Overpriced and underwhelming spot on The Palm
In London it’s north versus south; in the US it’s east coast versus west; and now The Palm’s very own divide seems to be shaping up nicely: the West Crescent is populated by the opulent One&Only and Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, while the East Crescent has nothing to speak of other than the Rixos Hotel. Luckily, the hotel’s Eastern-bloc aesthetics aren’t quite as obtuse when the sun sets and the building is illuminated with cleverly placed blue lights (they do like a blue light in Dubai, I’ve noticed).
Chef’s Steak House resembles a Connery-era Bond villain’s lair, complete with animal-skin rugs and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto the hotel’s private beach. We took a table with a view (there wasn’t a great deal else to look at because the rest of the expansive two-week-old restaurant was empty) before casting our gaze across the offerings on the menu.
What the Rixos lacked in aesthetic opulence, it made up for in price: there wasn’t one starter priced at less than Dhs100 – one seafood platter was Dhs700. Looking over to the mains, the cheapest steak, the Black Angus, was Dhs250; even condiments such as mustard and tartare sauce couldn’t escape the disproportionate pricing (they cost Dhs10 each). I’d already lost my appetite. Still, we’d come here to eat, so I reluctantly ordered the ‘Rortabello’ mushroom (an intentional typo, I hoped, though I couldn’t work out why), while my date ordered the ‘fried seafood delight’ (what kind of seafood delight, we weren’t sure; the menu wasn’t giving anything away).
As our waiter’s footsteps echoed into the distance, my date and I tore into our bread before giving one another an apprehensive glance – the rolls were cold and verging on stale. Not even the 20 minutes it took for our starters to arrive could induce us to take more than one, dry bite.
The starters themselves provided little by way of improvement. My date’s mystery seafood dish consisted of four neatly presented scallops sat on a pea purée. They were undeniably pretty, but unforgivably lukewarm, which made us wonder why we’d waited so long for them to arrive. My handsomely presented tower of portobello mushrooms, peppers and courgettes were mildly more acceptable in terms of taste and temperature, but when I remembered I was paying Dhs110 for the privilege, the taste became all the more sour.
Our dishes were quickly cleared and replaced almost immediately by our mains: a Black Angus sirloin for my date, while I ordered the surf and turf (two large king prawns sat atop a tenderloin). Each order was embellished by a small mound of chutney, though that was the only complimentary condiment on offer, while additional sustenance was provided in the form of a (small) side of tasty potato gratin and some rather flaccid broccoli. Admittedly, both steaks were nicely prepared, but still didn’t come close to the quality of most Dubai steakhouses, despite costing more than many cuts on offer elsewhere.
It should be noted that we visited Chef’s Steak House soon after it had opened, but considering we were the only guests in the restaurant, we weren’t exactly imposing on the kitchen staff. Besides, if Chef’s Steak House is going to charge sky-high prices, it deserves to be shot down. Admittedly, service and food might improve in time, but unless the prices on the menu are given some serious consideration (ie they’re cut drastically), then west is still best when it comes to dining on the Palm Jumeirah’s Crescent.The bill (for two)
1x ‘Rortabello’ grati
Dhs110 1x Fried seafood delight
Dhs105 1x Angus beef
Dhs230 1x Prawns
Dhs300 1x Potato gratin
Dhs30 1x Water
Dhs35 Total (excluding service)
By Oliver Robinson
10 April 2012
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