktails are given this eye-catching theatrical touch, but the care put into presentation is clear.

Salvaje food

The menu at Salvaje proudly waves the flag of two cultures – Latin America and Japan, with culinary practices that honour both cuisines, but a distinct dish bias of the latter. For starters, the ISLVJ salad (Dhs65) is worth your attention, creamy avocado and a sweet miso sauce, the ensemble rumbled with a flavour so good we went back for seconds. The rock shrimp tempura (Dhs112) by contrast was a fraction too subtle for our particular palate and we were left wishing the dip had a stronger wasabi hit.

For mains, we opted for seabream (Dhs290) which divided opinions at the table, and a plate of lamb chops (Dhs295) that missed the mark on temperature for one chop, but the remaining pieces were cleaned to the bone. It was a side dish that stood out as the democratically elected favourite, billionaire potatoes (Dhs90) – a cheesy buttery and smooth spud mash, majoring in silken textures and overtly creamy tones.

From the variety of Japanese and Spanish desserts, the Cacao SLVJ (Dhs70) impressed with a cacao shaped Venezuelan chocolate shell encasing a light milk chocolate mousse and chocolate cake with passionfruit gel.

As the hours roll by, the music gets louder, and the vibes get wilder. We stay for just one more dance making a mental note to return on other nights to see the other performances – possibly drinks and bites pre our next Dubai Opera performance.

What’s On Verdict: With a little more time and a few tweaks, Salvaje feels destined for wild applause.

The Address Opera Residences, Opera District, Downtown Dubai, open daily 12pm to 1am weekday, and up to 3am on weekends. Tel: (0)4 570 3653. @salvaje.dubai

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