An institution in Dubai, Burj Al Arab has been generating headlines the world over since its very inception. Fifteen years on from its opening, and its reputation as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world is firmly assured. Looking ahead, ambitious plans for the hotel include the addition of a luxurious North Deck which will cover 10,000 square metres and reach 100 metres into the Arabian Gulf. Set to open soon, the space will have house cabanas, hundreds of sun loungers, fresh and saltwater pools, a restaurant and bar. Spearheading the new dining venues is executive chef Maxime Luvara.
Chef Maxime Luvara
“We have a great renovation plan for our F&B operation throughout the entire hotel. At the moment, we are very busy working on the North Deck that will open in May. As part of that, we will have a vibrant and exciting California- Santa Monica style restaurant, a new bar and a first class pool/beach area where our guests will have incredible views of the most iconic hotel in world. This hotel is an institution, a landmark for luxury, not only in Dubai but also in the hotel industry across the world,” says Luvara.
Al Mahara Restaurant
Born in Italy and raised in France the chef joined Burj Al Arab in 2010, where he took over responsibility for the entire culinary operation, in charge of a team of 230 chefs across eight outlets and a banqueting venue, he has brought a real passion for food and a wealth of experience to the position.
Luvara explains: “Over the course of 26 years, I worked under worldrenowned three-star Michelin chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Antoine Westermann and Michel Troisgros, as well as two star Michelin chef Christian Constant at Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. “In the first instance, I was actually inspired to become a chef by my mother from a really young age – I was 10 to be exact. I used to watch her and help in the kitchen. She is a great chef and has always encouraged me and pushed me to be passionate about food and cooking.”
Al Mahara Restaurant
With a sophisticated international clientele who are extremely well-versed in contemporary gastronomy, Burj Al Arab presents a high culinary standard.
“Our customers come from London, New York and Paris to name a few, and they expect the best in terms of quality, presentation and creativity.
“That means we put a lot of effort into each and every dish. It can start from a simple idea or a seasonal product that will trigger great creations. It is actually the most exiting, exhilarating and satisfying part of our job. Quality is an extremely important factor so we search for the very best ingredients,” Luvara says.
He adds: “It is very easy in the UAE to get hold of great products from around the world. We have three weekly deliveries from Paris where we receive amazing produce that allows us to regularly refresh our menus, and most importantly, provide the best in seasonal fruit and vegetables. We also have a fantastic local supplier for organic products. It’s important to us to support local suppliers and they supply excellent herbs, vegetables and dairy products.” With a roster of restaurants that includes many of the city’s finest places to dine, Burj Al Arab’s culinary offering is undoubtedly impressive. One of the most spectacular is signature fine-dining seafood restaurant Al Mahara. The stunning venue boasts a magnificent floor-to-ceiling aquarium as the backdrop to the delicious fare.
Roasted Atlantic Turbot
He says: “We are very lucky to have so many different styles of restaurants at Burj Al Arab. In Al Mahara, our whole sea bass cooked in salt crust is very popular, as is the king crab and foie gras ravioli. Our version of the Burrata salad is a top seller too, while the venison from New Zealand with poivrade sauce is just amazing, and is a definite favourite with guests. In our newly renovated restaurant, Bab Al Yam, we also have a fantastic selection of Mediterranean specialities while our brick oven in the restaurant promotes interaction between chefs and guests.”
There are exciting plans in place for the months ahead, including Al Mahara’s new look debuting in September under the patronage of celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw. Looking forward to a bright outlook for both the hotel and the city, Luvara says: “I believe the emirate’s dining scene has extraordinary potential. The range of different restaurant styles and concepts here is vast. I personally think Dubai will become a fixture in the Michelin guide in the near future, which should add a huge amount of finesse to the city’s dining scene.”