The Best Wine Bars in Dubai - Clap Dubai
The Best Wine Bars in Dubai - clap dubai
In the UAE, diners in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in particular, are fortunate to have a plethora of bloggers, reviewers and influencers to help them stay abreast of the good and the bad, new launches, updates to menus and more. At The Tasting Class, though, we feel there’s something missing. Rich in content are we for the great places to eat, not so much the best places to drink. And, thus, our review series is born.
Our reviews and guides will be written by a small group of well-trained, opinionated writers, most educated within our WSET wine and spirit programmes. They drink out a lot, too. More than they probably should 🙂
Drawing inspiration from the pioneers of trustworthy dining reviews in the UAE, a-la FooDiva and Food Sheikh, our team always dines anonymously and pays their own way. We’ll start with wine, but soon you’ll see the best places for cocktails and other drinks, too.
We’ll score our reviews out of 50 taking into account things like staff knowledge, originality, and even if a wine list is properly written. We welcome feedback, suggestions on where to go, but don’t be offended if we don’t always take it on board 🙂
So without further ado, The first in our review series looking for the best wine bars in Dubai is Clap Dubai.
Expectations were high from the recent Time Out Fine Dining newcomer award winner, and we found it delivered across the board.
The wine list has 300+ wines by the bottle with Coravin options by the glass. The wines themselves are well-curated and showed originality for the UAE.
Superb service, a wide range of wines at varying price points make this a venue we look forward to visiting again.
We’ve rated it 45/50, a promising start and setting the bar high for future reviews.
What is the restaurant like?
The high windows and use of wood throughout feels neat, warm and welcoming. In the cooler months, you can enjoy dining on the expansive terrace with DIFC views.
Exiting the elevator on the 9th floor, you immediately see the instaworthy 2,100-piece Manga figurine chandelier. The bar on the left also has a unique perspective of the Burj Khalifa from the smoking area. And from start to finish, the staff go out of their way for a welcoming and enjoyable experience.
Is there variety on the wine list?
Thanks to its thoughtful sections (varietals, top-end regions, etc.), the wine list is easy to navigate – even at 20 pages containing 300+ wines – thanks to its thoughtful sections (varietals, top-end regions, etc.).
Each section has a short description to highlight the likely taste profile/experience (e.g. Pinot Noir referencing a lighter body with notes of red berries, earth, mushroom, etc.). They’ve divided varietals by the predominant taste profile (e.g. silky & smooth vs big & bold) or geographic areas for the regional pieces.
Naming is clear and consistent throughout, with vintages displayed for each wine on the left. Important because this is the global standard in displaying wines and not done enough here in the UAE. It also makes reading through it a pleasure.
The same is true for the premium range (e.g. Bordeaux Left Bank, Super Tuscan, Burgundy White, etc.), split by producer or appellation. This makes it easier for those seeking something specific; the only main exception is the “Big & Bold” reds listing some of the top-end options available.
The wine choice displays originality, especially for the “Regional White Varietals”.
Whether you are seeking a nice wine, a new wine or a fine wine, it is a pleasure to have options across the price range in all areas. There are attractive options below 550 AED in most categories, with a sweet spot between 500 AED to 1,000 AED before you enter the premium categories.
By the glass, the 30 plus options (including 12 Coravin) were again at a range of price points and offered originality. The broad selection offers a range of choice to pair with the Japanese cuisine and there is a 2-page sake menu, with glass and bottle options, for those looking to have a more original pairing.
What was the wine experience like?
With the cuisine focused on imaginative and delicate flavour pairings, I started with a Chardonnay from Elgin, South Africa, whose cooler unoaked style won’t overpower the food profile.
The servers ensure any questions are quickly addressed and understood the wine list for essential advice. The sommeliers are attentive and quick to offer more detailed advice and service. And when ordering a bottle, the table service was on point; the servers topping up the glasses without disruption.
Post dinner, I was looking for a red wine to wind down the dining experience. When the initial wine I wanted was not available, the server was aware of the replacement and could outline the region and style of wine. Keen to know more about the wine, the sommelier arrived with the bottle in hand to allow us to view it while they provided an overview of the wine and its taste profile.
The Riedel glassware used was consistently spotless, the default glass a larger Cabernet style for both red and white wine.
To sum up…
Enjoying wine at a fine dining restaurant always carries a premium; in this case, it is a pleasure to find a good selection of wine at varying price points supported by good service, all combined to enhance the dining experience.
Have you been to Clap? What did you think? What other bars or restaurants do we need to go and see?