One of the many anticipated restaurant openings of Q4 2017 was Toro + Ko, which recently opened in The Square, the licensed area of City Walk. (Did you even know you could get drinks in City Walk??)
It’s a high-end, Barcelona-style, tapas restaurant (not to be confused with Toro Toro) that serves both traditional and modern Spanish fare. Toro is obviously an homage to the bull, a national symbol of Spain, while KO stands for Ken Orington, the celebrity chef behind the Toro brand who opened the first Toro in Boston in 2006.
I must admit that Spanish had previously been one of my least-consumed cuisines. And I’ll put this down to two things – a dearth of good Spanish restaurants in Dubai and portion sizes that I perceive as just too small.
It’s tapas, after all, so you do get small plates that are designed for sharing. But the thing I like most here is that the dishes here aren’t actually that small. Except for the sea urchin, Sevruga caviar and quail egg dish. (That’s just one spoonful so I’m not sharing with anyone!)
Bear in mind that this isn’t the cheapest of restaurants (a golden spoonful of uni will set you back AED 92) – so perhaps best for a special occasion, date night (when your date is paying), a work night out, or when you’re taking out people you really want to impress.
But what can you expect for your pretty penny? Top-notch food with high-quality ingredients? Check. Small-batch spirits and crafted cocktails? Check. Stylish yet friendly and competent staff? Check. Well-known chefs (but not too well-known) behind the brand? Check. Funky industrial-chic decor and tableware (black opaque wine glasses, anyone?) Check. Original artwork by the Spanish former Dubai resident, Ruben Sanchez? Check. Totally Insta-worthy? Check.
Plus, they have espresso martinis on tap, sangria, red wine you can drink from a porron (Spanish wine pitcher that you pour directly into your mouth), and darn good mocktails too.
What’s on the menu:
Above are some of the delicious sharing plates – a charcuterie platter with cured beef from León, their signature lobster roll, tricolour calamari with citrus aioli, duck fois gras, and their signature golden spoon of sea urchin. Plus:
Seafood paella. This is the showstopper – a gorgeous and flavourful dish made with imported bomba rice and packed full of fresh Boston lobster, prawns, squid, mussels, baby octopus and clams. It’s the must-order dish, though if you don’t like seafood, you can always go for the chicken and rabbit. Delicioso!
Classic garlic prawns – simply sauteed with garlic, butter, EVOO and a dash of smoked paprika.
Tuna tartare with avocado and berries – a delightfully refreshing dish.
Verdict: Ticks all the boxes! Great place to enjoy some tapas and sangria, plus martinis, cocktails and other bevvies. Plus they have espresso martinis ON TAP and some fab artwork.
Note to self: You won’t find any pork here, but the cured beef from León is just as good! Also, I hear the music gets loud in the evenings so worth considering.
Toro + Ko
The Square, City Walk
Tel: +971 4 590 5433
Chow for now!