Brandon's Table on a Persian journey at Enigma - Palazzo Versace Hotel, Dubai

Brandon's Table, a celebration of conversation that delves deeper than the superficial topics like weather, recently made its way to Enigma at Palazzo Versace in Dubai. If you have not been, it is a beautiful restaurant. Notwithstanding the concept shift, I still like the name which promises something unknown, a surprise perhaps, a twist. 

Dinner, scheduled for 19h30 starts later than planned. It is quite something really. With guests coming from Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ajman and Dubai itself with its own traffic issues, this was bound to happen. Thanks to technology, I get constant updates. Still stressful, nonetheless because when planning starts, the guests who commit walk this journey with me up until the actual dinner, if this makes sense. Thankfully, guests start arriving in relatively good time considering, and we gather on the terrace to have a welcome drink, a Shiraz-vodka cocktail. I have written this in several places before that it perplexes me that more restaurants do not create wine cocktails that go beyond sangria. This is quite lovely.

When we are seated at 9pm for dinner, there is still something surreal about the evening. With the exception of three guests, it is a first time at Palazzo Versace for everyone. It is really is quite an exquisite venue hosted in an equally stunning hotel, but as these thoughts seem to be floating around, we are welcomed to our evening. The attention to detail is unmistakeable. The placement of everything from plates, glasses and cutlery is precise. If people care about the little things you know that the bigger aspects like the dishes and service will be given the same treatment. 

The menu for this evening, an evening Persian dishes, is  sharing concept which is ideal for the philosophy behind Brandon's Table,  has a number of dishes  I had on my last experience when I fell in love with the idea of bringing some guests here. You can read about that evening here: A Persian Journey

Enigma Journey
Brandon’s Table

Sabzi Khordan
Mesmerizing variety of fresh herbs with walnuts & homemade Persian cheese, Roasted Persian bread, olives and homemade pickles. Obulato Versace

Cold & Starters
Salad Chupan (D)(GF)
Grilled watermelon, cress, candied olives, walnuts and homemade Persian Cheese
Masto Khiar (D)
Freshly grated cucumber and mint in yoghurt
Masto Laboo (D)
Yoghurt with red beetroot cloud and cumin

2014 Waterkloof, 'False Bay', Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region, South Africa 
Warm starters
Kashke Bademjun (D)(V)
Charcoal grilled eggplants with Kashk, fried mint and roasted onions
Kuku Sabzi Palazzo (N)(V)
Persian herbs frittata with barberries, candied walnuts and

2016 Stella Bella, Skuttlebutt, Sauvignon Blanc - Semillion, Margaret River, Australia 
Main Course
Flavors of Persian Kababs
Kubideh, beef, chicken and prawns grilled on charcoal

Khoresht Gheime
Lamb with yellow split peas and dried lime

2015 Pablo, Old Vine Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain 
Faludeh (D)
Saffron ice cream, glass noodle in rosewater with homemade syrups assembled at the table

NV Distilleria Bottega, Petalo Il Vino dell Amore, Moscato, Colli Euganei DOC, Veneto, Italy

By the time the dishes are served, the conversation is in full flow. Conversation pieces like the presentation of the  Sabzi Khordan dominate the opening of dinner, while the cold and warm starters which follow do the same but for more reasons than drama and theatre. The Kashke Bademjun  in particular with its intense charcoaled flavour. It reaches a point where it is no longer about the food. When an evening gets underway the way ours has, you cannot say how it will end. You are just transported by the moment. 

The wine pairings on the night are excellent. The restaurant's wine guru, Sibeesh,  goes around to guests and introduces the wines, explaining the rationale behind the pairing. Regarding the wines, I should say, that the quality of wines, notwithstanding the value for money aspect of the dinner, is excellent. The 2014 Waterkloof, 'False Bay', Chenin Blanc and 2015 Pablo, Old Vine Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain  which paired superbly well with our cold starters and excellent main meat dishes. Finally, special mention must be made too of the dessert wine, NV Distilleria Bottega, Petalo Il Vino dell Amore, Moscato. Beautiful!

It is an evening with many wow elements, an essential part of any Brandon's Table. It is sai  that no chef is bigger than an evening. That is true of ours, but Executive Chef Mansour comes close to debunking this. He is larger than life and as he introduces each dish, he has a way about him that engages people. A chef explaining your dishes is one thing, but when the executive chef does it, it is even more special, especially taking into account that the Persian menu that has been captivating guests at Enigma the last few months is his inspiration. 

Brandon's Table at Enigma will live on in memory for so many reasons. I could not have chosen a better restaurant for its first Dubai venture. People often ask me how I decide on a restaurant to host Brandon's Table. It is about a connection forged on a previous visit. That connection can be in the form of a chef who, when he speaks, lets you feel the utter belief in a concept that flows from the heart. It could be in the form of staff who are well trained and are able to step out of the confines of the training manual. It could be in the dishes which make an impression on you. All three elements led me to Enigma. On the night, these came together nicely and as left the restaurant, we all wished the journey did not have to end; our Persian journey. 

The Essentials


Palazzo Versace
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