Haute Eat: Toro Toro

A step inside Toro Toro transports you to the rustic ambiance and fiery spirit of Latin America. The restaurant is covered in dramatic burnt orange tones and features a centrepiece floor-to-ceiling fireplace and two floors overlooking the Dubai Marina in Grosvenor House’s recently opened Tower Two. Zesty South American specialities from Buenos Aires to São Paulo are paired with an infinite Cachaça Bar recreating a hot, vibrant and intoxicating Latin American experience.

“Toro Toro”, meaning bull in Spanish, is a new dining concept developed by internationally acclaimed Latin American Chef Richard Sandoval. The restaurant offers varied dining experiences that span over two floors on the marina’s edge. The first Pan Latin restaurant and lounge of its kind in the UAE, Toro Toro features flavors from across South America including Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. As soon as my guest and I entered the restuarant we were greeted with a life-size sculpture of a steel black Bull, the restaurant’s namesake and seemingly driving force behind its vibrant atmosphere. Seated in a dimly-lit corner we immediately marveled over the rustic warm-toned surroundings coupled with striking animal motifs, wrought black iron bars and cages and warm fireplace.

The menu is meant to be shared family-style will a multitude of small plates “land” and “sea” plates to share inspired by dishes from Peru, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina followed by the traditional Churrasco grill. We were immediately served a Latin American specialty cocktail made with Pisco, lemon juice, egg whites and a dash of Angostura Bitters – brilliant and very addictive and followed by a light and fruity sparkling Brazilian rose wine to sip with each dish. Starters arrived of Concha a la Macho made with scallops, shrimps, calamari, onion and mushroom with a la macho sauce; Chillean Seabass of beans, cherry tomatos, asparagus, shellfish and aioli sauce; Grilled Octopus of fingerling potato salad, Peruvian adobo and cilantro sauce and Ceviche Nikkei of Ahi tuna and soy sauce, sweet potatos, pickled ginger, cucumber and quinoa. Of the four, the Chillean Seabass and Concha la Macho were immediate hits – the former bursting with flavor from a variety of sea creatures while the latter featured a more hearty yet tart taste.

Onto the mains, a large dish of grandiose grilled Jumbo Prawns were brought out alongside zesty heirloom tomatoes with watermelon and a fresh Heart of Palm Herb Salad with avocado and chipotte vinaigrette dressing. The jumbo prawns were perfectly done moist and hearty with a smooth dressing of olive oil and garlic.

Service was excellent and informative and provided by a Brazilian waiter who eloquently explained each dish. Toro Toro merits many returns; one evening at this vibrant Latin American restuarant will prompt a follow-up visit (I’ve already been twice since my first visit). Hot, raw, energetic and sensual in food and ambiance.

Toro Toro is open for dining and drinks from 19pm to 2am and until 3am on Thursday and Friday and closed on Sunday. For restaurant reservations call +971 43176000.