It’s all big Mediterranean flavours, big bucks, and an atmosphere split between an upbeat club and a relaxed alfresco space at WHITE Beach & Restaurant.
If it’s at Atlantis, the Palm, you know you’re in for a pricey affair. Piercing music greets you way out into the parking lot, smashing my fine-dining presumptions. An aesthetic walkway leads you to White Beach & Restaurant, which is split into a group of raucous tourists making the most of their vacation on the beach, and the spent ones sipping on beers in the latter.
Given the ear-piercing pop music, I entered White Restaurant expecting chaos, but the restaurant was pristine. The staff is attentive, luckily not the kind that makes you wish self-service was an option. We’re shown to our outdoor table of choice with a beautiful view of the sun, sand, and sea — a decision we would soon come to regret. However, with Harold (the most knowledgeable, polite, and helpful server) waiting on us and the promise of some signature items from the chef, it’s a promising start.
Opened in 2019, White Beach & Restaurant is still considered one of the newest dining outlets at Atlantis, The Palm. A quick glance at the menu makes the Mediterranean aspect immediately obvious. Anchored by an excellent selection of seafood, the restaurant offers poolside snacks, and some unique culinary creations.
Helmed by Ibrahim Ata, Chef de Cuisine of White Beach & Restaurant at Atlantis, The Palm, the menu more than delivers on its promise of the best Mediterranean fare. The chef’s impressive resume boasts work with the best of the best, including several Gordon Ramsay restaurants.
With the fate of our lunch (or, at least, the appetisers) in the hands of the chef, we spent a good amount of time scouring White Restaurant’s extensive menu. There’s hot and cold apps, mains, grills, pastas and risottos and even sharing plates. There’s also an impressive selection of wines and signature cocktails, with the house wine by Minuty being our drink of choice for the day.
What catches my eye is the Local Sustainable section, an effort of the Atlantis Atlas Project. Partnering with local farmers, White restaurant has carefully curated unique dishes that make the most of fresh, local produce and significantly reduce the carbon footprint as well.
As we sip on our wine and take in the gorgeous clear skies, a constant barrage of buzzing flies is an immediate buzzkill. Even with the staff actively putting incense in place to aid the problem, there’s no respite from the attack. Enter a bread basket with beetroot hummus and six plates of delicious appetisers, and we’re pretty much doomed.
Before I delve into the details of the dishes, it’s imperative to note the instant Instagram worthy factor of White Restaurant’s menu. The colours of the food are in vibrant contrast to the neutral tones of the restaurant, and it’s a great picture whichever way you spin the plate.
Representing the hot appetisers at White are the Sauteed Gambas Tava, and the Freshly Baked Avocado and Burrata Pizzetta with shaved fresh truffles. The succulent plump shrimp is delicious against the warm and spicy broth, complemented by some whole baby spinach leaves. The pizzettas are as visually inviting as they are flavourful. The classic combination of avocado, burrata and truffle is an unsurprising winner, and is also extremely filling — another win for the dish.
Rounding off the appetisers are the Alaskan King Crab salad, and the Crispy Eggplant Mille Feuilles. The salad is a compact tower consisting liberal amounts of both crab and avocado, the latter being an ingredient the chef is seemingly partial to.
As far the Eggplant Mille Feuilles goes, it was a dish that had me both breathless with anticipation and sceptical in equal parts. As you spoon your way through the layers, the crunch of the eggplant gets you salivating instantly. Paired with a vibrant semi dried tomato dressing and some feta cream cheese, it’s a sweet and savoury explosion I didn’t know I needed.
We also sampled the Lobster Tacos, with fresh and delicate lobster meat tossed with chipotle sauce and sushi rice, enveloped in the crunchiest nori shell. It’s a big win for the Mediterranean menu to get this contemporary Japanese offering right, with a signature White Restaurant twist on it too.
With the starters setting the bar exceptionally high, we assumed the mains might just blow our minds away. White Restaurant’s mains are all things luxury fine-dine, with Grilled Spanish Octopus, Chilean Sea Bass En Papillote, Squid Ink Risotto and so much more on offer.
We ultimately decide on the steeply priced Japanese Wagyu Striploin, and the Mediterranean Alinazik Lamb Cutlets as recommended by the chef. Still engulfed by a relentless brigade of flies, much to the chagrin of the apologetic staff, it’s a short wait on the mains as the skies transcend from a brilliant blue to take on dull orange hues.
The phrase ‘you eat with your eyes’, however, was not on the radar with the main plates. For a dish that’ll cost you an arm and at least half a leg, the Wagyu Striploin came in an unassuming plate, presented like any other diner dish. Fortunately for us, the beef was cooked to perfection, and paired extremely well with the tangy and creamy sauce offerings. Surprisingly, however, it was the creamed corn side that stole the show, leaving us scraping the bottom of the tiny bowl. The lamb cutlets were tender to a fault, and made for an interesting pairing with the smokey eggplant and zesty tomato sauce.
With desserts looming around the corner, it was sheer willpower and anticipation that kept us upright. The White Lemon Cheesecake was an aesthetic delight, with a smooth lemon curd and deliciously bright liquid cherry centre that perfectly rounded up our meal. White Restaurant’s also got their theatrics on point with the Crunchy Chocolate Mousse. While the almond praline and velvety milk chocolate chantilly make for an exquisite pairing, we were honestly too full to appreciate much of it at that point.
The food at White Beach & Restaurant reflects the chef’s global and luxury palate. It’s a blend of local, seasonal, seafood and gourmet ingredients, all under one lavish Mediterranean umbrella. The chic venue is the perfect cross between a chill and party spot. We lounged comfortably for three hours and then some to wrap up the entire meal, flies notwithstanding. Enough said.