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The Experience by Reif Othman

It doesn’t get more exclusive than a private dinner at a chef’s table, especially when it’s Reif Othman’s.

If you haven’t heard of the chef, he’s the mastermind behind Dubai’s buzzing restaurant and lounge Play, a venue he calls his “money-maker.”  But it’s his latest concept “The Experience by Reif Othman” that will really get you excited.

Offering guests the chance to try a distinctive 10-course menu created exclusively for a table of 12, The Experience takes place in an intimate setting on the 37th floor of the H Hotel, just a level above Play – with Othman as the host.

“This is just for me and my guests. I do it for myself,” says the chef, revealing he does not expect it to make as much revenue as Play, but rather offer guests a personalised experience that makes them feel “at home.”

And evidently so, as the venue comprises a modern living room for “pre-drinks” designed in brown leather and contemporary art, followed by a large U-shaped wooden table facing an open kitchen – where all the magic happens – and a cosy lounge with rich velvet sofas, low tables, a fireplace and a view of Dubai as the cherry on top.

As we sit down for a meal of “haute couture” caviar, A5-ranked Wagyu beef and truffle ravioli, we’re surprised at the chef’s down to earth attitude and easy going vibe. Had it not been a paid experience (AED750 per head), we’d have thought it a dinner with friends at Othman’s residence. And that’s exactly what he was aiming for.

Starting us off with seaweed-infused butter and bread (tastes surprisingly like caviar), Othman explains that the menu differs each time as per audience references. After a conversation of food favourites, we begin our meal with a freshly cooked Japanese strawberry gazpacho. A mixture of sweet, sour and salty zests, it succeeds in highlighting each flavour independently. So far, we’re impressed.

After explaining that the following ingredient is made especially for him (egg size and all), Othman revealed the so-called “haute couture” of caviar – Sturia – served on ice with a layer of creamy cauliflower puree.

Yet the highlight of our night was the dish to come: a large truffle ravioli, meant to be eaten in one go, and bursting in rich buttery and salty flavours.

And while we enjoyed every course – Othman really puts his heart into the food, glancing every now and again to get a peek at his guests’ reactions – we thoroughly enjoy his “his on the stone” A5-ranked Sendai Wagyu beef served raw with condiments and a hot piece of stone to cook it on. You can’t go wrong with highest quality black hair Japanese beef. Three words: tender, tender, tender.

The best thing about dinner? Small portions and satisfied (not upset) stomach.

We ended the night with a sweet and sour Rosemary lime and cassis sorbet, light and lovely.The distinctive flavours of the dishes, the down to earth chats with Othman and the intimate setting of the venue makes The Experience what we have all been waiting for: something completely and utterly different.

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