DiningMichael Ellis on SAL, Jumeirah’s hottest new restaurant

Jumeirah Group Chief Culinary Officer talks about Burj Al Arab’s newest dining hotspot


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The latest addition to Burj Al Arab's dining portfolio is SAL, the cutting-edge dining room that’s taken over Burj’s Terrace. We sat down with our Chief Culinary Officer, Michael Ellis, to find out more about this exciting new pop-up.


Can you share a little about SAL and how the concept first came about?

“Our CEO Jose Silva first came up with the vision of SAL. We wanted to deliver another unique dining experience to our guests and decided that the iconic location and incredible views at Burj’s Terrace were the perfect setting for a new addition.”


The menu’s culinary focus is Southern European fish and seafood, Spanish and Portuguese. What do you personally like about this style of cuisine?

“I love how Spanish and Portuguese food is focused entirely on the ingredients. Their ideas are simple and often uncomplicated, but the flavours and dishes are always superb.”


How would you describe the menus that you’ve designed together with your team?

“We’ve designed the menu to showcase the best flavours of the Med and Iberian Peninsula. We’re also using a number of iconic dishes, which have been given a Jumeirah twist."


Do you have a favourite dish, and if so, can you tell us why?

“My favourite dish is the Sea Bream Isolana – the sea bream has so much fantastic flavour and the combination with seasonal vegetables is delicious.”


You’ve said before that ‘provenance is key’. How have you chosen your suppliers for SAL?

“I believe that all great food starts with great ingredients, so we purposely set the bar high when it came to sourcing them. The process with our suppliers included lots of tastings and inspections to make sure we’ve chosen only the finest quality of produce around.”


Décor is an important part of the dining experience. How did the idea for the mirrored box come about?

“We wanted to combine Burj’s iconic setting with a design that took advantage of Dubai’s incredible visual landscape. The unique structure of the mirrored box is almost an optical illusion – the reflective design blends in seamlessly with the setting and magnifies how impressive the surrounding sea, sky and architecture views are.”


You’ve mentioned before that service and atmosphere play a big part in the overall experience. What makes the atmosphere at SAL stand out, and how will it differ from day to evening?

“I love how the light plays across the restaurant during the day – the mirrored surface lights up beautifully when the sun’s reflected, and we have this lovely long skylight inside which beams in the sunshine. I also love how our position on the water makes it feel like you’ve been transported to a yacht. If you visit in the evening, it feels like a completely different experience – the natural sunlight is replaced with the softest touch of candlelight, and the atmosphere becomes very cosy and comforting.”


What impression would you like guests to have after dining at SAL?

“We want guests to leave feeling like they’ve just had the most incredible dining experience on the glamorous Mediterranean coast.”


You’ve said that Dubai is an underrated food destination. Do you think that more collaborations like SAL will help it get the recognition it deserves?

“Absolutely. I think that each new dining experience that Jumeirah is able to deliver can only help to put a spotlight on the incredible quality of different dining options available in this fantastic city.”

Transport yourself to the Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula with a meal at Burj Al Arab’s newest dining hotspot, SAL.