Hotel Cartagena, unlike the name suggests is not a hotel and neither is it in the coastal Columbian town of the same name, but is however Dubai’s newest Latin American dining experience.
Located on the 72nd floor of Dubai’s iconic JW Marriott Marquis, the restaurant and bar offers panoramic views of Dubai but the real eye catching view hits you as soon as you enter.
Hotel Cartagena is decorated in a quirky and unique style that sets an impression straight away. The bar is decorated with tropical trees, model parrots and birds and a huge cage hanging from the centre of the upper floor running down to the lower floor dining area. The tropical theme continues on the furniture where each table has a multicoloured print of a southern American rain forest.
The menu offers a sharing concept with good choices including mains of either seafood and meat, also designed to be shared.
We opted for a variety of dishes from the starters and bites menu which included grilled flank steak tacos, shrimp chicharones, a duck confit salad and from mains we went for one seafood and one meat based dish, the octopus al la parrila and lamb shank asado.
All dishes were generous portions, full of flavour and had accompaniments that paired well. The tacos had a nice chargrilled taste to the steak adding to the flavours and the pineapple and coconut dip that came with the shrimp chicharones was perfect. The octopus was meaty, with a smoky and slightly spicy aji panca sauce, however as good as they all were, the surprise was the duck confit salad. When it first arrived it looked as normal as a salad looks however the combination of the crispy duck with chipotle hoisin and chunks of watermelon underneath the chopped parsley, made this dish stand out the most.
Continuing the quirkiness of the place, we were handed an envelope which inside was the dessert menu. Four dishes including churros and the must try smoked vanilla cigar, which when presented looked very much like a cigar, served in an ashtray and even included black chocolate ash. a great dessert to end an interesting meal.
Prices of the dishes vary, but for a three course meal without drinks expect to pay around Dhs 250 per person.
For reservations call 04-5601799.