RAY'S GRILL IS BACK, 63 FLOORS UP!
A magician flourishing a cape and declaring 'behold!' wouldn't be out of place when the lift opens revealing Ray's Grill: the views will floor you ... from 63 floors up.
Depending where you sit, you either get astounding views of the majestic Presidential Palace or the view down the island, stretching as far as the Pineapples and the Leaning Tower, setting the scene for a magical evening.
Choosing starters was a no-brainer for our table: we went straight for the tuna tartare (AED85) (you could also get beef and a mushroom option) and the prawn cocktail.
The tuna was prepared tableside: a mustard base, a dash of capers here, seasoning there, stir, add the tuna and voila! a superb starter awaits. The tuna was fresh and tender and it tasted wonderful. The serving was large so don't be an 'order 2 starters' person!
I love a shrimp cocktail but don't love that it's literally two forkfuls and it's done. This grilled jumbo shrimp cocktail (AED95) was one for the record books, a meal in itself! It comes not in a teeny weeny glass, but deconstructed and laid out beautifully on a plate, proudly sporting a very large whole prawn! The sauce was pleasantly piquant and the prawns fat and fresh ... what more do you need from your starter!
The smash burger (AED110) is a new addition to the menu and in order to truly feel like we were getting the full experience, we ordered one to try, knowing we were also going to order mains ... yes, we're THAT hard core!
The burger that came was intense: we opted for the hen's egg and maple bacon version which was large, full of patties, cheese, tomatoes and other such beautiful fillings, with it's bun hat tilted to give us the full impact of what lay inside. It's also not at all oily being smashed onto the grill at a high temperature, so it virtually cooks in its own juice.
If you're a burger lover, you're sure to rate this among one of the good ones!
The short-rib was presented with a flourish. The meat positively fell off the bone, was tender and juicy and absolutely divine. Served on a bed of mash, this was a food envy invoking dish.
As good as everything else had been, we were fully aware that steak was the king of this particular castle and the quality would make or break how we felt about the whole meal.
It's not a stretch to say that my 225g tenderloin was one of the best steaks I'd ever eaten. Using my chosen steak knife (very cool!), cutting through the USDA approved tenderloin was like a hot knife through butter. I opted for foie gras on top but was very torn between this and a garlic butter, which would be my choice for next time, along with something from the 'feeling saucy' menu. The steak was tasty, perfectly cooked and seasoned and a very perfect portion.
This tipped the scales from a very good meal to an excellent meal.
The dessert trolley was wheeled to our table and we chose a cheesecake and an apple pie, with various sauces and a good house-made orange ice-cream to accompany them.
The cheesecake was the stand-out dessert for me. It was dense yet light, smooth, thick and creamy and had beautiful notes of vanilla. This shouldn't have surprised me, but it did: so often cheesecake can be ordinary but this was definitely a cut above the rest.
There's an excellent beverage list, with a wide range of cocktails, mocktails, good wine, beer and spirits.
Sipping a glass of Champagne while looking out at the views is a bucket list thing to do and Ray's is the perfect place from which to do it.