El Sur: Spanish Tapas Lunch at The Westin Dubai | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Apr 17, 2015

El Sur: Spanish Tapas Lunch at The Westin Dubai

Dining out is my only refuge when my body is in dire need of another adventure. While waiting for the perfect time - sufficient funds and vacation leave approval, I'd let my taste buds explore a part of the globe by sampling a certain cuisine. And last weekend, I had a gastronomic journey to Spain without leaving the comforts of Dubai; inside a Spanish Contemporary restaurant at The Westin Dubai in Mina Sehayi called El Sur.   

El Sur at The Westin Dubai
El Sur at The Westin Dubai

El Sur is one of the exceptional dining venues inside the swanky The Westin Dubai Mina Sehayi. It is a gastro bar and restaurant that serves classic Spanish cuisine infused with exciting contemporary twists.

Ed and I walked in at El Sur at exactly one in the afternoon for the Spanish Tapas Lunch. We were welcomed by a friendly staff at the reception and a wire sculpture of a bull-headed matador which, for me, is a sign that I was about to go on culinary trip to Spain. 

El Sur's ambiance is sophisticated yet very inviting. Just beside the reception is a vibrant bar with a vertical garden. Next to the bar is the main restaurant. It has a casual appeal during the day, yet very artsy. With the huge paintings on the wall, El Sur is a venue where you can appreciate art while you eat! Great for art enthusiasts out there! The restaurant's glass doors open up to a lovely terrace with a view of the tranquil sea and The Westin's lush garden. El Sur's different facets are impressive; from an elegant bar to a cozy yet chic restaurant to a relaxed outdoor seating.    

sculpture of a bull-headed matador at El Sur
interesting sculpture of a bull-headed matador at El Sur's entrance
vertical garden at El Sur Dubai
vertical garden at the bar
indoor seating and paintings at El Sur Dubai
cozy indoor seating and one of the brilliant paintings
al fresco dining at El Sur Dubai
al fresco dining at the terrace

I wanted to dine al fresco, but unfortunately the terrace was fully booked that day. We settled in a table for two near the window where we can soak up the sun and see fronds of palm trees; still an ahhh-mazing spot for a relaxed weekend lunch!

Seconds later, we were introduced to El Sur's Spanish Tapas Lunch. Our server, whom I have heard speaking in Spanish to a guest (The sound of the language adds up to the ambiance!), handed us the menu with a selection of 14 Tapas and 2 desserts. I quickly went through the menu when she said that each diner has to choose only 6 Tapas; quite a small number for a wide-eyed eater yet turned out to be more than enough. 

With our desire to have a nice and slow lunch, Ed and I opted to order by batches starting with four Tapas that fascinated us the most. It was a good decision as our table was a bit small; it could only handle a spread of four dishes and one bread basket!    
Lady at El Sur Dubai
immensely loving the Spanish Tapas Lunch at El Sur
bread and tapas at El Sur Dubai
warm bread and cold tapas

Now, lets' talk about vibrant Spanish flavors! :)

First up on our table were the cold Tapas alongside a basket of warm bread. We started with the Ensalada Rusa con atun or the Russian Salad with Tuna. The word "Russian" is the odd one out in the Spanish menu. That's why it got my attention! Then, I learned that it's not the typical Russian Salad that I know. Despite the name, Ensalada Rusa is a traditional Spanish salad mainly served during summer time. The potatoes and carrots did not come in chunks, but rather in a smooth and silky texture. It is wonderfully creamy with a hint of seafood flavor. 

Next to the salad was the Manchengo Cheese marinated in olive oil with black peppercorns. Ed and I simultaneously skewered a cube and greatly admired the firm texture and the distinct piquant flavor of the aged cheese. Ed washed it down perfectly with a fruity Red Sangria while I opted for a cranberry juice.   

Russian Salad at El Sur Dubai
Russian Salad with tuna
Manchengo Cheese at El Sur Dubai
Manchengo Cheese

From the hot Tapas, we devoured the Broken Eggs with Chorizo first. It's the dish that my husband excitedly ordered because of the (P) sign on the menu; which means it's a pork dish. We haven't had pork for more than a month now; hence it easily became a star of the spread. The highlight is definitely the strong taste of the chorizo. And with the well-seasoned potatoes and the slow poached egg, it is the dish that made me feel the warmth of Spanish home-style cooking.

Then, we had the Calamari a la Romana. It is deep-fried in light batter and came with a creamy alioli dip. For a seafood lover, it's the ultimate finger food. The crisp and delicious pieces are best savored when shared whilst having a good conversation!  

Broken Eggs with chorizo at El Sur Dubai
Broken Eggs with Chorizo
calamari at El Sur Dubai
Calamari a la Romana

Very much impressed with our first spread, we excitedly went back to the menu to choose our next four Tapas. We wanted to have diversity on our table, so we began with the Green Salad followed by a beef, a chicken and a seafood dish. 

Our palates were captivated with the Green Salad with tomatoes. It has a mix of greens, cherry tomatoes and wild mushrooms, and dressed in a special sweet-tangy sauce. The taste is very exotic, very vibrant... just like Spain! Next up was a little pot of Carne de ternara or Beef Stew. The meat is so tender and the tomato sauce is full on flavor. It's surprising on how a tiny serving can satiate the senses.   

green salad at El Sur Dubai
Green Salad with tomatoes
beef stew at El Sur Dubai
Beef Stew with tomato sauce

Halfway through a burst of flavors came another in the form of Marinated Chicken Skewers. The chicken meat is packed with spices. Each bite was zesty and oh-so-spicy for my taste buds. Great that I had a glass of sweet mango juice to clear down the tasty zing while my husband still enjoyed it with his jug of sangria.

Lastly, we had the Garlic and Chili Prawns which was served quite late. Not sure if it was forgotten or the cooking time is just longer than the others. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait! The dish has succulent prawns smothered with a garlic-buttery sauce with a kick of spice. I love love love it! 

chicken skewers at El Sur Dubai
Marinated Chicken Skewers
garlic prawns at El Sur Dubai
Garlic and Chili Prawns

After 8 flavorsome Spanish Tapas, we felt there's no room for more; hence we proceeded to desserts. El Sur only has two dessert varieties and we ordered each one. I was actually hoping to have Churros and seeing that it's not on the menu made me a bit sad. But in the end, Creme Catalana and Arroz con Leche were able to satisfy my sweet tooth, leaving me no longer yearning for the Spanish donuts. 

Both desserts are lightly sweetened; a delight to my husband who's not fond of super sweet desserts. Each has a distinct taste and texture. Crema Catalana is a Spanish version of Creme Brulee. It is smooth, rich and creamy, and topped with a layer of crispy caramel. On the other hand, Arroz Con Leche is a thick and creamy rice pudding. It filled us up rightly! 

desserts at El Sur Dubai
Crema Catalana and Arroz Con Leche

So, our gastronomic journey came to an end after 8 Tapas and 2 desserts. We were not able to reach the limit of 6 Tapas each, but El Sur sent us home fantastically satiated. El Sur is contemporary yet every inch authentic. It could just be my wild imagination, but during that Spanish Tapas Lunch, I felt I wasn't in Dubai. Perhaps it's because of the Spanish conversation of the staff and some diners that I kept overhearing and of course, the vibrant Spanish flavors that left a great impression on my taste buds.  

* El Sur's Spanish Tapas Lunch offer is only every Friday from 12:30pm to 3:30pm. Soft-beverage package is at 175 AED per person. Beer/Sangria package is at 245 AED per person.

* For more information and current promotions, please visit El Sur's official website: www.elsurdubai.com
El Sur
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi 
Al Sufouh Road, Dubai

Nearest Tram Station: Mina Seyahi

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