This Dubai restaurant offers a plant-based menu
Nestled within the Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Folia is home to a green port of plant-based excellence that truly echoes the phrase ‘food for thought’. Celebrity chef Matthew Kenney has used his forward-thinking, progressive vision for the future of food to construct a new menu; vegetable dishes are the tour de force of the culinary sphere. Chief Matthew Kenney tells us, “We realize that what we’re doing is not normal, and that’s okay. We’re here to help broaden people’s minds and bring more plant-based cooking to the mainstream. We want to surprise and delight, and that’s what we wanted to deliver with the new Folia menu at the Four Seasons Resort Dubai.
The new menu is intricately sculpted to send your palate on an explosive wave of assortment, while the veneer is executed like a ‘hands off’ work of art, bringing doses of guilt when you’re eager to devour. However, after one bite, the apprehension quickly disappears. An immersive experience of serenity and jubilation is delivered to Folia, the Latin translation meaning “of the leaves”. The forest-like interior adds to the wholesome and opulent outing. The tantalizing menu makes decision-making tense, so it was imperative to know what Chef Kenney would recommend: “If I had to choose, and it’s hard because the menu has been very carefully put together, I think it should be the watermelon poke. . It’s so bright and lemony and also refreshing. It’s very appropriate for Dubai’s climate and it’s a wonderful starter for any entree.
Chef Kenney is known for shaping the future of food, and now the masses who once patronized those who chose a greener lifestyle are now embracing it. Anyone still skeptical is lucky to have innovators like Chef Kenney to show the virtuous significance, he says: “We want to bring innovative, plant-based cuisine to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. We hope Four Seasons guests will try and experience our dishes even if they are not entirely plant-based themselves. The mission extends beyond that, working with global brands like this allows us to reach a wider audience and help change the future of food.
To meat eaters who can’t fathom the idea of going to a plant-based restaurant and arguing that it shouldn’t cost the same as places that serve meat dishes, Kenney replies, “I don’t not quite understand why anyone would believe that. The amount of work and the imperative that everything be extremely fresh is much higher in a vegan restaurant. Food costs are actually much higher than they would be in your standard restaurant. I know this from having owned my own restaurants over the years. Chef Kenney is educating us all about the power of plant-based foods, through his restaurants, his books, and his online and in-person school, “The Food Future Institute, teaches students how to prepare many of the dishes you’ll find on the Folia menu, or their different interpretations anyway. Certainly, I hope the menu will inspire people to study with us but also to explore their own palate in a new way.
Candied lemon tahini. radish. tomato jam.
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp. Maldon brand sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until toasted.
Rub the hazelnuts between a clean tea towel to remove as much of the skin as possible. Place the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Add to bowl with hazelnuts.
Place the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until the flavors and seeds begin to burst. Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder. Add the crushed spices, pepper and salt to the hazelnut mixture and mix well.
Cut the avocado into quarters, remove the skin. Toss lightly in the lemon juice and coat the avocado with the dukkah mixture, sprinkling it over the avocado until completely coated.
Candied lemon tahini
1 C. candied lemon purée 1 tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 C. ground ras el hanout 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. crystallized ginger 1 fresno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
Peel the tomatoes, immerse them in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until the skin begins to peel off.
Shock the tomatoes in very cold water, peel them and discard the skins.
Combine all ingredients in a medium heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until the mixture has the consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2 cups mixed greens
1 cup quartered red radishes
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon tahini to the center of your plate, using the bottom of the spoon to spread it into a large circle. Arrange the lettuce leaves and avocado pieces over the tahini. Add 1 tablespoon or more of tomato jam around. Garnish with thin slices of radish and parsley.