BB Social


BB Social is a community-centric restaurant and lounge in DIFC. Featuring a globally-inpired menu rammed with bites, bao, bowls, and BBQ dishes – it's perfectly designed for the average DIFC dweller that skipped lunch because they had a conference call with an overseas client. Radiant with a list of creative cocktails, it's a social hub that has been creeping onto every foodie's radar.

BB Social is one of the popular kids in Dubai's dining scene. Do as you would in high school at the cool kid's table in the lunchroom and book yourself a table in advance. Reservation was a slick process. I rang up BB Social, two rings and three minutes later, my table was confirmed. Moments after the call ended, my inbox pinged with a stylishly designed confirmation email.

Following suit with the booking process, parking is slick too. Roll up to the Gate Village's threshold and the valet takes care of the rest. Remember to get your ticket stamped after dinner.

Greeting and seating
We were greeted by an enthusiastic trio of welcome staff. After confirming our reservation, we were guided through a dizzying maze of lounge areas and down an eternal spiral of stairs. Think Alice in Wonderland when she dives face-first into the rabbit hole. We arrived at our cozy table on the garden terrace, embellished with plates and glasses, glowing under candlelight.

Knowledge and service of the waiter
Our waiter was cool, calm, and collected. I say this because he had every reason to be the exact opposite. We were seated on the garden terrace which also seated about 15 other guests. All these people, tables, order, order changes, dietary restrictions, and just one waiter to serve them all.

Our order
Tapas-style and designed to share, we sampled all three Bs – bao, bowl, and BBQ. Dinner was a spread of cauliflower popcorn, crispy glazed sprouts, jackfruit bao, tofu ramen, crispy leaf potato, super freekeh, a Masala Martini, and a Sweet Potato Pie cocktail.

Every feast starts with a single bite, so that's how we decided to commence. Taking the waiter up on his recommendation, we opted for the famous cauliflower popcorn. Arriving with a truffle dip on the side, the secret to this dish is all in the sauce. Joining the sat-fat party was the crispy glazed sprouts – brussel sprouts divided into individual leaves and fried. Having eaten my body weight in Christmas dinners, I am and will always be team baked brussels.

Next up, the jackfruit bao. BB Social is literally, without a hint of exaggeration, the only place I've ever found a vegetarian bao that goes beyond a mushroom or sweet tater filling. Jackfruit is the meat replacement of the times and I'm glad the chef's jumped on the bandwagon! The succulent dish oozed deep BBQ notes. An absolute banger, and a dream substitute for pulled pork buns.

While designed to share, the tofu ramen's portion was ideal for one. Don't ignore the tiny dish of add-ons that come with your bowl, they're your friends. Under all the fluff of mint, lime, and chili slices, there's a sprinkle of spices your broth will thank you for. Slurping my way to the bottom of the bowl, I saved the best for last – the cured soft boiled egg. And boy, was it worth it.

We wrapped up our meal with the crispy leaf potato and super freekeh. We expected anything from a salad of potato leaves to glorified french fries when we ordered the crispy leaf potato. What arrived was essentially gratin dauphinois*. Deceptively small but intensely filling. The super freekeh was a playfully sweet and sour medley of freekeh on a mound of smokey eggplant. 

Dessert was a couple of cocktails. The Masala Martini owes its exotic title to its Indian spice-infused maple syrup and the Sweet Potato Pie owes its Thanksgiving vibes to its sweet potato cordial. Interesting and packed with a subtle punch, we'll be lurking back for more.

*Gratin Dauphinois – French dish of sliced potatoes baked in cream or milk.

Courtesy extended during the meal
Our waiter swung in mid-meal to ensure our dinner was sailing smoothly.

Buzzing! With bao and ramen on the menu, I expected an explosion of Japanese oddities paired with blinding neon lights and futuristic electro music. I was surprised by the rustic French boathouse décor coupled with disco music. At a point, it felt like everyone at DIFC was there with almost every table on the terrace packed. That's good going for a sleepy Tuesday evening.

Our bao, bowl, BBQ, and bevvies racked up a bill of 420 dirhams for two.

Overall, would you return?
Perhaps for a round of drinks that slips into a few drunken nibbles.

Chef's recommendations
Chicken Bang Bang bao, butter fish, cauliflower popcorn, wagyu ramen, and baonut.