Sunday, February 6, 2011
In a nutshell: very good food but disappointing layout of restaurant and lack of service.
I was really looking forward to visiting the newly refurbished Emirates Golf Club clubhouse but was left sadly disappointed. The quality of the work was of an excellent standard but the whole 'modern-minimimalist-open spaces' design left Simon and I cold - literally as well as metaphorically. The food that was served was very good but the service was not the greatest - it looked like there was garlic on my salad and I asked the waiter to check with the chef...he never bothered to come back. After a lot of sniffing I finally decided it was garlic-free and safe to eat. I would go back since the meal itself was good and not too expensive but I had high hopes that this would knock the socks off our experience at Lake View, Dubai Creek Club - sadly it didn't.
Downstairs from the entrance, you arrive into a huge echo-y empty area where tables from outside had been set up to cope with the high number of guests. It was a very dusty day so a lot of people didn't want to sit outside, however the automatic sliding doors to go outside kept opening to let all the dust and wind into the building. If you're going to spend millions on a refurb, surely you would put in double doors to prevent sand blowing in and to keep the heat of summer out? The interior of the Spike Bar didn't look very much different to previously: small, dark and cramped. The area we sat in the 'lobby' could have easily been incorporated into the Spike Bar to double its size instead of creating an empty space which seemed such a waste. The lobby area had no curtains, carpets or pictures to absorb sound so it was noisy and was also quite cold with the AC - when we got home Simon actually put a jumper on to warm himself up! The strangest thing I found was that the ladies' toilets were down the service corridor past the kitchen and stores - very weird indeed. It is really such a shame, I'm just happy I'm not a member thinking about how my extortionate annual membership has been wasted.
As I mentioned above, the food itself was well-presented and very flavoursome. My prawn salad had an interesting mix of lettuce leaves, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber and a generous number of prawns. Simon's club sandwich was fairly standard but tasty none-the-less. Our friends had a Murgh Tikka and Pad Thai. The chicken tikka was nicely presented with rice, naan bread, a poppadum and some pickled vegetables - although Louissa would have liked it to be a little more spicy than it was. The pad thai looked delicious with lots of fresh vegetables, noodles, chicken, prawns, tofu and egg - I think that is what I will order on any future visit. Although my salad was more than sufficient for a main course, it did leave me with enough room for dessert...luckily because the fruit pavlova really was fantastic. The meringue was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside, just as it should be. In terms of value for money, the ECG Spike Bar is a definite winner with all our dishes in the Dhs 55-65 range so it is certainly worth a visit.
Our next visit will be to Le Classique, ECG's fine dining restaurant, as this has always ranked as my favourite restaurant in Dubai. We had a quick look at the new menu and were shocked to see that the prices seem about 50% higher than in the past, so I think that will have to be a special occasion visit and I'll have my fingers crossed that the food is still as amazing as it used to be.
Labels: Dubai restaurant reviews - 4/5