Distillery has acquired something of a reputation among night owls on Dubai’s ever-evolving eats and drinks roster.
And the restaurant and bar doesn’t seem to have stood still since opening its doors, giving regulars a number of reasons to return - and newbies an excuse to visit.
For us it was the Friday evening Moonshine Brunch, which bundles up some of the best flavours and fluids of the place into a pocket-friendly package that will keep you rooted to your seat.
The theme is “remixed gastropub fare” and the result is quality comfort food, some dishes more sophisticated than others, and all designed for sharing.
But good luck with that when it comes to the likes of BBQ beef baby back ribs or the tuna togarashi - the latter appearing in thin spicy slices, in a black ceramic bowl laced with soy vinaigrette, lime and cucumber, and Asian slaw for a flavour-packed mouthful.
These were two of the standouts in a menu filled with stars, all delivered to your table to order, so admirably cutting out the waste so often associated with the brunch format.
If you’re in a group of more than two, then the three Wagyu sliders could present a dilemma, except the beauty of this format is you order more of what you like.
To break up the meatier elements, beetroot tartare here is carefully poshed up with toasted cashews and avocado cream. It acts almost like a starter or a palate cleanser. Likewise the bruschetta; the smashed avocado paired with lime aioli just carries the vote over a more regular tomato and basil option.
Perhaps more in keeping with a venue of this style, think wood and steel, a motorcycle and a brilliant KISS pinball machine, Distillery excels at chicken wings.
Dressed with sriracha mayo and jalapeno enhanced, these golden morsels pack a punch that a sip of draft Hofbrau Weiss hops easily offsets.
That said, Distillery’s busy bar team also offer a selection of innovative “prohibition cocktails”. The Moonshine Brunch magnificent seven includes a moreish raspberry gin infused Clover Club, the wonderfully named Harvey Slambanger and the far too nice Pear Brandy Side Car. If you like your rum, Seychelles’ Takamaka underpins the El Presidente.
Also vying for your appetite is the citrus salmon crudo, cured and sourced from Scotland and topped with seasonal garnish; essentially an Italian take on ceviche.
Those textures also contrast with the pumpkin ravioli, an eggless giant postage stamp package lifted to fine dining level by kale ‘chips’, chill flakes and a moistening Parmesan sage cream. If you need a meat break, this is your go to.
That said, Distillery’s arancini are something to write home about. These deliciously dense balls are filled with mushroom and truffle, delivered with chilli flakes, chives and truffle mayo.
You’ll still be thinking about them in the cab home…along with the braised beef short rib, that is. Sliced and served in a gorgeous blend of chimichurri sauce and Peruvian-style quinoa mayrouba, it’s a rugged yet stylish dish that you’ll keep re-ordering.
THE Moonshine Brunch happens every Friday, 8pm-11pm. Packages cost AED185 for food and soft drinks; AED295 for selected wine, artisans beer, cocktails and the food.
IF you can’t wait until Friday, head down this week and you’ll find Distillery hijacked for two nights and fuelled by Kentucky spirit brand Four Roses, as it hosts two pop-ups.
TOMORROW (October 22) and Wednesday you can indulge a night of live music, smooth drinks, and southern American comfort eats - think oysters, packed po boys, tongue-tickling fried pickles and blazing hot wings. Four Roses bourbon helps deliver a ladies' night firstly, while on Wednesday the venue hosts an R&B night. On both evening, Four Roses' global mixologist is in residence to conjure his signature cocktails.