asado-baby goat‘Did you like your dinner last night Mama? ‘

‘Best in a while, darling. ‘

‘What did you eat? ‘

‘Kids… ‘

Very funny, no? But true. Last night I ate kid. Not a whole one – just a couple of ribs. The meat was a little sparse, but it was tender, dripping with puppy fat and buttery juices. I threw it back while gulping on berry-rich Malbec and listening to salsa. I licked my fingers, and I rubbed the plate clean with bread, sopping up every last morsel. I suppose, that to vegetarians, it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a human child – it’s barbaric none the less. But baby goat, or Chivito, is one of the dishes you must try in my new favourite meat temple, Asado. If you can stomach it, I suppose.

There’s no hiding from roasted flesh in this cavernous carnivorous corral. The entire space is coloured like the belly of a beast – dim, brown, red, black. Chandeliers are constructed of antlers, a homage to death. Warmth surrounds like blood, columns rank the walls like ribs, and a mighty mirror shines at the end like a gaping mouth. The kitchen sheds the only bright light, which falls on the centrepice – not flowers, water feature, or other sweet or inane decor, but an altar of sacrifice – carcases of baby goats splayed and roasting over coals. They reside behind glass – probably to stop greedy fingers, but their aroma permeates the room, had us hungering for blood before we even saw the menu.

tasteOD-asado quinoa

There are other dishes – Provolata and other cheeses, empanada, salads, quinoa and soups. But they were passed over for the flesh. Maybe it was the lusty background music – quivering guitar accompanied by a throaty voice from a petite and fedora-hatted alto, or maybe just the sights and smells. I felt all hot-blooded and medieval. I hungered. I wanted to suck the meat from bones and throw them over my shoulder and demand more. All thoughts of abstinence or even moderation flooded me, and I found myself ordering pieces of everything, asking them all to arrive, smoking on a grill at the table, so I could try all the different cuts of meat along-side. Weigh them against each other for texture, tenderness, density and richness. The waiter simply smiled, and suggested a selection for the table – perchance he has seen this bourgeois blood-lust before?

asado-provoletaI attacked the wine list with similar gusto. It’s a paragon of Latin American vinosity. Unusual and exciting wines I have not seen anywhere else in the city. The sommelier arranges specific shipments it seems, and each one particular to Asado has a bunch of grapes stamped alongside. Fortunately I have tried a couple already at the wine tasting – a very reasonable bubbly by Michel Torino and an incredibly vibrant and youthful unwooded Malbec from Ique. I hover between an Argentinian Torrontes and an Albarino from Uruguay, and I am steered the less risky rout towards Argentina’s rival to gewurztraminer, Torrontes. Of course, Malbec follows – this time a little more serious, aged and oaky, but still with that blackberry fruit and velvety plushness that accompanies fatty and salty char-grilled meat so well.  Malbec is only a piece of a red wine puzzle in other parts of the world, in particular, one of the big five that make up Bordeaux reds, but in Argentina a most singular varietal – probably of a different (and maybe even superior) clone, it is thought.


Meat arrived both with simplicity and splendour upon a fiery grill, sizzling and spitting as the juices dripped. We fought for the choice cuts – the goat was first to go – pale ribs arced and delicate, with tiny strips of soft ripe meat between that could not be discovered via cutlery. Fingers were dirtied, and I got my medieval fix. The tenderloin was quartered sparingly, delivered red and oozing to each plate by my careful husband, but the rest was a free-for-all. Veal and lamb cutlet, beef short ribs, chicken skewers and brisket disappeared in a flurry, and five minutes later all that could be seen were the silent and sated grins of greedy gluttons as we sat back and sighed into a more appropriate reclining position to enjoy the rest of the evening with our ears and eyes.

asado-bandI’m told they do desserts at Asado – but savoury flavours held my tongue, and only cheese seemed appropriate, particularly as at this point the accompanying beverage was firmly a gutsy red. It’s also possible that there were sides ordered, but I can’t remember them. Translated, asado means to roast, and is also the colloquial word for barbecue – Asado needs no more recommendation. The meat is GOOD. (Especially the little kids)


Asado is at the Palace Hotel,
Emaar Boulevard, The Old Town Island, Downtown Dubai map
P.O. Box 9770, Dubai, UAE
Phone: +971 4 888 3444

The restaurant has been open for several years, and I have dined there three times. There are shortcomings in service and the menu, but they are entirely forgivable due to the ripe atmosphere. This particular night, there was a complimentary wine tasting, but the meal was paid for by myself, and worth every penny.

asado-Ique malbecasado-mirrorasado-bar

9 thoughts on “Not for vegetarians – Asado”

  1. "greedy gluttons" have grins, surely not? "leers" would be my choice ;-)As always your prose is a joy to read, so much so I am nearly convinced to visit New Dubai.The last time I had "kid" the table was zealously guarded by the farmers/butchers/chefs dogs, Reagan and Gorbachev, so that dates the meal!

  2. Is that a recap of the dinner we shared that wine tasting evening? I remember you picking the Torrontes and Raymond picking the Malbec. Raymond had been hoping for a Torrontes at the wine tasting. Ah that fatty oh so good meat on the grilled bones of that baby goat. I was also quite content nobody cared for the sweet breads, which I then devoured! Or did you go back? We will definitely go back, I saw somewhere that they have a summer 25% at the Palace restaurants!

  3. Fabulous writing. That first photo looks like something out of jurassic park. Ironically, had a friend visit from nyc last week who went to asado and gave it a 'mediocre' though I may take your and Francine's word and attempt it sometime anyway.

  4. That was the one! Mixed however with some of my previous experience. It's a great venue – and yes, they have 25% off for visa users – went to Armani Peck the other day and it was pretty good value on that deal – strange place though…

  5. You should! NY is spoiled for dining, and we scrape the barrel a little, so I suppose much of what we would consider great is just good to them. What really got me was the wine list, and the natural feel and flow of the place – it's rare in Dubai not to be submersed in a plastic or contrived atmosphere that just doesn't gel properly. Go on a Thursday or Friday night when it's buzzing… And yes, those kid-corpses are a little graphic, aren't they!

  6. I love Arva's comment! Actually, When you had left your comment in Francine's post 'Can still taste that kid…' I had left a comment – 'Sarah you sound like you have popped out of Hansel & Gretel!' and I was feeling horrible!!!I love the way you write – justifying the carnivores out of us and making them seem human!

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