In the cellar at Agatha

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In the wine cellar at Agatha restaurant, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Agatha, a newcomer to the buzzing culinary scene in Dubai set amidst the towering sky-scrapers of Al Habtoor City, opened at the beginning of the year.

It offers not just a meal but an intimate experience in a setting replete with vintage charm where the carefully curated aesthetics even extend to the wine cellar. A spectacular EuroCave wine cabinet proudly showcases its French bottlings in a floor-to-ceiling display. We joined sommelier Rui Belem at the bar to discuss the care lavished on the wines and serving etiquette in this as yet under-the-radar boudoir – but not for much longer.

Pencil illustration of a eurocave electric wine cooler

Rolling out the red carpet

From the high ceilings and the velvet bench seats to the chandeliers, the decor at Agatha takes patrons on a deep dive into Franco-British vintage aesthetics where the hand-crafted wallpaper resonates with the warm, deep-blue hues of the walls. This cosy and deliberately British atmosphere offers a sneak preview of the innovative menu where Western and Eastern influences entwine with each mouthful and sip. A cursory glance front-of-house reveals the spectacular EuroCave floor-to-ceiling wine cabinet which feels like a natural fixture in the immersive scenography. It is a promising omen of what’s to come on the wine list.

French style

“Among our 120 listings, we mostly focus on French wines so that our identity remains consistent with the high-end atmosphere that echoes the tastes of our clientele”. This approach combines with the creative food and wine pairings – there are some 45 dishes on the menu, ranging from ‘raw bar’ through to puddings. Taking centre stage, the delicate Pinot noirs and crisp Sancerres complement the flavours and textures.

Oysters with wasabi

Created by the chef Lendl Pereira, the menu is designed as a fusion of locally sourced ingredients and French and Mediterranean techniques. For instance, the snails are infused with yuzu and Japanese mandarin is ensconced amidst the layers of the mille-feuille. The meal begins with a selection of seafood nibbles simply graced with microgreens and seasoning, like the oysters with wasabi or the fillets of ‘Hamachi’ greater amberjack with Jalapeno escorted by the ‘Florès’ label by Sancerre winery Vincent Pinard. Next come the soba noodles with lobster and miso, paired with Condrieu by Maison Guigal, and the Peking duck with hoisin sauce served with Gevrey-Chambertin by Louis Latour. Discerning palates will appreciate such refined pleasures.

Around the wine world in 120 bottles

“In addition to the selection of prestigious French wines, the wine list continues its journey through New World and Old, with wines from Italy, Spain, the USA, Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. This variety is not just about the regions themselves, but is also conveyed through both mature vintages and early-drinking wines. We pay particular attention to small producers recognised for the quality and authenticity of their wines. This approach guarantees a dynamic selection that resonates with the changing tastes of our patrons. For example, we are delighted to respond to increased demand for grower Champagnes!”

Pencil illustration of a wine glass

Prolong the experience

Discover the profiles of creative and influential personalities explaining their relationship with wine, the secrets of sommeliers or legendary establishments.

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