Brilliant beach club atmosphere and fine food let down by substandard service
Time Out Dubai staff
This beautiful resort is a sunseeker and expat’s dream – with golden sands, turquoise waters and chilled-out tunes while you enjoy bites by the beach.
Unfortunately, within minutes of our arrival at super cool beach club Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, we’re surprised to find one part of the British condition we didn’t want transported to the Middle East – long queues.
We must navigate three lines, giving our reservation details at each checkpoint, before finally gaining access to our table (and then only after handing over our ID and credit card).
Those frustrations soon wash away, however, as we’re handed a welcome beverage and sink back into a comfy lounger with views of the blue sea stretching out before us.
The cooler, winter weather leads to a big Saturday turnout, with plenty of families splashing around in the sea, trying out jet skis for speed or having a go at paddleboarding.
There’s a relaxed vibe all round (this is an altogether laid-back affair, if you’re looking for the beach club’s famous parties, they’re held on Fridays) and the DJ plays chilled-out beats as a backdrop.
However, we do get a little longer to soak in those views than we would hope for.
We are told food will be brought to us as we recline on the sands, and that each dish will be explained to us, as the menu changes every week.
As the minutes drift by our hunger pangs increase, and when our food finally arrives, an hour after we take our seats, we can’t wait to tuck in.
The platter is perfect fare for a day out at the beach, featuring light bites to enjoy while relaxing in the sun. The waiter isn’t exactly clear on everything, though, so we’re left scratching our heads and playing a guessing game for some of the dishes.
The sushi notches up top marks – it’s packed full of flavour and with a lovely, soft, fresh texture.
The chicken bao, with tender chunks of meat crammed into a soft bun, also proves a big hit and is quickly devoured.
While the prawns we get are somewhat dry, the tasty minestrone-style pan of shell pasta, veal bacon, potatoes and carrots is decent, as are the feta salad and pesto-drizzled pizza.
While we’re impressed with the quality, the delay-plagued start leaves us feeling we are up against the clock as we order seconds.
Service remains haphazard and the underwhelming desserts are brought to us ahead of our main courses.
This brunch should be great – as the vibe and setting are both spot on – but the timings and pacing of the courses need looking at for us to return in a hurry. Dhs295 (restaurant), Dhs325 (beach/terrace), Dhs550 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel & Resort, off Sheikh Zayed Road, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
The bottom line Beachside vibes, but needs some tweaks.