Villa Beach Restaurant
Last time Time Out visited the Villa Beach Restaurant, which hugs the beach by the bridge to the Burj, our excellent meal was interrupted first by a crooner with a fondness for Eric Clapton, and later in the evening by a JCB clearing up the litter on the sand 3 Reviews
Last time Time Out visited the Villa Beach Restaurant, which hugs the beach by the bridge to the Burj, our excellent meal was interrupted first by a crooner with a fondness for Eric Clapton, and later in the evening by a JCB clearing up the litter on the sand. On this occasion, the balladeer stayed at home – a welcome relief for my friend’s parents, in town for the week – and although the sand shoveller appeared on cue, it refrained from paying our table a close visit. More importantly, the couple paying Dhs1,750 for a VIP meal on the beach, which involved the Villa Beach waiting staff tirelessly trekking across the sand every ten minutes, concluded their romantic extravagances before the JCB set off to work.
Although neither the cleaning nor the serenading materialised, our meal wasn’t without its idiosyncrasies. You rarely get opportunities to haggle in five-star hotels, but our waiter approached our table with three bottles, each carrying price tags, and asked us to bid. Just as our offensively low offer seemed on the verge of an unlikely acceptance, we were told that the souk-style haggle was one big misunderstanding and that we had to pay the price on the label after all, apparently a discount from the original listed price.
My friend started with the ‘tomato experience’, with a glass of clear, pungent and ripe tomato essence; a baked cherry tomato on mozzarella; a vinegary, woodsy terrine, and salsa soaked crostini with cream cheese. Her mother, meanwhile, loved the well worked combination of pan-seared scallops (could have been more tender) with mango relish and lemony hummos, while I inhaled a superbly creamy crab soup. But the final starter was a bit of a mess, a huge portion of romaine lettuce with several rashers of smoked bacon and a side portion of fried squid. It all seemed a little slapdash, mismatched and oversized.
The next round was won by a roasted Chilean sea bass, a huge wedge of flaky fish in a light, creamy mushroom sauce, while my roast lamb, served medium alongside goat’s cheese in a kataifi parcel and a single stuffed pimento pepper, was tender and flavoursome but lukewarm on arrival. A monkfish dish was a little on the dry side and a seafood combination served in a broth of sundried tomatoes and olives was sadly uninteresting.
We shared desserts, a chocolate fondant that was 90 per cent mousse, made with an aniseedy liquor (perhaps ouzo, continuing a vague Greek theme started by the kataifi), along with a deliciously sweet portion of lemon cheesecake with a scoop of candied orange and chocolate ice cream. It was a fairly accomplished meal but we’ve had better at such a high price. But for good quality tourist fare and a fine line in parent impressing, the Villa fits the bill nicely.
The bill (for four)
Pan-seared scallops Dhs98
Tomato experience Dhs78
Romaine lettuce and bacon Dhs82
Crab soup Dhs80
Roasted Chilean seabass Dhs144
Roasted monkfish Dhs140
Seafood meli meli Dhs140
Roasted lamb loin Dhs140
Lemon cheesecake Dhs50
Chocolate raspberry fondant Dhs50
Still water Dhs24
Bottle of white wine Dhs205
Total (including service and tax) Dhs1,231
By Matthew Lee
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