5 Reasons To Hide Out In This Stand-Out Concept In DIFC
First of all before we get into the detail the only thing we found ‘rogue’ trader-esque about this venue was its location in DIFC’s Al Fattan Currency House. The concept has been brought to us by the same team behind Pier 7’s The Scene and so far this restaurant has remained true to its roots. Secretive, undercover, somewhere for you and your friends to ‘discover’ when you walk inside you feel like you’ve entered someone’s private drawing room, the space is full of leather-bound couches, vintage artwork, a typewriter and gramophone tucked away in the corner.
Before we get started, don’t be put off by the overly complicated and somewhat rather pointless way of ordering food here. Let your friendly waiter, ours was called Thomas and couldn’t have been more helpful, guide you through the main menu which is divided between ‘raw’, ‘sea’, ‘birds & beasts’, and ‘land’.
Each of the selections within these sections is then designated with an ‘S’ for ‘small plate’ or ‘L’ for ‘large plate’. You are meant to share these regardless of size.
If this is what modern, British with international influences means then I’m all for it, we just feel that some dishes were hard to share and literally caused rows as we chased food around the plate.
1. Wonderful Two Piece Band
Rita and the Rogue were simply charming, bringing old fashioned glamour and talent to a perfectly set stage. Neither myself nor my handsome plus one could take our eyes off them. He plays the piano like its an extension of his statuesque body and she sings like an angle from heaven. Live music is hard to get right, in fact entertainment in this city is hard work for any venue. But here, amongst the right decor and ambience this works perfectly and brings the right amount of je ne sais quoi to your dining experience. We simply couldn’t help but sing along to some wonderful tunes that brought a lovely touch of romance to our evening.
2. Dominic Robinson’s Food Is Original & Bold
We have to be honest we didn’t necessarily like everything we tried here but we tried a lot and 90% of the fascinating combinations worked. The other 10% was a hot debate between me and my partner. Some things he liked, others I did. But there was one stand out dish for both of us. The BBQ Welsh lamb with aloo gobi, onion bhaji, and chaat masala. The Indian flavours here were delicately restrained, allowing the lamb to come to the foreground while still complementing the dish. The ‘onion bhaji’ consisted of some excellent Indian-spiced onion rings – a notoriously difficult dish to get right but which R Trader pulls off with style. This was a dish we both LOVED and will be back for.
3. Deserts For Either Sweet Or Savoury
If you do one thing this coming November go and sample one of the single best ways to consume cheese in Dubai. The head chef has created a flawless masterpiece, a dessert of baked Roquefort cheesecake with jellied Madeira and grape, which boasted all the visual joys of a fancy confection, with all the complex flavours of a refined cheese board. Simply pure joy on a plate and something that as a person who prefers the savoury end to a meal give me much pleasure to remember at the end of what was a truly splendid evening
4. Mixology At Its Best
Head Mixologist Himanshu, brings mischief and character to nightlife in Dubai. With a secretive word-of-mouth policy, hilarious house rules that advise not to bring anyone ‘unless you would leave that person alone in your home,’ this is a bar that stands out in its own right. Reading the cocktail menu alone took us a full half an hour and it’s a fabulous read. One cocktail on the menu is noted as ‘something to allow you to worry about your problems in the morning’. We highly recommend the weekly ladies night with cocktails galore. It’s one of the best new bars in town without a doubt.
5. Stand Out Concept In DIFC
Let’s face it the team are up against stiff competition but for us R Trader stands out because it unashamedly delivers against its mottos. With a hidden entrance behind a pawnbroker facade, the fun begins before you’ve even stepped through the door. If you do find it and make it inside, you’ll be stepping into a Prohibition-era bar, with spot-on period pieces and unbelievable attention to detail.
R Trader is a welcome hidden gem that feels authentic and different to the brash, the sparkly, the pretentiousness of other places in DIFC. We lost many hours here because the quality and attention to detail is extremely high. And we for one will be back to ‘hang out’ in one of Dubai’s best kept secrets….well until now!