With only a handful of Mexican restaurants in Dubai (and nearly none that are high-end), Peyote is a much needed addition to the Gulf city’s ever-growing food and beverage scene. The London concept opened its first Middle Eastern branch in early 2017 in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), where it took the place of Marco Pierre White’s Wheelers. It is safe to say, then, that the pressure runs high for Peyote in the much competitive district, despite low competition when it comes to the cuisine.
Luckily, the outlet named after a small spineless Mexican cactus has proven pretty strong-willed, receiving only positive reviews since its opening. Walking into Peyote on a late Thursday night, we could tell why. The ambience, while vibrant, retained a discreet feel, thanks largely to a sharp layout that comprises a sleek lounge and separated dining room designed in wood, stone and marble. While we arrived at half past eight to a half-full space, it grew livelier by the hour, becoming totally jam-packed by 10pm. The dim lights and hip music make it suitable for an intimate night out or a catch up with friends.
The menu is just as exciting, bearing dishes such as the nopales cactus salad comprising chargrilled and salt cured cactus. We opted for a safer starter, however, with creamy yet light guacamole served with crispy tacos and a hint of lime. We wiped the plate clean before moving onto our next (satisfying) endeavour: ceviche verde.
The lime-marinated halibut might be an acquired taste for some considering its distinctive flavour, but we savoured the sour, juicy dish, despite initial suspicion, having tried it for the first time at Peyote.
Next, we opted for the tacos al pastor with roasted chicken adobo, pineapple pico de gallo, lime and cilantro; the closest thing to authentic Mexican tacos we have found in Dubai. We relished the tender filling and delicious soft corn tacos. As Peyote revolves around a sharing concept, we went ahead and ordered the grilled jumbo tiger prawn with tangy salsa taquera, another tender, flavoursome favourite on the menu. It is also worth noting health-conscious customers will appreciate Peyote’s largely gluten and dairy-free menu.
For dessert, we tried the famous Latin American ribbed doughnuts, churros, served warm and baked the right way; crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They come with a side of subtly sweet chocolate dip. A light option if you’re feeling on the heavier side.
We paired it with utterly delicious Oaxaca chocolate comprising warm chocolate, strawberry sorbet and none other than chipotle mousse. The latter, while understated, provides a unique taste.
Service at Peyote is quick and friendly. Its prices, for a posh area such as DIFC, are relatively affordable. And its food? Judging by the dishes we tried, we’d say Peyote is here to stay.
Total food bill for two: AED420.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.