A 7-hour, easy-breezy overnight from CDG brought me to the airport of Dubai, where a complimentary 1GB Sim card (courtesy of DXB) and a very good friend (parallel-parked in the taxi lane and not particularly arsed about the honking) awaited. After a quick shower and outfit change chez elle we were off to lunch with friends at Lowe, set in a leafy KOA Canvas residential development in Al Barari. The idea was a quick lunch at Lowe before heading out to Tomorrowland at Terra Solis for a Corona party in the desert. (Not a bad program for my first day in Dubai.) On the way there, I’d spilled a liter of water all over my bright white boho cover-up and 100mL of L’Eau Sézane inside my mint green handbag. Spilling stuff was generally a theme of the day. Apparently, I was a bit more tired than I’d realized.
Voted No.15 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants MENA 2023 edition and awarded a Michelin Green Star for sustainability, Lowe has become a neighborhood favorite for its ever-changing menu and relaxed atmosphere. A minimalist, contemporary, industrial chic space clad in dark wood and brutalist béton brut directs all the focus on the food, which is quirky, vivid and charmingly experimental. The open kitchen reveals a charcoal grill, rotisserie and wood-fired oven where most of the restaurant’s signature dishes come to life.
Lowe’s must-try is their woodfired sesame bread which comes to the table fresh-out-the-oven-warm with steam billowing forth from its pillowy undulations. Smoky charred bits and nutty sesame seeds – their oils activated by the heat of the oven – lend the bread a rustic Mediterranean simplicity, while its crunchy, chewy, stretchy texture makes it the ideal vehicle for Lowe’s signature dips. One of these is the burnt aubergine dip topped with seaweed za’atar. The charcoal-gray cream of aubergine is smoky and nutty with an elegant bitter touch, complemented nicely by the salty, briny, umami of the seaweed, dried herbs and toasty sesame seeds. Another was a rust-colored romesco dip with a spot of crabmeat and toasted almonds in the center, drizzled with brown butter.
I also had a couple of oysters dressed in onion-infused vinegar and topped with a chilled granita of shatta, which is a Middle Eastern salsa made with tomatillo, fermented chilis, olive oil and herbs. While the oysters were a bit carelessly shucked, the presentation on smooth black river stones was pretty. But my favorites by far were the nori & ricotti fritti with anchovies and lemon. A kind of tempura of nori seaweed stuffed full of juicy ricotta cheese, which bursts out of its golden brown and crispy shell when bitten into. The thing is topped with a single anchovy filet, which imbues each two-bite fritto with tons of briny, salty, fishy, umami flavor.
We also ordered some kind of tagliatelle, a khubz salad and a creamy miso eggplant with black pepper and tofu cream, which was excellent but which I was too overstimulated to snap a picture of. But I remember the cozy, smoky, nutty, herby, citrussy Middle Eastern inspired flavors of these dishes, enjoyed in good company in a laid back atmosphere. A great first meal in UAE.