I’ve been to Dubai many times, both before and after Burj Khalifa the highest building in the world was built. But I never mad it up there. Yeah, I hear you! I can’t almost belive it myself.
When recently returning to this amazing city, I took the chance to remedy that omission in style. Instead of buying a ticket for one of the two observation decks (on 124th and 148th floors respectively), I made a lunch reservation At.mosphere, located on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa (422 metres above ground), one of the city’s most acclaimed fine dining restaurants and currently the highest retaurant in the world.
Once you step out of the elevator that brings you non-stop to the 123rd floor, the views over Burj Lake directly in front and the wider cityscape and the dessert in the distance are just incredible.
To reach the restaurant, you have to walk down a spiral stair to the 122nd floor.
The interior of At.mosphere is all classy with mahogany wood on the walls and ceilings and a supporting colours scheme ranging from amethyst to dark brown.
But clearly, the understated elegance is aimed to not distract from the spectacular views outside the windows.
However, At.mosphere is not only about the views. The food is equally sensational and the restaurant has rightly earned its place amongst the city’s top spots.
Lunching in the world’s highest restaurant naturally called to start with a glass of bubbly, which we did whilst studying the menu.
Our lunch kicked off with an amuse bouche of salmon tartar which was packed with flavours.
I am currently in love with sepia infused bread and to my delight the small bread basket presented at our table included a very soft sepia bread roll that totally fit my liking.
For starters, I went for a very tasty duck terrine. It was served with a delicate lavender ice cream, which I thought was a particular winning flavour combination, and little nibbles of raspberries and quince added some additional hint of sweetness to the mix.
Next I went for the Challans duck, which is a French bread that is known for its lean tender flesh. In fact, it is considered to be one of the best duck meats, quite juicy and less tough than you’d expect when ordering duck. It was served with a slightly crispy skin and accompanied by figs, duck cromesquis (duck dumplings), a very smooth pumpkin puree and a glossy vanilla mandarin jus.
Equally excellent was the capon breast COQ au vin paired with chervil root and black truffle mashed potatoes.
For desert, I chose the chocolate soufflé, baked to perfection with a very smooth rich chocolate core. It was served with a creamy and slightly nutty tasting black sesame ice cream, which was an absolute delight and added an extra crunch of contrasting flavour whilst also being a great palate cleanser.
Our lunch ended with a complimentary ‘treasure chest’ that came with a lot of smoke, which as we were told stood for clouds, considering we were up in the sky. The chest contained white and dark chocolate eggs which were presented on a layer of cobble stones.
Some side notes on dining at At.morsphere
There is a minimum spend starting at AED 500 per person for lunch if you want to sit at a window table or AED 400 per person for a non-window table. Minimum spend for dinner is AED 880 per person for a window table and AED 680 per person for a non-window table.
At.mosphere also requests guests to follow a dress code, which is smart elegant (hence no t-shirts, flip-flops, thorn jeans or anything else not suitable for a fine-dining location).
Access to the restaurant is through the Armani Hotel entrance. From there, you will be directed to an elevator going down one level to the arrival desk of At.mosphere. Then you board a non-stop elevator to the 123rd floor and take a flight of stairs down one level to the restaurant.
A final note on the booking process through the restaurants website, which is easy and straightforward. What surprised and slightly irritated me, however, was that final confirmation is done via e-mail, which is also the moment you are requested to submit credit card details. Whilst given credit card details to guarantee your booking is absolutely fine, being asked to put them into an e-mail is an request I would not expect to come from a high end restaurant. Cleary, putting such sensible information in an e-mail at least for me is out of question. I could resolve the issue phoning the restaurant and having them take down details over the phone – which I still feel is not an ideal solution. A secure link as part of the online booking process should be easily possible and I would expect the restaurant to address and amend this oversight urgently.
Atmosphere restaurant at Burj Khalifa