View from an Ivory Tower
By Sushmita Bose
Friday, July 20, 2012

There is a quiet insulation about Seven Sands at the World Trade Centre — revel in solitary splendour on the 33rd floor and dig into eclectic food

Till date, I have not had the pleasure of being whisked onto the viewing gallery at the Burj Khalifa — so I have no idea how fast 
the elevator shimmies up to the top of the world’s tallest manmade structure. But I loved how the elevator at the Dubai World Trade Centre — one of the city’s oldest buildings (the technology that powers the elevator has to be super new since it’s so super fast) — took us up, in a trice, to the 33rd floor late one evening.

Seven Sands, named after the soils of the seven emirates of the UAE, the fine dining outlet we are about to review, doesn’t really serve local cuisine. The knowledgeable restaurant attendants immediately inform me and my dinner partner that the food is a mix of Mediterranean, Continental (the parts of Europe that do not look out into the waters of the Mediterranean Sea) and Middle Eastern.

There is a lounge that adjoins Seven Sands, the Falcon Lounge, and it is probably customary to sink into comfy sofas boasting upholstery ever-so-faded and charmingly dated, and drink in the views — most notably, the WTC roundabout just below, flush with heavy traffic even though the cars look like little Hot Wheels models — before getting mired into the business of serious food. We did just that while nursing our tall drinks of freshly-squeezed orange juice and feasting on roasted nuts and a delectable trail mix.

The main eating area (Seven Sands) is spacious, and most of the seating is on the brink of urban scenery; the lighting is dim (probably so you can enjoy the bright lights sprawled around you better), and there is the hum of soft music. (It is clear most of the action happens during lunchtime when the place emerges as a preferred destination for the hungry office-going WTC crowd.)

Perfect setting. Now, for the menu.

The bill of fare is limited and it’s clear that the restaurant has a fixed clientele, one that doesn’t believe in the fickleness of choices — or experimentation. What hits you straight off is that if you are vegetarian, Seven Sands will not be too much fun: the accent is meaty, and there’s a wide assortment of fish. Neither of us, my friend and I, are big-time carnivores or die-hard fish-lovers, so spend a few minutes deciding what to savour.

For starters, we zero in on a consommé with chicken-stuffed ravioli, and the traditional Arabic mezze platter, while munching on bits from the breadbasket (one of the variants has an anchovy filling, I realise, and smells a tad fishy). The consommé, when it arrives, is far too salty, but the chicken-stuffed ravioli is delicious. The mezze platter is chock-a-block with the entire range of Arabic appetisers and is almost a meal by itself.   

Consequently, we decide to split the mains: grilled hammour and cherry tomatoes on a bed of tagliatelle, accompanied by creamy, mashed potatoes. The fish, though slightly dry, is excellent, as is the sinful potato.

For desserts, we opt for a crème brûlée and a slice of sacher chocolate (with an infusion of tonka beans). The crème brûlée, that comes with a tangy, fruity mix, is the standout, while the sacher is too hard for my liking (it’s the tonka beans, I am told, that gives it the nutty, un-soft texture). We round off this course with some great, full-bodied coffee, before plunging down to ground realities.

Seven Sands isn’t your usual, noisy Dubai fix for dinner. Seated up above, you can bask in solitary splendour and wonder whatever happened to the boisterous nightlife the city is so famed for.

The upshot? It is the perfect hangout for a quiet, romantic dinner when you’d want to gaze into the eyes of the Significant Other; or, perhaps, discuss threadbare sensitive business matters with a strictly non-romantic partner.

Whoever said it is lonely at the top? 


In seven words: 
Great views, authentic flavours and ‘me’ space

What we liked: Super service

What we didn’t like: 
The limited menu

Restaurant best for: 
An intimate dinner

Cost for two: Dh400-450

Did you know: 
The seven emirates of the UAE all actually have 
different coloured sands?

Contact: Seven Sands, 33rd Floor, Dubai World Trade Cantre Tower, 



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