Chef Jason Atherton discusses the opening of his new restaurant Row on 45 in Dubai, which features exquisite interior design by LW Design.
By Roma Arora
What inspired acclaimed chef Jason Atherton to open the Row on 45 in Dubai?
It has always been our goal to operate a modest boutique restaurant where we can truly express ourselves. Row on 45 provided me with a blank canvas on which to combine my global experience with the rich culture of Dubai. Here, I can offer an extravagant tasting menu with some of the greatest delicacies on the planet, as well as a lovely wine pairing. Dubai’s ethos of innovation and embracing of luxury perfectly matches with my goals for Row on 45. The venue epitomises refinement and elegance, and I wanted to create a setting that oozes sophistication while also providing a sense of comfort and familiarity.
How does Row on 45 differ from the other dining concepts in the region?
I hope we stand out from the crowd by reimagining the fine dining experience and challenging ourselves to greater heights. Row on 45 sets itself apart with its fusion of contemporary fine dining and welcoming ambiance. My vision for this space commands that only the finest ingredients from around the world be used to create a bespoke 17-course menu, unlike anything you’ve experienced before. The venue’s global culinary approach, creative reinterpretations of dishes, meticulous attention to detail, and cultural fusion resonate uniquely in Dubai’s diverse dining scene.
Could you elaborate on the Row on 45 design concept to complement the great service and personalised dining experience?
The design was inspired by the idea of entering a celebrated friend’s high-end London penthouse, where they might welcome you into their home and cook for you. The restaurant is themed around the concept of a house, with a welcoming ambiance that delights and warms you. The Champagne Lounge has a residential-style bar and the finest Champagne collection. The state-of-the-art show kitchen is the main stage, whilst satirical artworks add a touch of humour. The pièce de résistance is the Chef’s Library, the perfect setting where the masterpiece reaches its crescendo – beckoning you to reflect and recollect.
Could you shed some insight on the menu’s cuisine and beverages?
The opulent 17-course Haute cuisine tasting menu is inspired by my life’s work thus far. Here, I showcase a peek into the recipes I have worked with and the relationship I have had with food and ingredients. The menu is inspired by over 37 years of working with and owning Michelin-starred venues and working alongside some of the world’s greatest chefs.
You’ve travelled the globe over. How has travelling influenced your overall cooking style and choice of flavours?
I constantly use my travels as inspiration for new menu ideas and service standards of what I have experienced as I travel the globe. It has allowed me to dive into diverse culinary cultures, exploring new flavours, techniques, and ingredients that each region offers. I’ve learned to appreciate the nuances of various cuisines and incorporate them into my creations, resulting in a fusion of global influences that define my culinary identity.
Do you find it challenging to constantly create?
No, I consider it an honour to be creative, and it has allowed me to continually push the boundaries in order to create bold cuisines and ways to draw clients back for new experiences. The culinary scene is always changing, and diners want freshness and innovation, which Row on 45 provides. The joy of creating something one-of-a-kind and captivating makes the creative process extremely fulfilling.
How do you experiment with different ingredients and manage to innovate in the culinary world year after year?
I’m constantly grateful to discover new ingredients and techniques to improve our food and service for our visitors, and it keeps me motivated to come to work every day and strive to be better than the day before. I am constantly inspired by both ancient and new generations of cooks, which keeps me motivated to keep moving forward.
What have been some of the key milestones in your career?
Reflecting on my journey, several key milestones stand out. The opening of my first restaurant, “Pollen Street Social,” marked a pivotal moment, earning a Michelin star within the first six months of operation was an honour. The expansion of my restaurant group on a global scale brought both challenges and immense satisfaction. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with great partners such as The Grosvenor House Dubai on my latest project for Row on 45 and it has given me insight into different markets and dining styles. Additionally, being awarded Michelin stars across multiple establishments was a testament to the dedication of my team and the creativity we pour into each dish and dining experience. These milestones have contributed to shaping my career and culinary philosophy.