[Little Bite] Wine & Tapas Bar Review: YNot
While most of Dubai’s fooderati flocked to the opening night of the Intercontinental’s pride and joy, Chef Jason Atherton’s Marina Social last weekend, I opted for another Intercontinental destination instead. The latest addition to Dubai nightlife, wine and tapas bar YNot, is a funky concept boasting a list of vino long enough that the entire venue practically doubles as a wine cellar. From the good ol’ days of Trader Joe’s two buck chuck to collegiate wine courses to bicycle tours of the Napa Valley vineyards, I’ve most certainly been honing my love affair with the grape for some time now. Now that my palate and my bank account have both matured, it’s easy to appreciate an establishment such as YNot, a rare commodity in Dubai.
The wine and tapas bar sits at the base of the hotel with sweeping views of the Marina skyline (which were unfortunately blocked by roller blinds during my visit). Wooden shelves stocked with glassware line the perimeter of the long space adorned with quirky light fixtures, mismatched furniture, a black chalkboard spelling out daily specials and a bar which doubles as a raw seafood station. YNot deserves a round of applause for offering 34 varieties of wine by the glass, a rare feat in this part of the world, alongside hundreds of different bottles of wine. The menu provides both rustic and contemporary tapas with items such as Foie Gras to Boston Lobster Bisque in contrast to Scallop Ceviche and California Maki.
A lengthy consultation led us to our grape for the evening, Malbec by Argento a luscious full bodied wine perfected in Argentina, with strong currant flavors, chocolate undertones and a touch of something herbal. The dry wine accompanied our choice of tapas beautifully starting with the artisan slab of charcuterie, pork included, garnished with a variety of pickles and a chutney, a sweet and salty contrast to the velvety grape. The shredded Duck Rillette came submerged in a bale top jar with sundried tomatoes and olives and won me over with just one bite. I could have done without the Tuna Carpaccio and California Roll, but the raw seafood bar quickly redeemed itself with its Scallop Ceviche, a daily special. A vibrant take on the Latin American delicacy and one of the better renditions I’ve had in Dubai. For the less adventurous, YNot cooks up more traditional gastropub fare, the Mini Wagyu sliders with gruyere and Calamari with tzatziki were both crowd pleasers.
Add a little drama to your evening a blind tasting where guest can guess the grape-country combo of an undisclosed wine. With a free bottle of wine and bragging rights at stake, my table collectively proved our wine tasting skills subpar. The only thing better than wine and tapas would be an alfresco venue which from what I understand is unfortunately not in the pipeline at YNot given its ground floor Marina walk location. With a eclectic menu, affordable vast vino variety and chic-laid back ambiance I suspect YNot will be a unanimous neighborhood favorite in no time.
Disclaimer: Wine and several tapas were complimentary at YNot, as their guest, however all opinions expressed here are my own.