Situated on the ground floor into the architectural marvel of Opus in Business Bay with the Burj Khalifa as a backdrop, Basko brings yet another layer of vibrance to the culinary experience through its kitschy, 1960's retro vibe. The restaurant has many things going for it - from its bright and plush interiors, the contemporary Mediterranean fanfare, and a seriously impressive cocktail list to boot. We speak to Operations Director, Florencia Fernandez Beschtedt about the culmination of the senses that has gone into what is rapidly becoming one of Dubai's hottest dining spots. Lastly, we delve into the Basko kitchen to source a recipe with a contemporary 'Dubai' twist to the otherwise moreish huevos rotos.
Q: What is the story behind the menu at Basko?
Florencia: The Mediterranean cuisine at Basko is focused on the quality of ingredients at accessible pricing. The legendary award-winning Head Chef Youssef Akiki has designed a contemporary Mediterranean menu inspired by Basque products brought to the table in a casual way. The sonic seasoning comes to life through the elevated retro vibe with a music program that twists nostalgic hits with modern warmth. The signature dishes of Basko have to be the Huevos Rotos, a potato allumette with creamy smoked paprika and harissa sauce with the perfect egg, the Risotto Langoustines, grilled langoustines with a tomato-based risotto, and the Duck thigh confit with veal bacon and potato grenaille.
Q: Where did the chef get his inspiration from? Any key memories that influenced his recipes?
Florencia: Lebanese native Chef Akiki has over 15 years of culinary experience and has worked in the most prominent European institutions, including France and Belgium, and in the Middle East such as Lebanon and the UAE. During this time in his career, Chef Akiki’s cooking became influenced by the many different regions he travelled to. The trip to the Basque country was definitely a game changer and a discovery in many culinary aspects. Along with this, his extensive knowledge and passion for cuisines have inspired him to create these recipes at Basko today.
Q: Why did you pick Business Bay as the location?
Florencia: The founder of Basko, Anthony Zataar always aimed to open his own restaurant. He has multiple Pinterest boards named after several restaurants that never actually came to life. Until one day, he worked on a concept to launch in Beirut in the beautiful area of Saifi, nestled in a Lebanese heritage home. Anthony was about to open the doors to his restaurant in September 2020 when suddenly the most unfortunate and devastating explosion happened that literally wiped out the city. A couple of weeks later, with hopes of changing his family’s mindset, he and his wife decided to come to Dubai and visit her family. Once Anthony set foot in the city, he felt the urge inside to launch a restaurant. He knew the competition was huge and that he had to really create and come up with a concept that was different.
After carrying out extensive research, he came across this little hidden gem under the Opus in Business Bay. Anthony circled back to an inspiration he had worked on previously, a concept that had a beautiful terrace, an open kitchen area and a private speakeasy bar. This location had it all, he knew the dream concept he always wanted would finally come true.
Anthony fell in love with the stunning views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, where the venue was situated, how it was not in the middle of the hustle and bustle and of course, how there was a space upstairs that he could turn into the speakeasy of his dreams.
All images are courtesy of Basko
HUEVOS ROTOS By Chef Youssef Akiki
Butter 40 grams
Shallots 100 grams
Cream 500 grams
Soujouk Spice 12 grams
Xeres Vinegar 15 grams
Piment D’espelette 1 grams
Garlic Powder 3 grams
Smoked Pimenton 3 grams
Paprika 15 grams
Black pepper 2 grams
Salt 8 grams
Agria Potato Allumettes 300 grams
Sauce Pimenton 120 grams
Cecina de leon (Beef cecina) 300 grams
Pimenton 2 grams
Chives 4 grams
Salt 4 grams
Pepper 2 grams
Piment d'espelette 1 gram
● Cut the beef Cecina into fine slices
● Wash the Agria Potato firmly then peel it.
● Cut the potato on the mandoline (allumette shape).
● Soak the potato in cold water, then dry it very well on paper towels.
● Heat the oil to 180°C and fry the potato until golden brown.
● Put the potato on paper towels and add salt to it.
● Heat the pot and add butter to it.
● Add the shallots finely chopped and stir until soft.
● Add the cream until heated.
● Mix all the spices and add them to the cream and stir until mixed.
● In the end, add the xeres vinegar and mix.
● Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce to low.
● Add salt and white vinegar to the water.
● Mix the water to create a vortex.
● Crack an egg in a bowl and then add it to the middle of the vortex.
● Set the timer for 2 to 2 and half minutes.
● Once the egg is done, use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg. Dab with a paper towel to remove excess water.
● Put the potatoes allumettes on a plate.
● Add the slices of beef Cecina around the potatoes.
● Sprinkle some smoked pimenton on top of the potatoes
● Add the hot egg to a small serving pot or any desired plate.
● Cover it with hot pimento sauce.
● Garnish the sauce with smoked pimenton and chopped chives(optional)