Dubai does things on the small, discrete scale, said no one – ever. At literally every level, its outsized ambitions and extraordinary project budgets dominate.
Case in point is Morah (which apparently means ‘star of the sea’), a 140-seater eastern Mediterranean restaurant by the team behind Byblos restaurant in Toronto and Miami. For the Canadian studio Navigate Design, the greatest challenge was to humanise both the awkward star-shaped space on the 71st and 72nd levels of the JW Marriott Marquis, for now, the world’s tallest hotel, and the literally dizzying 270-degree views from the windows.
The designers drew from a formidable bag of tricks. These include twirling a giant spiral staircase around a cascading chandelier, installing a curvaceous 35-foot bar of satin lacquer and hand-carved wood scallops, and curling banquette lounges against giant mirrors with hand-applied gold leaf and digitally printed mermaid tails.
Meanwhile, the chef Stuart Cameron works on a lively menu of east-meets-west flavours and ingredients, including zucchini flower kibbeh, wood-fired pide flavoured with black truffles, and lamb ribs spiced with dukkah. Acrophobic diners should steer clear of the window tables which offer thrilling views of downtown Dubai, the otherworldly spire of the Burj Khalifa and the huge expanse of the Persian Gulf.