I will admit that I tend to avoid Dubai Marina these days because there is so much roadwork going on. But when I got an invitation to attend the official launch of the gourmet deli ‘Market & Platters’, I did a quick mental calculation of the effort to get there against the opportunity to try some really great artisanal food, which went something like this.
Roadworks + Traffic + Diversions < Eat some really great food + Valet parking
I’m sure you can see which side won. So with my decision firmly made, I gave myself an extra 15 minutes to get there and I can tell you now that it was well worth the effort.
Market & Platters is a family-owned gourmet deli which recently opened in Dubai Marina’s Pinnacle Tower. The name Market & Platters refers to the deli’s market (that is, the shop which sells fresh produce, seafood, and artisinal goods) and the platters of ready-made fresh food on offer (salads, sushi, sandwiches).
It’s owner, John Vouyoukas, is clearly passionate about food. Every detail has been carefully attended to, from the sand-colored floor and blue ceiling (which evoke the feeling of being in the Mediterranean), to the impressive fresh seafood counter. The deli stocks some things you would be pushed to find anywhere else in Dubai. Don’t be surprised if you come face to face with a purple cauliflower in the produce section of the market!
Like all shops which take their food seriously, Market & Platters is able to trace all of its products directly back to the producer. For the official opening, the owner John had brought in some of the artisans (or ‘artists’ as he charmingly refers to them) behind the food. These included:
- Pascal Beillevaire – gourmet artisinal cheese-maker
- Xavier Caille – world oyster opening champion
- Raphael Bouchez – owner of the caviar brand ‘Kaviari’
- Carlos Giusti – 17th-generation balsamic vinegar producer of ‘Giuseppe Giusti’ Balsamico. (Giuseppe Giusti is the oldest balsamic vinegar producer, dating back to 1605.) A big thank you to Carlos for letting me taste and compare all the different balsamic vinegars in their line! Their best seller is a delicious 12 year aged balsamico (AED120), although my favorite is their 15 year aged balsamico (AED 197).
There is a hard-working team of chefs who prepare sushi, salads, sandwiches and antipasti throughout the day to keep it as fresh as possible. In my quest to find some of the best prepared salads, I snuck around the counter and asked one of the chefs if he could make me a small selection of the salads they have on offer. He whipped up a stunning platter of ‘Seared Tuna Salad’, ‘Seafood Salad’ and ‘ Prawns Caesar Salad.’
My absolute favorite was the Seared Tuna Salad. The tuna was lightly seared and served on a crisp bed of lettuce with sliced asparagus, slivers of bell pepper, olives and sweet cherry tomatoes. The unctuous honey-mustard dressing complemented it perfectly. The chef later told me that the Seared Tuna Salad is one of their best sellers, along with Prawns Caesar Salad which was also very good. The Prawns Caesar Salad is served with Homemade Pesto Dressing, toasted pine nuts and of course shavings of fresh parmesan. The Seafood Salad had a nice hit of coriander, but out of the three it was one the one I liked the least, possibly because I am not a huge fan of mixed seafood.
- Seared Tuna Salad: AED 45
- Seafood Salad: AED 42
- Prawns Caesar Salad: AED 37
My final verdict? If you are looking for a delicious fresh salad made with the best ingredients, then you won’t go wrong with Market & Platters. You can drop by to collect the food yourself (there is valet parking) or they will deliver it to you (minimum order of AED100-500 depending on your location). Their sushi is excellent and freshly made on-site throughout the day. I didn’t try their sandwiches, but if they are made using the same ingredients as everything else then I can only imagine that they are gorgeous as well. Market & Platter’s proximity to the beach means that if you are planning a picnic by the sea, it’s a great place to stop by and pick up some luxurious food!
Tel: +971 (0)4 4504466
Opening hours? 9am until 10pm every day
Delivery? Yes (minimum order amount varies between AED100-500, depending on location)
Valet parking? Yes