When you see Dubai on the internet it’s marketed in one way and always. Huge skyscrapers, adrenaline racing experiences, shopping and exotic foods. While they’re all true and accurate, there is another side to Dubai where only the latter is applicable – at least if you want it to be.
Approximately 30 minutes south in a taxi from the main bustling centre of Dubai, a slightly lesser known area awaits called Jebel Ali. Mostly desert, it’s also home to an oasis resort, blanketed in lush greenery, tropical trees, wildlife and of course a little luxury. Its name – JA Palm Tree Court. Part of the adjoining JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort – this is a side of Dubai I never knew existed. While I’ve revealed all about this hideaway separately, its food deserved its own article – because there is a lot of it.
Home to a total of ten restaurants and five bars, the hotel shares some of these alongside the adjoining JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort – with La Fontana and White Orchid exclusive to JA Palm Tree Court. On arrival to the hotel we dropped off our bags, checked into our room and headed straight for a light lunch at Captain’s Restaurant. A beachfront bar and restaurant with a colorful Jamaican BBQ theme.
Trying to save ourselves for dinner we ordered some of the light bites and sharers. Perfectly cooked golden crumb coated rings of calamari with dipping sauces and a vibrant middle eastern platter – filled with dips, salads, breads and meat filled pastries. Saving the best till last was the prawns covered in a thick kataifi style pastry. Very delicious and very dangerous to get carried away with ordering a second helping of.
After lunch we spent the afternoon relaxing by the gorgeous pool bar with the water warmed to a snuggly luke warm temperature which was especially welcomed as while 25 degrees outside temperature, it feels rather more chilly when getting out of the water. Again two bars can be enjoyed. The first is the quieter of the two, secluded in JA Palm Tree Court and the second an atmospheric beach bar with infinity pool and jets of water to cool you down. If you can’t decide then switch between the two. The most important thing is they both whip up some rather delicious cocktails!
For dinner that evening we left the hotel and took a taxi north of Dubai to Dubai Creek – home to Bateaux Dubai. Also operated by the hotel, this evening cruise offers a 2.5 hour cruise up and down the neon illuminated Dubai Creek and serves an array of delicious dishes. Favourites were the Canadian lobster salad to start and the oozing centre chocolate fondant. Read all about my experience onboard Bateaux Dubai.
Breakfast the next day is held in the hotels all day dining restaurant, La Fontana and offers a buffet spread of dreams. There’s even a pork section – something you don’t see much of in Dubai. Fresh fruits and salads, an astonishing cheese selection from around the globe, hams, cereals, yogurt, hot dishes, a bespoke cooking station and my favourite – a whole Parmesan wheel to scoop from until your cheesy heart is content. The beetroot home-cured salmon was excellent too and very fresh.
More food you say? Well they don’t call me The Foodaholic for no reason. Not to mention it was all in the name of research. Trying food from each corner of this resort to help you find that perfect place to stay when in Dubai. Located just a few minutes walk from the hotel is the resorts very own newly refurbished golf course. Complete with nine holes, this championship standard course was designed by Peter Harradine and opened in 1998 and has hosted some of the world’s best players. It’s also home to the Sports Cafe. Located looking out over the resort marina you can delve into a light bites menu which is all home-made. Deep-fried calamari, chicken makhani with poppadom and to finish a delicious cheesecake with the texture of mousse. Rather unusual but every bit delicious. A great place to eat not just after a game of golf but if staying at the hotel. It’s also the quietest restaurant too so perfect for relaxing.
As the sun sets the whole resort lights up and all you can hear is the gentle crashing of the waves and island birds – something you’ll see in abundance here. Including the rather familiar and mischievous crows! Dinner on our last evening was at the hotels fine dining restaurant, White Orchid. A fusion menu along with a traditional teppanyaki table where we spent our evening. Enjoying a cocktail on the terrace before sitting down to dinner.
We started our meal with an incredible homemade soup, laced with lemongrass, chill and everything vibrant. It was accompanied by a huge single tempura coated prawn which was cooked to utter perfection. Along with some warm edamame.
A starter of freshly cooked tuna was sizzled on the teppanyaki table and topped with a rather generous portion of Beluga caviar. Equally as tantalising was the rolls of wagyu beef, smothered in the chefs special sauce. They both went beautifully with our fragrant white wine pairing.
Best part of our evening meal was of course the main teppanyaki event – full of fire and theatrics. Our teppanyaki master cooked us up a delicious array of meats, fish and crustacean. All to your own personal requests. The rice was fried on the grill and even the vegetables were faultless and again everything was seasoned and flavoured throughout the cooking process. Finally our chefs put the finishing touches to the plate with a few dollops of bitter lemon puree and a sweet jus which married everything together.
Finishing up on dessert of oranges, filled with vanilla yogurt and slices of warm pineapple drenched in a sugary citrus sauce, we had one more drink in the bar to watch the evenings live singing performance before heading off to bed and dreaming all about our dinner.
Dubai really was a fantastic experience for me and one I can’t wait to pursue more of, but more importantly – I’m so glad that I got to visit JA Palm Tree Court. Nestled away in the desert stretch of Jebel Ali, next to Dubai’s up and coming second largest Palm – this really is a retreat like no other. If you’re already sold by the food, then make sure you read my piece on the resort. You’ll be booking flights before you know it.
NB: I was invited to review and my stay was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.