We visit new farmers' market and marvel at Rixos Hotel
Yael Mejia verges on militant when it comes to fresh, locally grown produce. It’s fitting, then, that the Baker & Spice founder set about conquering Dubai, one piece at a time. While we’ve mentioned the latest instalment of the Baker & Spice empire in Dubai Marina (see our review, left), we’re pleased she’s also started a Saturday Farmers’ Market outside the café, which will last until summer, when we all melt into puddles on the pavement (or don’t go outside as much). The Marina market takes place every Saturday from 9am until 3pm.
Meanwhile, out on everyone’s favourite tree-shaped peninsula (aka The Palm), the Rixos Hotel made its debut on Thursday March 8, promising a mouthful of eating-out options, including all-day-dining restaurant A la Turca, specialising in Turkish dishes; Roccha for Italian; and Chef’s Steak House (steak, we’re guessing). The hotel (named after Rixos, founder of the city of Perge, Turkey, in case you were wondering. You weren’t? Never mind) will also offer private dining for the antisocial/mega-rich and a variety of bars and discotheques (or nightclubs, as they’re referred to these days). Keep a beady eye on Time Out Dubai.
Other than The Palm, JLT and the Madinat Jumeirah seem to be undergoing a restaurant revival. The latter is already enjoying the benefits of the sleekest Belgian Beer Café to date (which, true to Flemish form, serves a mean waffle) and the latest Rivington Grill, which we’re sussing out as you read this. Higgledy-piggledy JLT, meanwhile, is not only enjoying the Latin American charms of Sweet Brasil (as we astutely pointed out last week), but also Italian restaurant Pompeii, which we hope fares better than the ancient Roman city from which it takes its name.
Not satisfied we’ve dropped enough Greco-Roman, pseudo-classical references into this column, we finish this Insider with a mention of Donatello – no, not the Italian early Renaissance artist and sculptor (or the brainy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle), but the new restaurant-lounge opening in place of Lotus One near Dubai World Trade Centre. From what we’ve seen, the venue will have very little in common with the aesthetic tastes of the aforementioned individual, but it does at least purport to serve the cuisine of his homeland. Look out for a review in future issues.
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Extremely Disappointed Mar 19, 2012 12:02 pm
I visited the newly opened Rixos hotel for mother’s day, along with my mother and her friend. We had two restaurants to choose from, so we decided to go to the steakhouse, ‘Chef!’ as it was described on their website as a place where one will experience a “gastronomic journey”.
It was roughly seven o' clock, the optimum dining time, and the restaurant was empty. This wasn't a concern, due to the recent opening of the hotel, so we walked in and were seated.
Soon, a bewildered looking waitress, who appeared less than impressed at our arrival, distributed the menus. We were bemused at the list of sauces… manure and Madagascar amongst others. When we enquired about the compositions of said sauces, the waitress excused herself to find out. When she arrived she was accompanied by a waiter, whose only purpose was to aid with the translation of Turkish to English.
We ordered a large bottle of water, a glass of red wine, two sirloin steaks (medium rare), a striploin (medium well), three sauces and a range of sides.The wine was brought to the table in a glass, and the water was brought in a half full pitcher. Some time later arrived 6 freshly baked bread rolls on three large breadboards that monopolized the table. They were fairly enjoyable. A while after the arrival of the breadboards the steaks were brought to the table on unjustifiably large plates. They could not fit on the table alongside the breadboards and there was definitely no room for the side dishes. This presented the flummoxed waitress with great difficultly so we suggested that the breadboards could be removed. This was not quite understood, and only two were lifted.
The plates were cold, much like the demeanor of the waitress, and we queried as to which steak was the striploin, and the whereabouts of our sauces and sides. Again, the waitress left and returned with the translator waiter who identified the different steaks. It was at this point that we realised that the cuts of the meat were incorrect. We had been served two striploins, instead of two sirloins that were cooked to the wrong orders. They were all very overcooked. The medium rare was a definite medium-well, and the medium-well was an extremely well done. There was no offer to rectify these issues, and when it was brought to the staffs attention there was nothing done about the matter. In the meantime, we were preoccupied about the location of one of our side dishes, serving spoons and our sauces. When some of the missing dishes finally arrived on the table after our instigation, the steaks and sides were already chilled. The broccoli never arrived. The only warmth on our plates was the sauce, which managed to disguise the coldness of the slabs of meat. If this wasn’t enough mishap, even after slicing off the fat around the edges, every mouthful of steak was accompanied by thick chunks of fat. This made the meal extremely unpleasant, and at the end of the meal our plates looked as though we had barely touched them. Whilst I was still eating, the waitress started to remove the other unfinished meals without even enquiring about how we enjoyed the meal. It was clearly obvious that the food was not even edible. Shortly afterwards the interpreter waiter and the waitress appeared out of the blue with a single glass of wine, uttering no words but exchanging an apologetic look.
If you think our dining experience could not have been interrupted further, think again. A fellow diner had allowed her children to rollerblade up and down the length of the restaurant, throughout the course of our meal.
Overall, the service was sloppy, and the food was unappetizing, barring two sauces. The bill came to a summation of 850 AED, for only three steaks and three sides and a glass of wine. The water was complimentary.
When we left the restaurant and challenged the F&B manager he was uncomfortable although apologetic. There was no offer of compensation at this time, and only thanks for the constructive feedback. After a long discussion it became apparent that the only compensation that was on offer was to return to the restaurant within the week. We did not take him up on this offer.
The whole incident is extremely atypical of Dubai. Never have I experienced such shoddy service and unappealing food in any restaurant of its caliber. Even the McDonald’s staff have a better understanding of their clients needs and requirements, and arguably have better beef.