Wine Dine and Play: OSH

OSH

OSH is the second restaurant in the group opening in Dubai in 2018 with its sister restaurant in London which closed in 2019



A Festive Tasting of Turkic-Uyghur Cuisine
Dubai, UAE
Cuisine Style: Uzbek, Uyghur, Russian
Average Price: $$$
Overall Rating: 4/5
Dined: October 2019

By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:



OSH Zomato rating:

Osh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 














OSH Executive Chef:
Alejandro Castro


OSH Dubai is part of the Bolt Group of restaurants and focuses on Uzbek cuisine plus fusion with a few dishes from other Central Asian and Eastern European countries thrown into the mix. This includes a few Russian dishes. Uzbek food originates from Uyghur cuisine in the Xinjiang province (home to the Uyghur's) in China which borders Mongolia, Russia, India, and all the Stans and was the link on the Silk Road between Asia and the Middle East. As a result, Uyghur cuisine meets somewhere in the middle between central Asian and Turkic tradition, bubbling away from the melting pot of that famous trade route. There is a great deal of grain farming in Uzbekistan, so bread and noodles are of importance, and Uzbek cuisine has been characterized as "noodle-rich". Mutton and lamb is a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country and it is a part of various Uzbek dishes. 


See related content:


The signature dish of Uzbekistan is palov (plov or osh or "pilaf"), the main course made with rice, pieces of meat, grated carrots and onions. It is cooked in a Kazan (or deghi) over an open fire; chickpeas, raisins, barberries, or fruit may be added for variation. Palov is made on special occasions by the “oshpaz,” or the Osh Master Chef, who cooks the national dish over an open flame, sometimes serving up to 1,000 people from a single cauldron on holidays or occasions such as weddings. The OSH restaurant namesake is from the signature national dish and the chefs that prepare it. OSH restaurant first began in London before opening in Dubai in 2018. The London location is now permanently closed. OSH represents traditional Uzbek cuisine, which is served in a modern way. The recipes are not changed, preserving their original authenticity. Modernity is expressed through the serving, tableware, and other stylistic techniques.

Uzbekistan not only blends Uyghur, Turk and Russian cuisines but also Jewish Bukharian, Tajik and Koryo-saram which is the name of the ethnic Koreans from the post-Soviet states. “Koryo” means Korea, and “Saram,” means either “person or people.” Koryo-saram people began immigrating to Russia and the “Stan’s” as early as the 1860s, and have preserved their native cuisine throughout that time. The cuisine of the Koryo-saram is closest to that of the Hamgyong provinces in North Korea and is dominated by meaty soups and salty side dishes. It uses similar cooking techniques but is adapted to local ingredients, which resulted in the invention of new dishes. One well-known example is a spicy carrot salad, known throughout the Soviet Union as a Korean carrot salad. It is a Koryo-saram invention and was unknown in South Korea until recently. However, it has gained an international following, being served in most cafeterias throughout the region, sold in all supermarkets, and featured regularly as a side dish on dinner tables and in holiday feasts set by all ethnicities of the former Soviet Union. On the other hand, some South Korean dishes such as bulgogi, bibimbap, and samgyeopsal were relatively unknown to Koryo-saram until recently. Dishes traditionally popular among Koryo-saram include pigodi, kuksu (국수), timpeni, khe, chartagi, kadi che (가지채), kosari che (고사리채), chirgym che, and kadyuri. 


OSH Dubai Menu:
    • Salads
    • Cold Starters
    • Hot Starters
    • Soups
    • Traditional Uzbek Osh
    • Mains
    • Tempura
    • Charcoal Grill & Robata
    • Sides
    • Desserts

La Mer Dubai is a world-class beachfront in the Jumeira 1 neighborhood that incorporates a minimalist and contemporary design with shops, restaurants, and cafés, leisure, and entertainment along 2.5 kilometers of white sand beaches. There are 55 indoor and alfresco cafes, bars and restaurants. 40 boutique stores with unique concepts, and entertainments that include a waterpark, theatre, and beach. OSH is among the 55 restaurants in this newer 2018 development. OSH has a Fusion style interior matching new age modern design with classical Central Asian cultural design and Middle Eastern aesthetics. The restaurant is two stories, with the first floor holding the main kitchen and non-smoking dining room. The second floor holds a larger dining room, cocktail area, main bar and the outdoor patio facing out to view the Persian Gulf beaches and La Mer along with views of downtown Dubai. The second floor both inside and out is a smoking section as well as an area to smoke shisha using imported Russian tobacco. Shisha like hookah pipe smokers is at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease.

With Central Asian fusion themes the furniture are architecture set the tone for OSH restaurant in Dubai
OSH / Fusion-eclectic dining room

When I arrived for my earlier dinner reservation, I was escorted to the second floor near the main bar. I was not offered a choice of smoking or non-smoking section, coming to discover that the non-smoking section is not opened till later in the evening or used as an overflow to the second-floor smoking level. For those who are non-smokers and do not want to be around cigarette and shisha smokers, it borders on discrimination and to deal with the adverse health effects that smokers will deal with later in life through second-hand smoke. In the United States, most of Europe and other places smoking is banned in indoor locations with the exception of bars that serve little to no food. Some places allow smoking on the patios of those restaurants. To enjoy food you not only enjoy the flavors and techniques that the chef prepares, or the presentation and quality but also the sensory joy of the food. To smell the flavors, herbs, and aroma of the meats and vegetables which excites the palate long before the first bite. In a smoking restaurant, you smell burnt tobacco not the wonderful aromas of food. When I was told that this was the only seating area I tried the patio, but it was incredibly hot outside. I thought about leaving but had built up the excitement to try a new style of cuisine that I had not experienced before. I decided to stay with the hope that I would be done before a large group of smokers arrived. Though there were only a few tables occupied, some people were already smoking, and you could smell the residue in the air from the previous days' smokers. One thing about an indoor smoking location that most people who smoke do not notice is that the foul burnt tobacco odor lingers long after the smokers leave. This resulted in a lower overall score factor for the restaurant which is listed below the review.

The fusion-style dining room was also made up of furniture and dining tables that were very heavy with iron legs, that once you moved the chair would scratch against the concrete floor. I began with a gold rush cocktail advertised as the journey of Forty-Niners an ode to the gold miners of the early San Francisco gold rush. The cocktail blended whiskey stirred over hand-cut ice blocks with Umeshu Japanese liqueur plum wine, Manzanilla Sherry Wine, Angostura Bitters, and honey. The drink was sweet and had a good but strong whiskey flavor signaling a heavy pour of alcohol. Other alcoholic beverages enjoyed by the Uzbek people are locally produced beers, Champagne, Cognac, wine, and thanks to the Soviet occupation, Russian Vodka the most popular alcoholic beverage, and is typically drunk straight (sans dilution or mixer).

The gold rush cocktail is made with whiskey, umeshu plum wine, manzanilla sherry wine, bitters, and honey
OSH / Gold rush cocktail

I had two waiters, a lead and a back server or helper. The lead server was from Egypt and the back server was an Uzbek man named Zafar, and though both had very good knowledge of the menu, the Uzbek server explained the dishes better since he grew up eating them. With an explanation of some Uzbek favorites and some studies of the menu prior to arriving, I asked the servers to choose dishes for a chef-style tasting as the restaurant did not offer a set tasting menu. The tasting would include a bowl of soup, three starter selections, a traditional Uzbek polov osh entree, and a dessert. All the plates on the menu are designed for sharing, so they contain smaller portions per plate. 

The first course was a soup called Lagman with lamb. Laghman is a Central Asian dish of meat and vegetables. Native Turkic words do not begin with L, so läghmän is from the Chinese and its taste and preparation are distinctly Uyghur. The basic seasonings include star anise, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt, and pepper. The vegetable mixture has onion, potato, and carrots. The carrot preparation is Koryo-saram using the same style as the spiced carrot salad dish. For the meat selection a lamb chop was added, slowly boiled and extremely tender. The vegetables were imported from Uzbekistan organic farms and the broth was a lite vegetable base. Each sip from the spicy carrot to the fresh coriander ignited my palate. It was a shame I could not enjoy the full aroma thanks to the cigarette smoke around me. Other soups on the menu include Tom-Yum with Prawns, Ukrainian Borsch, Tomato soup, Chuchvara, and Shurpa. 

Lagman is a traditional Uzbek soup made with lamb, potatoes, and carrots
OSH / Lagman soup

The next dish was the perfect palate cleanser for the soup dish, which was a mixture of pickled vegetables called the mixed pickle platter. The pickling juice is made in house and all the vegetables like those in the soup were imported from Uzbekistan organic farms. The dish had very sweet cherry tomatoes, some of the best I have ever tasted with wonderful texture. The other pickled vegetables include pattypan squash also called a pâtisson or ciblème in Cajun French, it is a variety of summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembling a small toy top, or flying saucer.

Imported from Uzbekistan organic farms these vegetables are brined in a house pickling liquid  with sweet cherry tomatoes and pattypan squash
OSH / Pickled Vegetables

The second appetizer was a hot starter of chicken Samsa served with adjika (adjika) an ethnic Georgian hot and spicy, but subtly flavored dip, often used to flavor a variety of foods. The name derives from the Abkhaz word (аџьыка) “salt" nicknamed the Russian pesto as it contains crushed tomatoes, garlic, and fresh lime juice which brings out the full flavors of the garlic. The chicken was lightly seasoned and stuffed into the pastry with onions and baked with sesame with an excellent texture and complexity of flavors plus a very filling dish that could by itself be a lighter entree. 

This salsa dish is stuffed with chicken and onions served with a Russian pesto
OSH / Chicken Samsa with Russian Pesto

The third dish was a pumpkin and lamb manti, also called manty, mantu or manta, which is a type of steamed dumpling popular in most Turkic cuisines, as well as in the cuisines of the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Chinese Muslims. The dish was presented with three dumplings and a side of sour cream garnished with chives. The dumplings are stuffed with the diced pumpkin and shaved pieces of lamb, then steamed for 30 minutes. The flavor was very subtle with a strong taste of the pumpkin, but little flavors of lamb.
  
The anti is stuffed with meat and pumpkin slowly steamed for 30 minutes and served with sour cream at OSH restaurant in Dubai
OSH / Pumpkin and lamb manti

It was now time to try the namesake of the restaurant OSH palov, the signature dish of Uzbekistan made with rice, pieces of lamb, grated carrots and onions with chickpeas, raisins, yellow capsicum peppers, and barberries served prazdnichniy style (Праздничный) which is a Russian word to mean festive and was garnished with Uzbek quail eggs. The dish also came with a side of artichoke salad combined with red onions, Uzbek tomatoes, and microgreens grown in the restaurant. The traditional method of service is to place the salad over the rice but before doing so, I wanted to taste the individual dishes. The rice was cooked al dente and slightly firm with sweet aromatics from the raisins. The salad was fresh, sweet, and very aromatic — so much so that it was present over the horrible cigarette and shisha smoke from a restaurant now with nearly every table occupied and a downstairs still closed from what I was told. I would say that the salad tasted as good as the cherry tomatoes from the mixed pickle dish, and once the salad was combined with the palov the flavors and texture were so amazing it was nearly overwhelming to the palate. It was a very heavy and filling entree. Halfway through the dish I could not eat anymore and was completely full, knowing that the courses chosen still had a dessert to come.

The prazdnichniy festive Uzbek rice dish called polov prepared with lamb, chickpea, quail egg and raisin
OSH / Festive Polov Osh

The Uzbek artichoke salad has tomatoes and red onion served with polov dish
OSH / Artichoke Salad

The artichoke salad is served on top of the polov osh dish blending both wonderful flavors together in one
OSH / Polov with the artichoke salad


Dessert:
The dessert menu was very eclectic containing traditional Uzbek and Russian favorites as well as some Italian and French desserts. I chose the Pahlava, a Russian take on the classical Greek and Afghan Baklava dessert dish stuffed with pistachios and other mixed nuts and honey compressed into a phyllo dough garnished with mint and powdered sugar. The dish was sweet and extremely tasty and was a hard choice as the Chak Chak an Uzbek crispy fried dough with honey and fried raisins also sounded just as good.

The pahlavi dessert is a Russian take on the Greek and Afghan Baklava dessert with phyllo, pistachio and honey
OSH / Pahlava dessert



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Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.




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Final notes, review basics, observations, and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambience, food quality, and wow factor. 
To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give OSH a 4 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they were outstanding. I believe that one day they will reach 5-stars or an extraordinary experience if they work on a few customer services, quality, and ambiance factors, mainly in relation to the second floor indoor smoking. To enjoy food it is not just a tasting experience, but a sensory experience, meaning to smell as well as taste. You can’t do that in areas where people smoke cigarettes and the non-smoking section of the restaurant doesn’t open until later in the evening.

Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings for OSH Dubai
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Ambience
10
8
2
Food quality
11
10
1
Plate presentation
12
11
1
Customer service
13
10
3
Alcohol and other beverages
10
8
2
Total regular points awarded
56
47
9
Total percentage — less the Bonus

0.839285714285714

“Wow” factor BONUS
5
2
0
Total bonus percentage

0.0357142857142857

Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating

0.875

Stars Awarded (see chart below)
0 - 5
4

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


***

Overall Star Rating:
4 of 5 Stars: 
88% Rating with a 2 point “wow” bonus
An Outstanding Dining Experience
Wine List:
OSH Wine rating:
4 of 10
Old World selections: 
France, Germany, Italy

New World selections: 
Argentina, California, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa
Corkage fees:
OSH does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant-style:
Conservative dining
Cuisine Style at OSH:
Russian, Uzbek, Uyghur
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Gluten-free choices, Grass-Fed, Local, Low Carb Choices, Non-GMO, Organic, Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Reservations:
Not Required, but Recommended
Walk-Ins:
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Smart casual to Casual attire
Child policy:


The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
OSH Experiences:
Place for foodies, Modern, Trendy, Business parties, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Upscale, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Payments:
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Parking:
OSH has a valet, and parking garage nearby
Wifi
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Medium
Smoking:
WARNING: OSH is a smoking restaurant 
WARNING: 2nd floor + the patio is a smoking area
Patio or terrace:
Yes






Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)


**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

Currency:
Price
Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
د.
United States Dollar (USD)
$$$
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
£££
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
$$$$
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
¥¥¥¥¥
European Union (EUR)
€€€




OSH Dubai:

Shop 52 
North La Mer 
Jumeirah 1, Dubai, UAE





Contact Information: 

Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+971 55 963 6756
Email Us:
Serving hours:

UAE standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - BST Offset + 4:00)
Daily: Mon-Sun
12:00 pm - 2:00 am

Social Media 
And 
Accolades for 
OSH Dubai:
OSH Dubai Facebook link                










****
The world's best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.


A few to tease you with…
An innovative and eclectic tasting menu
 Ripponlea, Australia
Innovative East Meets West Menu
Cape Town, South Africa
Haute French Restaurant
 Paris, France
(Now L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon)





Other OSH Pictures:


The OSH restaurant kitchen in Dubai
OSH / Kitchen

The front entrance and building of the OSH restaurant in Dubai
OSH / Front entrance

The second floor of the OSH dining room in Dubai
OSH / Dining room

A rowboat display at the La Mer in Dubai near OSH restaurant
OSH / old boat display

The chicken samsa and lamb mantis dumpling dishes at OSH Dubai
OSH / Samsa and Manti



“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)



Who is John Galt?


TTFN





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