In a unique environment on the private beach of Jumeirah in Dubai, surrounded by some of the most luxury and amazing hotel properties in the world and very close to iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, you can find beach restaurant Shimmers. The incredible vibe in combination with perfectly executed dishes made with the best produce around, turn Shimmers into the perfect spot to completely unwind and to indulge in a classy afternoon or evening under the Dubai sun.
Location & Interior
Shimmers is a beach restaurant, located at the two kilometers long private beach of Jumeirah and is part of the Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, a boutique beachside hotel of the famous luxury hospitality company. We stayed in the Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf hotel and the walk from our summerhouse to the restaurant took less than five minutes.
The setting can best be described as casual chic with amazing views over the Arabian Gulf and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Whitewashed wood and turquoise textiles characterize the design. Rispoli focuses mainly on how the tables look like during service while the design and concept of the restaurant is created by the brand design team of Jumeirah. The result is a gorgeous setting, where you can enjoy the delectable dishes of Roberto and sip some rosé wine in a great environment and all of this with your feet in the sand.
The Chef & the team
The chef of Shimmers is Roberto Rispoli, who was born in the south of Italy about fifteen minutes away from Naples. As many chefs, he got inspired to step in this profession after falling in love with good food and cooking at home. His mother was spending most of her time in the family kitchen and this inspired the young Roberto to aspire a career in this profession. He joined culinary school and during the summer months he gained experience in restaurants outside of his home country. Quite fast he realized that life near his hometown was a bit boring and that he enjoyed trips abroad very much. So, once he got out of school he immediately decided to move abroad. His career started as a commis in the kitchen of LeCoq-Gadby in Rennes, in the north of France. From Rennes he would still move to Prague in Czech Republic, to Germany and to Switzerland before heading back to his home country. Rispoli got the opportunity to join the kitchen team of L’Andana in Tuscany, a restaurant that was part of the Alain Ducasse group and where the kitchen was helmed by Christophe Martin. He started as commis but quite fast was able to work himself into the position of demi chef de partie, chef de partie and then sous chef. With this experience the moment came to run a kitchen for the first time as a chef. That opportunity was given to him in Paris, where he started to helm the kitchen of Il Carpaccio in 2010. Not being able to speak French at that time, the chef still remembers these times to be quite challenging. But it did not stop him from reaching another important milestone for himself but also for Il Carpaccio.
Only three years down the road, the first Michelin star was deserved. This made Il Carpaccio back then the first Italian restaurant in Paris that got this honor. The chef would stay for eight successful years, but decided at a certain point of time that the moment had come for another challenge. He got in touch with the owner of a restaurant group that wanted to open a Greek fine dining restaurant in Paris. Rispoli took up the challenge and one and a half years later, he would reach another accolade. Mavrommatis became the first Greek restaurant in Europe with a Michelin star. At the same time, Roberto also opened his own restaurant concept in Paris together with a friend. They started a collaboration with a farmer from Sicily. The farmer grows wheat, which Rispoli and his business partner turn into flour in Paris. That flour is then the base for homemade pasta that they serve in their small restaurant. Guests get a decent plate of pasta created in a sustainable way and at a correct price. The concept is still existing today. While Rispoli was behind the stove of Mavrommatis and was at the same time running his small pasta restaurant, he was contacted by a former colleague who had joined Jumeirah in Dubai and who proposed him to also join them and to move to the desert state. Roberto decided to do a testing and experienced his visit to Dubai as such a memorable happening, that he decided to take up the role. He became responsible for Shimmers and got the opportunity to mold the concept of the restaurant as it is today.
As the restaurant operations at Shimmers never stop during the day, a big kitchen team is required. Rispoli is surrounded by twenty-one chefs and together they realize seven hundred covers per day. The team is international and many of the people working in the team moved to Dubai for this experience, while their families remained in their home country. This creates a special atmosphere where the team really becomes like a big family. This is one of the elements Rispoli is enjoying most in his current role.
While sitting at the beach, probably you don’t expect too complicated dishes. Rispoli understood that perfectly well and focuses in his cooking style strongly on the products and their taste. Simplicity in the visuals but complexity in the taste summarizes very well the kind of food you can expect here. The chef strives to strengthen the natural taste of the products while respecting them as much as possible. There are quite some Italian, Greek, or more generalized Mediterranean influences visible in every plate but Roberto is clearly applying the traditional cooking techniques he learned from French chefs and that works very well. If you rely strongly on the product, the quality obviously needs to be high and at Shimmers they succeed very well in guaranteeing that. Sourcing is a combination between import where necessary and local sourcing where possible. This approach does not come by coincidence. Rispoli believes sustainability is important. Seabass is flown in, but seabream, chicken and tomatoes are found at local farmers and suppliers in Dubai. The chef sees his profession as a drive to be an example in striving towards sustainable behavior. An approach that perfectly fits Jumeirah’s corporate philosophy with regards to this topic.
Even though the cooking style of Rispoli is clearly appreciated by guests staying in one of the Jumeirah properties, also clientele outside of the hotels discovered this gem on the beach. Eighty percent of the people enjoying Shimmers consist out of patrons who don’t stay in the hotels and come to Madinat to enjoy the great vibe at the private beach and to indulge in Rispoli’s food.
Some of the dishes we tried :
Even though it must not always be easy to work outside in the Dubai sun completely suited up, the service team at Shimmers does not seem to feel hindered by it in any way. They look stunning and perfectly adapted to the classy vibe of the restaurant. Taking into consideration its location at the beach, you can expect a more casual atmosphere, but still the service level is top notch, flawless and the team is clearly paying attention to every detail. The service team is international with people from Europe, but also from Dubai and the surrounding countries.
We can imagine many reasons why a visit to the private beach of Jumeirah makes absolute sense. Since we experienced Shimmers, an additional one was added to an already long list. The atmosphere at this casual chic beach restaurant is simply amazing. Beautiful people, fabulous food, delectable wines and the stunning views over the Arabian Gulf and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, make this a must do for everyone visiting Dubai. Chef Rispoli makes sure that also your tastebuds get the attention they deserve, while the rest of you is unwinding in this great hotspot.