Inside Dubai’s most exclusive private dining club

As the world’s leading private dining club launches in Dubai, EDGAR gladly accepts its invitation…

Matthew Priest February 22, 2015

Arguably my most memorable dining experience was a rather unexpected one. I was at a particularly tedious event in London one evening, when I began chatting to two men. One was a well known, and highly respected chef, the other ran a private concierge service.

After bonding over how unimpressed with the soiree’s food options – or lack there of – we agreed to show each other our favourite off-the-beaten-track spots. The night unravelled with trips crisscrossing the city, stopping off at street food vendors in Chinatown, stumbling out of an unmarked restaurant in Charing Cross, before ending up at a hastily set up table within a closed Michelin-starred kitchen.

Full disclosure, I have told that anecdote several times in polite company, and it again gets an airing around a table of strangers at the exceedingly elegant private dining room at one of Dubai’s most in-demand restaurants, La Serre.

The story is met with amusement and polite applause, before the next person recounts her most memorable experience. The table’s diners soon shift their attention to donning their cutlery and greedily ogling chef Izu Ani’s starters of tart flambé, calamari frites, burrata and sea bream ceviche that arrive. Instantly, a flurry of plate passing commences, accompanied by flawless manners and introductory niceties.The Nth Degree Club Dubai.

One thing becomes immediately clear, the guests invited to this champagne-ladened private gathering are a fine hand-picked collection of like-minded people, from the CEO of a financial law firm, to the former head of the Michelin Restaurant guide. To my right, sits the new Regional Manager of the Nth Degree Club, the lovely India Abadee. It is at her behest that we have all been invited here to break bread at the inaugural dinner for the newly launched branch of the exclusive private dinning club.

Started in London by the President of the Restaurant Association of Great Britain, Robert Walton MBE, the Nth Degree Club was set up to bring influential people together to bond and network over their love of food, served in exclusive bespoke settings in the country’s most celebrated restaurants. “We had no doubt that Dubai would be the first city that we would expand to after London,” Abadee says to me while generously offering me the last helping of the seabass cerviche. 

“It has the right vibe, the right clientele and the restaurant scene is booming with creativity.” She is right. Considering that the concept of the Nth Degree revolves around a diverse calendar of events held in hard-to-access dining venues – including tastings, drinks soirees, annual sporting events – it has targeted its sights right at Dubai’s sweet spot. 

Since it launched in November last year, the Dubai chapter of Nth Degree has hosted a series of events at some of the city’s finest locations. Following the evening at La Serre, further private dinners were held at Zeta and at the newly opened Mercury Lounge at the Four Seasons; each time the guestlist consisting of the city’s movers and shakers across a range of industries.

As you would expect, access to such a club is also very restricted with a cap of just 500 members, and a waiting list consisting of people who are not accustomed to being told to wait their turn.

This month, membership across Dubai has been opened, and the competition for places is expected to be fierce. So, whether it’s for networking reasons, or bonding over a love of food, it won’t be long before people’s stories of their most memorable dinning experience will begin with: “I was at the Nth Degree…”

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