When the team opened The Rock Diner in early 2018, they quickly realised that Design Quarter is the place to be. Since then, The Rock Diner has experienced incredible support from patrons in the area. Their thinking is, if the business does well, the area does well. So far, this ideology has paid off. Design Quarter is known for its trend-setting retail and commercial tenants, so it is only fitting that The Rock Diner does the same. The design is edgy, eloquent, over the top, and fitting for any hotel restaurant in Dubai.
Let’s (happily) fall face first into the food, shall we? With most dishes made to boast rich, smokey flavours (a top food trend to watch out for in 2018 – Shawn called it!), the kitchen has its pulse on the international culinary world. Dishes include grilled pizzas, pastas, steaks and chicken skewered on swords. The restaurant also encourages sharing, where diners order a couple of plates for the table. The menu also features a range of traditional main dishes. For single diners, there is the option of dining at the bar upstairs… but more about that later.
Décor & Design
At the top of the interior design and layout game, renowned Greek designer Alexandra Nicolou took it upon himself to turn The Rock Diner into a fashion-forward wonderland. The main restaurant seats up to 60 and is a moody mix of parquet wood floor, dark green marble, heavy wood panels, exposed brickwork, high-gloss black ceilings and high window frames. The outside courtyard has been given a facelift with a 3.5m olive tree, an ample amount of outdoor seating, custom-made tables and chairs and as a rustic gelato and pizza corner.
Two private dining areas include a wine room in which the vintages are the hero, and The Living Room with a live garden wall. The menu is an adventure in Greek, Japanese, Italian and American influences, which foodie Miles Kubheka was here to explore. The staircase is the backbone of this design, and it is impossible to resist seeing where it leads. The Carnelian Tapas Bar has a level of style and detail you would expect from a Hollywood set designer – which is thanks to Tarryn Fisher.
The Carnelian Tapas Bar
The answer to a tapas lover’s sweatiest dream can be found on the second floor of The Rock Diner. Carnelian serves small shareable plates that have been cooked and constructed so well that it’d make the most popular Instagrammers blush.
Stand out dishes include the pork belly served with in-house made kimchi that has a decent amount of bite, duck confit served with beets, and arancini stuffed with mozzarella. The bar also serves Prosecco on tap, has a great variety of whiskies and a walk-in cellar stocked to the brim with both vintage and popular wines.
The bartenders are all friendly and well trained in the art of mixing up a good drink. From old-fashioned whisky bases to gin and tonics fit for royalty, there is something for everyone. We highly recommend the Captain Jack Sparrow: spiced rum and bourbon mixed with lemon juice, pepper syrup and Campari.
William Nicol Dr & Leslie Ave, Magaliessig, Sandton, 2191, South Africa
Contact: 011 465 5011
Trading Hours: Open all week from 06:45 till late; kitchen closes at 22:00