There wasn’t a single moment during my visit to Monte Carlo Stars when I knew what to make of the place. Seemingly large, but oddly proportioned, on first sight this heavily sports-inspired eatery seemed to stretch along a large water-side expanse of the Marina: the reception was so large and the ceilings so high, I thought the restaurant must be epic. Strangely, the reception seemed to take up almost as much space as the dining room, and the ceilings appeared to be as high as the restaurant was wide.
My friend and I were led down a long, winding dining space, passing all manner of themed entertainment. First was the series of pinball machines and pachinko games, followed by a brightly lit, high-tech room complete with ball pit, mirrors, crash mats and all manner of who- knows-what to keep kids entertained. Crucially, this child-friendly space was also adult-friendly: it was enclosed behind a heavy glass door, and little sound seemed to emanate from it.
We continued onwards into one of the most peculiar bars I’ve ever seen, with plenty of full-on concept decor. The chairs looked as though they’d been ripped from a driving-arcade game, and there were crash barriers around the bar. Still not at our seats, we walked through a narrow strip past the open kitchen, and finally into a fairly modest-sized dining room. It contained very few ‘normal’ tables; the space was occupied primarily by overwhelmingly acid-bright booths, each inspired by a different sport, with signed kit from presumably superstar sportsmen everywhere you looked. We plumped for an orange booth, in what I assumed had something to do with Formula 1.
The food was a fairly standard fast-food affair. The ‘tapas’ selection was a mismatched name for a platter that offered a selection of American-style fried everything, from onions to jalapenos to mozzarella. It all satisfied our hunger, but wasn’t outstanding.
The burger appeared smothered in cheese that was as orange as the booth in which we were sitting. Aside from that, it was a stock pub-burger: nothing to cry or laugh about. The chicken tacos actually looked a better bet, but my friend could hardly face them – perhaps it was all those fried snacks. The food wasn’t awful, but it was fairly mediocre.
To be honest, the venue wasn’t really a place for two women with absolutely no interest in any sport of any kind at all. I did, however, know who Jenson Button was (I spotted his signed cap adorning the wall). The sports theme was so integral to this restaurant’s identity that the menu even offered descriptions such as ‘extra innings’ for side dishes, and ‘finish line’ for desserts. At first I assumed a group of guys would have a rowdy time of it here, until I realised the venue is unlicensed. It was, however, very family-friendly, and I’d imagine that a 12-year-old boy would be infinitely happier here than his older counterparts.
The bill (for two) 1x Tapas Dhs55 1x Bacon cheeseburger Dhs52 1x Chicken tacos Dhs49 1x Frozen virgin daiquiri Dhs25 1x Shirley Temple Dhs15 1x Large water Dhs12 1x Double espresso Dhs15 Total (excluding service) Dhs223
Monte Carlo Stars