A brand new steak and seafood restaurant is set to open at Dubai Opera next week (Friday September 1). Yorkshire-born chef Sean Connolly is opening his first restaurant in the Middle East, Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera.
The restaurant is the sixth for Connolly, who has lived in Australia for the past 30 years. He’s one of the best-known chefs in the region, thanks to both his award-winning cooking and television appearances.
Plans for the Opera restaurant have been in place for around 18 months, and the menu will focus on grills and seafood.
“It’s very simple food and is more about the produce than me. It’s about unpretentious food and unpretentious service,” he tells Time Out Dubai.
Dishes on the à la carte menu look set to include duck fat fish and chips, lamb shoulder in raspberry vinegar and star anise, lobster burgers, steaks and oysters.
The brasserie-style restaurant sits on the top level of Dubai Opera and boasts several sections including a main dining room, pizza kitchen and outdoor bar. The space will be able to hold 350 diners.
“There’ll be an express menu in the front part of the restaurant, with pizzas, oysters, quick stuff, and a less rapid service down the back,” he adds. “There’s a lot of sections and a lot of different feels.”
Connolly has been travelling over from Australia regularly, and will be in Dubai once a month for the first year of the restaurant’s operation.
“I’m super-excited, I’ve got butterflies. This was a vanilla box and we got the chance to design it all ourselves,” he says.
“I’m really serious about oysters, and here the décor is even inspired by them. We took the colours of the oyster from the shell to the inside, creams, greys, stones and pinks.
“It’s beautiful work, and really special.”
Prices are not confirmed as yet, but Connolly says he wants it to be “accessible”, and there will be pre- and post-theatre menus.
By Amy Mathieson