Ordinarily, What’s On prefers to wait a little while for a new opening to settle in before we come to review it. Often there are kinks to work through, staff to onboard and finishing touches to be made that can take a week or two before a venue is really ready. But with SAN Beach we just couldn’t wait.
The hype around the opening was becoming too much to handle, and our anticipation to see the finished product in all its glory became so strong that we booked in for a beach day on its second day of operation. Spoiler alert: you would never have known.
Derived from the team that brought you Taverna, The Meat Co, Clay and many more of Dubai’s hot concepts, SAN is the first beach club from FoodFund International (FFI). And boy did they pull out all the stops. The attention to detail is out of the world; from the Maldives-imported sand (that doesn’t stick to your wet feet), to the mattress-like sun beds, the sturdy-yet-chic cabanas, the submerged marble pool bar… we could go on.
The large space can be found at the top end of Palm West Beach, just past Fairmont The Palm in Nakheel’s new development, The Club. There’s both an indoor restaurant and two levels of beach – the top part has an infinity pool, alfresco tables, a pool bar, the DJ booth and luxury cabanas; while the lower area extends on from the rest of West Beach and offers more sun loungers and luxury beach villas that house up to six guests.
Inside, a large open-plan restaurant invites guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving up quality Mediterranean dishes from the open kitchen. The menu is the same on both the beach and restaurant, so on this occasion we decide to stay by the pool.
Dishes are fairly priced but we would have loved slightly bigger portions, the truffle pizza (Dhs120) although delicious, was polished off in just a few bites. A more filling option is the prawn tempura maki (Dhs95) which arrived beautifully presented with its own miniature board of freshly grated wasabi. The sushi itself was delightfully flavourful with extra crunch from the panko fried prawns.
A special mention has to be given to the crockery. Not something we normally call upon, but SAN’s plates, bowls and cups are all unique and artfully designed pieces of pottery (see: attention to detail). We also ate with Bugatti-branded knives and forks, which felt super premium.
Between dipping into the temperature controlled infinity pool, the submerged pool bar, and chilling under a parasol, we felt undeniably more relaxed by the end of the day than when we’d arrived. Attentive staff made the experience seamless and enjoyable, leaving us to focus only on remembering to apply SPF.
As a whole, the experience felt elevated and considered and we left having already decided when we will return. If that’s not a sign of a brilliant day out, we don’t know what is.