Wander past the cluster of cafés alongside Media City lake during a workday lunchtime and you won’t fail to notice the buzz emanating from shiny new outlet Urban Bistro. Formerly a sleepy, dated Italian eatery, the space has been transformed, re-emerging triumphantly at the end of 2012 as a modern, stylish ‘urban bistro’.

Arriving just after 1pm on a Thursday afternoon, my date and I nabbed the last available table. Immediately we felt an army of eyes give us the once-over (through media-style spectacles, of course). There was a powerful sense that this is currently the daytime spot at which to ‘see and be seen’ in the area, quickly awakening us from our early-afternoon slump.

To the food: the menus laid down before us were comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and offered an array of typically western modish bites. We opted for the wagyu burger with avocado topping and an avocado side, along with a tomato and burrata salad, a couple of mango juices and a bottle of (as it turned out) fancy-looking local water served in a glass bottle. So far, so ‘urban’: these were dishes we could have opted for in any professional, modern city.

While waiting for our food we soaked up the humming atmosphere and checked out the creative quirks of the decor: industrial-looking metallic and multicoloured chairs outside, wood finishes, bookshelves and a deli counter inside. Some 15 minutes later, our food arrived; specifically, it arrived on long, rectangular plates. Though clearly good quality, the china wouldn’t fit on our table for two along with our two sharing plates, forcing the waiter to drag over the little table next to us.

Furniture in place, we dived in. Immediately we marvelled at the burrata: a current favourite with Dubai food fans, it was among the creamiest we’ve tasted. We also weren’t too surprised to find the increasingly popular heirloom tomatoes on our plate, adding a touch of yellow to the arrangement. While they underlined the fact that Urban is clearly in the know when it comes to culinary trends, we’re not sure they added any extra flavour to the dish.

The wagyu feast felt decadent during lunchtime, yet its price wasn’t bank-busting (Dhs60), and the patty itself was satisfying, though heavy, working well with the avocado.

Rounding off the meal with a generous slice of delightful cheesecake (the last few bites were obligingly packed up for us to take away), we left feeling completely sated, but also looking forward to spreading the word of this gourmet hotspot’s arrival in Media City.

The bill (for two)
1 local water Dhs12
2 mango juices Dhs48
1 burrata salad Dhs46
1 wagyu beefburger Dhs60
1 cheesecake Dhs24
Total (excluding service) Dhs190