Bo House Café
Bohemian-style restaurant on the JBR Walk 21 Reviews
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First things first: those wondering about the meaning of the ‘Bo’ in Bo House should know it’s an abbreviation of ‘bohemian’ – nothing to do with a word oft-used by UK grime MCs. I mention this because it explains why the restaurant has adopted a jaunty, jolly, flowery aesthetic. Though this certainly looks fun, it’s more like something from the opening credits to a trippy ’70s kids’ show than anything truly bohemian.
I only make a big thing about this ‘bohemian’ vibe because the restaurant does – nonsensical statements about ‘freedom’ and ‘the wind’ are emblazoned across the menu as if to suggest that Bo House is something more than a place that serves up surf, turf and snacks. It isn’t.
This said, my initial misgivings partially subsided once I stepped out onto the outdoor deck at the back of the restaurant – very nice, even if you do have to look beyond a big car park to catch a glimpse of the sea. Here, lunch can be taken on couches, under big colourful umbrellas, or at smaller, more intimate tables.
Maybe I had let Bo House’s pretensions irk me a little too easily – after all, I’d rushed to all the aforementioned judgments without even tasting the food. But before I had chance to reprimand myself, a glance at the menu was enough to let my doubts creep back. For all Bo House’s purported alternative leanings, the mainstream menu consisted only of old favourites – burgers, salads, sandwiches and steaks – but nothing that jumped out at us other than the price tag (Dhs27 for garlic bread, anyone?). For our starters, we ordered the calamari with jalapeños, the lamb and chicken satay, and a couple of milkshakes to mull over until our order arrived. I opted for the chocolate, which wasn’t so much a shake as a tall glass of rich, dark ice cream sprinkled with marshmallows – heaven for some, I’m sure, but not the most sensible precursor to a big meal. My date’s Very Berry shake, on the other hand, was pretty good – fresh, fruity and creamy – and left enough room to for the starters, which arrived soon after we drained our glasses.
This said, neither starter warranted too much of our attention. While the jalapeños gave the dish a nice kick, they didn’t hide the fact that the calamari itself was tasteless and tough We did our best to douse each morsel in the accompanying tartare sauce, but it wasn’t enough. The dish was ultimately dry and uninspiring. Likewise, the chicken and beef satay skewers did little to ignite the imagination or the taste buds – the meat was chewy and of poor quality.
Then followed the mains, which garnered similar disappointment to the starters. The veal escalope was suffocated in dry breadcrumbs, the accompanying tomato sauce was disparate and rather tasteless, while the tagliatelle upon which it was served was flaccid. The grilled half boneless chicken was a generous specimen, but other than the garlic sauce, it was bland and ultimately unimaginative. It tasted okay, but this simple dish could have been prepared better at home. The fries, meanwhile, were reminiscent of oven chips.
Had I ordered a simple burger, or perhaps stuck to a coffee and pastry, my Bo House experience may have been entirely different altogether – the venue boasts a great spot on The Walk, which would be perfect for a straightforward coffee and sandwich. Instead, the restaurant is shrouded in pretentious waffle and loses sight of the simple things. In the words of Bo House itself, it might be a place ‘to get together for fun, for love, for a scoop, for no reason, for a word, for a gust of wind…’ but not for a decent meal.
The bill (for two)
1x Chocolate milkshake Dhs25
1x Very Berry milkshake Dhs25
1x Calamari and jalapeños Dhs48
1x Chicken and beef satay Dhs57
1x Grilled half chicken Dhs60
1x Veal escalope Dhs110
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs325
Time Out Dubai,
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