With La Luz, Dubai now has an A-list Spanish restaurant

You’ll see the light at the new Catalan restaurant from Spanish superstar Alain Devahive Tolosa.

Robert Chilton September 5, 2016

It was once said that El Bulli, the three Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain, received two million bookings request per year. Regularly topping the polls of best restaurants in the world, it eventually closed in 2011 with head chef Adria Ferran having secured his place in the culinary hall of fame.

His number two at El Bulli for 10 years was Alain Devahive Tolosa who has gone on to launch a restaurant empire in Singapore and Hong Kong. Now he’s come to Dubai and is in charge of Catalonian restaurant La Luz in DIFC.

Whereas El Bulli was all about molecular gastronomy, La Luz, which means ‘light’ in Spanish is riffing on Barcelona’s tapas scene. Wafer thin slices of dry aged Galician beef (AED 115), and chicken croquettes (AED 12 each) will take you straight to Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous central artery.

A shallow dish of tomato tartar (AED 65) must have used the reddest, plumpest, sweetest tomatoes because the flavour was outstanding, as if 100 tomatoes had been pressed into every bite. Spherical olives [AED 7] were the talking point here however. Sitting on a wooden spoon was a small dome of pureed olive that is popped in the mouth to allow the olive flavour to explode.

What followed tiptoed away from tapas and more into the fine dining arena so if this is not your thing, stick to the smaller tapas style dishes. A roll of shredded lobster (AED 110) was topped with pretty slices of avocado; meanwhile a dish of maigre ceviche – similar to seabass –  (AED 75) with sweet potato, sweetcorn and carrot had plenty of acidic punch.

We were returned to Spain with a mound of beautifully salty squid black rice (AED tbc) with the texture of the rice right on the money. Galician octopus (AED 105) was given some paprika smoke, softened by buttery potato foam, all of which came in a miniature iron oven pot. 

The canelon is a dish Catalonians take very seriously. Similar to Italian cannelloni, it’s a crepe traditionally made to an old family recipe and served at Christmas. We got the feeling chef Tolosa really put the hours into his chicken and veal version (AED 85) that was rich, surprisingly heavy and supremely comforting.

Dubai has top end French, Japanese and Indian restaurants but Spain was mysteriously absent from the city’s A-list cuisine.

Now, with La Luz, and its team of Catalonian chefs in the open kitchen of this sleek, contemporary restaurant, this important country of the food world has put its flag in Dubai.

8.4 out of 10