Oh Dubai, what have you done to me. Admittedly this city was never on my radar to visit, but I am so glad the opportunity arose – because I’ve already booked my flights to return. Dubai is a hard place to describe, but as one person pointed out it’s a little like Vegas. A big modern city, dripping in money, tourists and surrounded by nothing but dessert. Dubai likes to do things big too. Huge skyscrapers, home to the tallest building in the world (double the height of London’s Shard) and operates the worlds largest airport. The good thing about everything being so big is that even at its busiest, it never feels crowded.
With all that vastness in mind, we explored Dubai starting from north and down to its most southern stretch, with part of that journey achieved by boat on-board Dubai’s very own, Bateaux Dubai. A 2.5 hour return cruise on the neon illuminated Dubai Creek with a three course meal, live musical entertainment and copious amounts of wine.
The bread basket could have done with a bit of work in terms of taste, but our canapés to start were real palate teasers and washed down well with our first glass of chilled white wine. With Dubai law on alcohol, wine isn’t served until the boat departs – however a welcoming mocktail is served while you’re waiting.
Starters arrived and one of my favourite dishes from our evening was this Canadian lobster with red quinoa salad, pressed blood orange and Champagne gel. Beautifully presented, very fresh and packed with flavour. The creamy burattina with polaine bread, pesto oil, black garlic, chardonnay poached peach & tomato was another gorgeous fresh plate of food and while my photo hadn’t quite captured its cheesy runny goodness (it was a little dark) it was every bit as good as we’d hoped for.
Whats also great is that between courses, you have plenty of time to leave your table and head outside on to the terrace to enjoy the views – with a glass of wine in hand of course. The promenade of Dubai Creek is illuminated by neon lights from the tall buildings and other restaurant dining boats. It’s quite something here at night and an attraction on it own.
With the evening in full swing we tucked into our main courses. Roasted chateaubriand rossini with steamed vegetables, truffle mash, foie gras cromesquis (crispy deep-fried balls) & bordelaise thyme sauce. The meat was actually very good considering the kitchen must be rather tiny and the side of truffled mash and thyme sauce drizzled over it complimented everything beautifully. Reportedly the braised veal cheeks with sweetbreads were also lovely, though my dining companion refused to share any with me.
As the evening progresses, the Dubai Creek seems to fill with even more boats and even more neon lights. Desserts were for me mostly very good, despite one slip up. Vanilla panacotta, laced with Cointreau was served with a lovely home-made raspberry sorbet and dollops of meringue. The mini meringue were unfortunately still a little grainy with sugar, but otherwise I had no complaints. The chocolate fondant on the other hand was stunning and was the perfect way to end our evening.
Overall I was rather surprised by Bateaux Dubai. Expecting the experience to be more of a tourist trap, the food on-board this boat journey was really very good. The menu was extensive and decadent. The views were magnificent and the breaks between courses to enjoy the city views were very welcomed. If you’re in Dubai and wanting to see the city from the water, then I highly recommend dinner here. It’s tasty and its great fun.