Ranches Restaurant and Bar
Arabian Ranches seems an unlikely location for a British-style provincial hotel bar. Discuss this article
Dubai Food Festival special
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Arabian Ranches seems an unlikely location for a British-style provincial hotel bar. It’s all polo fields, golf buggies, Truman Show-esque streets of identical houses and empty pavements, with the sand creeping back in wherever it can. But the bar and restaurant at the newly opened Desert Course clubhouse has a distinctly small-town feel. Beyond the grandeur of the reception area, the gleaming floors and exquisite furniture give way to swirly carpet and plush chairs. With the likes of Daydream Believer, Sealed With A Kiss and some (thankfully long-forgotten) Cilla Black hits playing in the background, the place is only missing a couple of flashing slot machines in the corner.
However, the menu comes as a very pleasant surprise. Leafing through it, you’ll find pies, sandwiches and other essential pub grub, but these are tucked away behind several well-filled pages of true restaurant fare. From the starter list, the excellent oriental bites come immaculately presented in a woven, leaf-lined basket. The chicken sio-mai, shrimp dumplings and seafood wontons are all generously loaded with full-flavoured, meaty fillings, while the inevitable oiliness of crisp spring rolls is offset by the crunchy vegetables inside. The mains, unfortunately, are more bog standard. The rib-eye steak can be a little overfatty and the pepper sauce is an excessively rich gravy in which few peppercorns make an impression. The Desert Course combo, with beef, chicken and prawns in fried rice, is essentially special fried rice lifted slightly above the local Chinese takeaway equivalent by the addition of some finely sliced spring onions.
Don’t expect dessert to be a memorable event, the warm apple pie and blueberry cheesecake are satisfactory, but not remarkable. There are undeniably better, similarly-priced restaurants within the city itself, but if you happen to be looking at property, playing a round of golf or just passing on the Emirates Road, treat yourself to at least a starter and a glass of Pimms.
By Time Out Dubai
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Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.