The EmiRANT Pt. 5 – Dry Ice.

I’m probably going to receive some backlash for being an absolute “fun-sponge”, but oh my word Dubai, can we cut the crap with the dry ice on everything already?!


Heston Blumenthal was arguably the man that brought this into the public’s eye about 10 years ago – in his case, genuinely bringing a multi-sensory experience to a dish by dispersing the aromas of oak moss to a famous Quail Jelly dish.

It seems that Dubai has woken up to this now, or some excellent sales person for a dry ice company has been doing the rounds, because it appears you can’t get a dish in Dubai any more without it being on a bed of bloody dry ice.

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I was at a famous Dubai restaurant the other day, about to tuck into a salad when for no reason whatsoever, an excited gentleman, brimming with joy at thinking he’s able to transform this ok restaurant to Michelin-starred proportions, simply poured water underneath my salad bowl to emanate an odourless, dry-ice fog. The crowd gasped, heads turned, boundaries were smashed, they’d transformed this humble crab salad into something Heston would shed a tear of joy over!

And I died a little inside.

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My reaction.

A week later, I’m sat with a group in a popular cocktail place and a fresh faced server comes running over – about to demonstrate an immense feat of engineering, chemistry, witchcraft and showmanship rolled into one……POURING A COCKTAIL INTO MY GLASS THAT IS FILLED WITH DRY ICE CUBES……Guys, I don’t want to drink a cocktail packed with this shite. It’s chemically and weird and I don’t want to have to wait a minute for the craziness to die down before I can drink it (yes, yes, I know it’s safe – but still……).

My first viewing of the cocktail.

Another place I go, again, every bloody dish seemed to be either unnecessarily cooked in a bizarre way or flourished with a cloud of bloody dry ice.

It’s not that I don’t like dry ice – but I know it can be used practically, not just to add a false-sense of wonder and magic to a dish. Heston captured aromas in his dry ice to enhance a dish; when I recently went to Toro + Ko, they froze something at the table using dry ice – this is how you use it!

One more dry ice kerfuffle, and I will lay my vengeance upon thee…..

So restaurants of Dubai, next time you get that KG of dry ice cubes, think how you an use it in a clever, unique way, rather than just turning every dish into a 4th grade science experiment.

‘Til next time!

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