Posted by Jen Sahi on 20th June 2019.

Gary Rhodes is an icon - a down-to-earth British chef who's been cooking for over four decades and has countless awards, cookbooks and TV appearances under his belt.

But the thing I love most about Gary is that he's a fellow Dubai resident. That's why I half-expected (read: was desperately hoping) to see Gary when I visited Rhodes W1 for dinner. But alas, when you've had such an illustrious career and have a competent team executing your vision, you no longer need to be the one overseeing the kitchen on a daily basis.

Rhodes W1 has won its fair share of awards and it's not hard to understand why. Not only it is helmed by one of the best-known British chefs of our generation, it also has reasonable prices AND can be found on the Entertainer.

The interiors are equal parts English garden and Victorian country home with vintage botanical wallpaper, faux greenery and white lattice fencing. It?s bright and welcoming in sunny yellows, greens and whites, making it a popular choice for wedding parties and bridal showers.

But more importantly, the food is exactly what you expect from a Gary Rhodes restaurant - elevated yet unfussy British cuisine with a handful of classics, some global inspiration (such as Curried Mussel Soup and Fois Gras clair) and of course, pork.

The amuse-bouche sets the tone for the evening - a pure white tomato soup as perplexing as it is delicious (they crush the cherry tomatoes, strain out the clear juices, and mix it with cream, leaving all evidence of red behind).

While I'm here for Gary, I'm also here for the pork, so I'm drawn to the Ham and Sweet Pea Risotto and Roast Pork Belly, both of which are sublime.

The risotto is full of pulled home-baked ham (no unsightly cubes of salty rubbish) with crackling crumble and a maple-mustard dressing. The pork belly is tender and juicy with just the right amount of melty fat. It's served with sweet pea puree, roast potato, caramelised apples and crispy potato, sage and onion crackling crumble which adds contrast and crunch. My only criticism is that the portion sizes are small and I'm left wanting more.

Our other dishes are just as good. From the Roast Globe Artichoke with wild mushroom duxelle, poached egg and hollandaise, to the Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Layered Cake with avocado cream, pickled kohlrabi and peanut brittle, to the Sole, Mussels and Almonds with buttered spinach, baby leeks and a sweet almond sauce.

We conclude with a delightful White Chocolate Panna Cotta with rhubarb and a selection of sorbets and ice creams, including a pungent Stilton cheese ice cream that's a unique addition to the cheese platter and a great conversation starter.

Unfortunately, the service isn't as slick as the food. Many requests went unremembered and we were often left unattended. Despite this, Rhodes W1 is still a great value choice for top quality food - just enquire in advance if you want to catch Gary in the kitchen.

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