I probably sound like a broken recorded, but food in Dubai is serious business and getting a message across that it’s never style over substance has become a bit of passion of mine. While we may have only spent five days in Dubai, every meal we ate during that time was practically faultless. Right from fine-dining, to cheap eats and those places somewhere in between such as JB’s Gastropub. A buzzy restaurant located in the Amwaj Rotana Hotel.
Inside it feels very American, with live sports playing over by the bar and those classic worn thick leather seats and industrial lighting hanging from the ceiling. It’s huge too. With a full bar area, candle lit restaurant crawling all the way around to the kitchen and an outdoor terrace – popular with smokers. Being in Dubai it’s worth remembering you can smoke inside as well as outside. Something I’m not quite a fan of given the UK is now accustomed to a smokeless restaurant, but you quickly get used to it. There’s an enticing cheese selection too, cleverly placed to tempt you while eating.
Menu wise it’s just as gargantuan as the restaurant is. Dishes may sound familiar, but they’re all given a JB’s twist. Even the complimentary home-made bread was excellent. Warm, butter glazed rolls smothered in rosemary with an olive tapenade for spreading and some warm cheesy puffs. One of the bar bites of crunchy fried dill pickles with a ranch dip went down a treat too.
My photos probably doesn’t quite show the sheer size of the portions here, but believe me when I say they’re huge. Burrata with heirloom tomatoes and salsa verde was absolutely gorgeous. Just as good as anything you’d get in an Italian city – surprising considering you’re essentially eating it in the middle of the dessert. It was so good in fact I wondered if it was made on site. Better still was the spinach and halloumi croquettes. Full of flavour, an oozing stringy cheese centre and crunchy golden crumb.
Having spent the last few days before in fine-dining restaurants, our bodies were craving simple, honest food and they serve that here in abundance. A half rack of ribs, smothered in the house sticky glaze was rich and sweet and the meat was falling off the bone with just the touch of my fingers. The side of beans and coleslaw were nice enough but perhaps could have been improved a little. The burger on the other hand didn’t need any improvements. A glazed bun filled with a deep-fried piece of chicken, covered in a thick buffalo hot sauce. A little spicy, but well worth the ten pints of water needed to cool my mouth down.
You probably won’t have any room left for desserts, but you need to make space as this was one of the best things I ate while in Dubai. Named the “Bourbon Black Bottom Pie”, this dessert was made up of a thick graham cracker crust, thick chocolate ganache and topped with a coffee bourbon cream. Words can’t even begin to describe just how satisfying it really was and the perfect ending to our meal.
A little sceptical first about how Dubai could possibly do a gastropub well, we were pleasantly surprised to see they had it spot on. Perhaps a little more American, but the service, the ambience and the food were all of the highest standard – never cutting corners when it comes to quality. While Dubai may be best known for its skyscrapers and super cars – the food is what it’s all about because you’ll never have a bad meal in Dubai or indeed at JB’s Gastropub – fact.