Are you stumped in Dubai about guiding your gastronomical choices and are facing a dilemma about where to go out for dinner one night?
Try simplify your life by choosing out the brand new restaurant IRIS rooftop restaurant and bar on the top’ on the terrace of the 27th floor, overlooking The Oberoi hotel in Business Bay area, Dubai. It is far from those stuffy places with a ‘dress code’ policy and too sophisticated cuisines. IRIS is a just freshly opened restaurant and offers top-quality meals and drinks with fun-filled originality. Let’s go on its exploration together…
The site of the restaurant is user friendly, with a lounge-like atmosphere and originals created by a very talented designer which brought out the beauty and elegance of the restaurant. IRIS also has this little competitive advantage; the bar that sits imperiously in the lounge also serves as a brasserie for dinner on the boost. The set is designed in a wild-chic style, complimented by a refined architectural element.
IRIS’ Top Star : Sebou, their champion mixologist
But the real find of this cozy corner and cheering is Sebou the bartender, a virtuoso of the cocktail. This ‘wild-chic’ young man brings out the image of its bar and is as friendly as he is a perfectionist.
The mocktails and cocktails he has invented to suit his boiling creativity, mark his signature style. His anecdotes describe his passion and knowledge for his work and to the listeners’ ears are exciting to say the least. One can simply get drunk on the way listening to Sebou recount his tales.
I’ve tasted the ‘Afterglow’ an amazing mocktail with fresh green sour apple purée, fresh lemon juice and Iris homemade vanilla syrup topped with lemonade. As promised the drink was original; created for delicate palate, strong enough in the mouth not too sweet, girly with the vanilla touch and enhanced by the lemon to balance the acidic taste.
As for my male friend, he was just so delighted with the ‘Spiced Ginger’ a mix of Iris homemade ginger syrup added to finest dates topped with sparkling lemonade. A virile mocktail not far from the aphrodisiac potion!
Sebou uses only natural ingredients to respond to a high demanding clientele and is indeed more concerned about their health and the balance of their diet. He has a knack to make you love cocktails without alcohol and offers customers a chance to enhance their taste by adding a great deal of delicious freshness to satisfy their taste-buds.
After all, if this has excited your appetite, then don’t resist to try dishes prepared by French chef Oivier, who cooks a mean ‘foie gras with figs and roasted toasts’. His starter of ‘The shrimps mediterranean way’ with tomato and parmesan is very good in value with fresh catches of shrimps accentuating the taste of the tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
Rahma Rachdi, a culinary critic, with special interest in gastronomy, sat down with Sebou Tato and had the following candid conversation:
AG : How have you been recruited by The IRIS restaurant ?
Sebou : My career started 10 years ago, I had no idea then about Bars. I happened to work by chance at ‘The White’ in Lebanon. I was just a beginner, and I started to make research, reading biographies etc…
AG : So you were not a Bartender first ? What did you do before that ?
Sebou : I was engineer in sustainable development. It has nothing to do !
AG : What kind of biographies did you read ?
Sebou : Salvatore Calabrese, Jerry Thomas.
AG : Who are they ?
Sebou : Salvatore Calabrese is the Masetro, the best Bartender worldwide. Jerry Thomas is considered the Father of American mixology, a pioneer in popularizing cocktails. He invented how to create first mix of differents juices, alcohols and syrups to create cocktails.That was in the 19th century !*
AG : Can you explain the vocation you get in evolving Bartender after all these years ?
Sebou : For the time being, first it was a hobby. In fact I studied water economics in Lebanon, where I grew up. I got a Master on this field. So after being an engineer, I realized that my scientific background helped me and is not far from the chemistry? The mixology in making the cocktails is so close to that. The Bar tender’s role is to mix, and to take it to the level and I always tried to go beyond that and try many new recipes, in order to create and avoid copying !
AG : So what are your exemples of inspiration, although you don’t like to copy ?
Sebou : Inspiration comes from all over, it is fueld by passion. If I like someone, I take the basis first and empower the finest stuff. In fact it is the client who gives me the inspiration in order to tailor him or her their drink. This is how I can print my own signature for a cocktail or mocktail.
PHOTOS: Iris Rooftop Restaurant
AG : What’s the Mocktail/Cocktail that makes yourself very proud of ?
Sebou : May be the signature in ‘08 April 70’ This cocktail inspired me by the Maestro Salvatore Calabrese, who adapted the famous ‘Classic Margarita’ he put one ounce good quality silver tequila, two-thirds ounce triple sec or Cointreau, one ounce fresh lime juice salt for rimming the glass.
AG : Have you ever met Salvatore Calabrese ?
Sebou : It was a dream came true, as I not only met him, but he was in my jury for championship Bartender championship competition in 2013, in Lebanon, and…
AG : And ?
Sebou : And, it was magic as I was finalist amongst the 350 contestants in competition !
To make a reservation, please call Iris Dubai on +971551605636, call The Oberoi, Dubai on +971 4 444 1444 or email [email protected]
Go to www.oberoidubai.com or find The Oberoi, Dubai online at www.facebook.com/theoberoidubai and www.twitter.com/oberoidubai
[Editing by Sharada Iyer]