Brilliant 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.
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 beats as a backdrop.
We are told food will be brought to us as we recline on the sand, and that each dish will be explained, 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 gets top marks – it’s packed full of flavour, with a lovely, soft, fresh texture.
The chicken bao, with tender chunks of meat crammed into a soft bun, is also a big hit. While the prawns 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 delayed start leaves us feeling 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 – the vibe and setting are both spot on – but the timings and pacing of courses need fixing for us to return in a hurry. Dhs310 (restaurant), Dhs340 (beach/terrace), Dhs580 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm, 4pm-6.30pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel & Resort, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
The bottom line Cool vibes, but needs some tweaks.