As the thunderous pulse of a surdo bass drum rumbled between the mockcolonial columns encircling the stage, a clump of firm, fresh avocado went into the mix Reviews

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As the thunderous pulse of a surdo bass drum rumbled between the mockcolonial columns encircling the stage, a clump of firm, fresh avocado went into the mix. Then, as the crisp, dry jingle of a pandeiro tambourine dashed among the booms, shavings of spring onion and fleshy tomato were added. A shimmering burst on a cavaquinho guitar heralded a boost of zesty lime, vigorous coriander and biting jalapeño peppers. Then with a flurry of salt and sugar, the vibrant guacamole took shape before our eyes as the samba clattered seductively all around.

While our waitress concocted the tangy dip at our table, and the bawdy performance emanated from the stage, I started to wonder: what has guacamole got to do with Brazilian samba? With nearly 5,000 miles separating Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro, it’s like preparing Russian borscht while a troupe of English morris dancers wave their hankies around. Brazilians are more likely to turn avocados into sorbet or milkshakes than savoury dips but this is what Pachanga’s all about – a whistle stop tour through a Latin American wonderland that brings a melting pot of national cuisines to a sultry sizzle.

In all fairness, we had arrived on the very popular ‘samba night’, and although the dancing show was hardly a scene from the streets of Copacabana, the atmosphere was positively carnivalesque for a Sunday evening in summertime Dubai. So I munched happily on bewitchingly fresh guacamole and tortillas until my gossamer-thin venison carpaccio with caramelised onions arrived. My friend rather daringly opted for the nopales cactus salad, which offered nothing spikier than a charged avocado salsa and refried beans, and the right to brag about eating the disappointingly bland plant.

Then I unleashed the Carioca in me and got stuck into the churrasco, which wasn’t so much a main course as an assault course. The relentless barrage of impossibly juicy lamb, moist sirloin, gloriously marbled rib eye and tender chicken was carved expertly from the skewer at the table, and only ceased when I was well and truly spent. My companion’s paella – though teeming with plump but rather dry prawns, a pair of unspectacular mussels, a medley of seafood nuggets and heavily saffron infused rice – was like a light snack in comparison to my Sugarloaf Mountain of meat.

Momentarily hopping back to Europe, my expansive crème brûlée was as wide and crisp as a glacier, and shattered to reveal lusciously creamy depths, while my friend’s flambéed mango and chocolate ice cream brought us back to more exotic climes with its artfully presented but disappointingly flat fruit. Which all serves to illustrate that Pachanga – with its disparate influences, variable food and incongruous juxtapositions – is almost as full of beguiling contrasts as the continent that inspired it.

The bill (for two)
2x mineral water Dhs42
Venison carpaccio Dhs47
Nopales salad Dhs39
Churrasco Dhs176
Paella Dhs167
French fries Dhs15
Crème brûlée Dhs32
Flambéed mangoes Dhs32
Total (including service) Dhs550

By Time Out Dubai
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


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Pachanga On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: Dominik MJ on 20 Nov ' 11 at 23:49
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We went to Pachanga because of the great reviews - and because it seems just different as the most other steak restaurants.

Staff was very friendly and professional - the hostess desk was unattended for a couple of minutes [the restaurant was though empty] - but after the original hick up everything went very well.

The fresh baked bread was amazing. The dips were so-so - a great tasting chili mayo, a nice tomato butter & a bacon'y olive oil dip - last one, was in my eyes too much - the rest was a bit underseasoned.

After that we got the tortilla chips and guacamole - in my eyes unnecessary and unsuccessful - the chips had no real flavor - the guacamole fresh, but not really creamy - made out of unripe avocados.

The starters were a rated: Sarah, my wife had a onion soup - [which was a bit too French - but from the flavor great] - I had foie gras two ways - a slap of pan-fried foie gras, which was really soft, creamy juicy - however had a strange eggy flavor and a fantastic mango foie gras mousse [to die for].

After that we got an alcoholfree Mojito espuma - tasted like not fresh squeezed lemon juice [where is the lime] and blended mint [hence didn't had anything in common with a mojito but with the everywhere available lemon-mint drink].

Mains were good, but not as good: Sarah had a beef tenderloin - she only ordered 250 g but got a real big piece. She ordered it medium but got it medium well and slightly overcooked; but it was still very enjoyable. With it came 4 stalks of grilled asparagus [not very flavorful], some mushroom sauce [tasted not homemade] - I forgot about the carbs...

I had the churrasco - which were different spits of meat carved at the table plus I got an array of side dishes [salad which was nice, but not really to rave about, French fries, which were cold [and commercial bought ones], steamed rice [really boring] and a fried banana [tasted like dessert].
Meats were ribeye [good], flank steak [very god], lamb [fantastic], chicken [mushy and strange tasting; was very disappointing - was really spoiling the whole experience].

After that we got a grilled pineapple [tasted good] and desserts.

She had a chocolate cake with a gooey interior with vanilla sauce and vanilla ice cream [she was raving about this] and I had dulce de leche parfait [I have exchanged coconut sorbet with vanilla ice cream, as I don't like coconut]. My dessert was absolutely not as successful, the parfait was not really half frozen but a cold, with too much gelatin filled dulce de leche cream, on top of a too hard biscuit and a leathery fruit jelly.

There was a 2 piece latino band playing, which was a bit noisy for our taste. Like already mentioned staff were friendly, except some hick ups as some arguing bartenders in one corner, and one server, pushing noisily a garbage trolley from bar to the kitchen.

Overall a great evening - which didn't had this typical commercial feel of other restaurants. The meat was plenty - almost too much - only the chicken was a real let down.

Posted by: Jim B. on 27 Feb ' 11 at 04:55
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Had a very nice dinner there this weekend. Will certainly come back.

Ambience is good and the little 2 man band adds nicely to the atmosphere and the latin feel of the place.

Food was very very good. Great meat of course. Service is also good.

Posted by: Dr. Raji Mathew on 05 Aug ' 10 at 08:01
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

One of the most rewarding dinners. The Churassco night, which is every Tuesaday, includes a buffet salad, churassco as the mains and buffet dessert accomapnied with a brazilian cocktail all for Dhs.175.
The salad buffet is a meal in itself and includes crab cake, pork ribs, salmon, 2 kinds of sausages, short ribs, mix seafood, tuna, greens and bread. This was a meal in itself. What followed was punishment. The Churassco as mains involved the waiter, bringing one by one, skewers of different meat dishes to your table and shaving it off. The first was rib eye, then lamb chops, beef, chicken and sirloin. In between this, breaded tapioca, french fries and mushrooms were served on separate plates and pepper sauce was brought along for the meat. Last to be brought was roasted pineapple. The process would start all over again depending on your choice of dish till the guests have had enough. I barely got through the first round. I was stuffed and beat. Boxed with food. The Brazilain cocktail drink which tasted somewhat like a mojito with crushed ice went well with the food. I feasted on the desert buffet with my eyes. Most were regular fare. Pinacolada cake was new and I was tempted but finally decided to leave it for another day.
Having reached just before 11 pm there were no more than a couple of guests at the start who too left after some time. Ricardo, the waiter was great. Didn't see the Venezuelan chef but I did pass my compliments to him.
Faults: The pepper sauce was brought midway of the Churassco onslaught. Should have come at the start. The size of the salt dispensed by the salt dispenser were too big as even one bit would be overpowering in taste. Should dispense finer salt. As a personal choice the crab cake and tapioca would have been better if it had not been breaded.
After dinner, you could sit at the Cuban bar within the restaurant for a drink or go out and sit in the balcony and enjoy a smoke. Since you can't smoke in the bar, I headed for the Bice Skybar at the 10th floor where I rounded off the evening with a cigar and a Sinapore sling.

Posted by: Kamila on 01 Mar ' 10 at 10:39

Awesome latino music, attentive personnel and fantastic food! It's just the best for romantic dinner!

Posted by: Keith Fletcher on 20 Feb ' 10 at 09:45
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Went there on a Tue and was suprised with the Churasco Night concept. A must try at the price they are selling.

Posted by: Laura CApistrano on 05 Feb ' 10 at 15:52
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Very night evening. Not too busy and not too quiet. Steaks are amazing and of right temperature as you have requested. The Cuban bar was very cozy!!!!
Service was excellent. Staff were all attentive. Guacamole was soothing...will come back again.

Posted by: Louise Madrigal on 29 Jan ' 10 at 19:47
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Decided to go out in Jumeirah Walk tonight (January13), Pachanga Restaurant was the place to have pre-drinks, dinner afterwards then look for some entertainment. Wednesday is usually busy in Dubai but luckily, we got a table, infront of the tango dancers.
Starting with an appetizer and my favorite Strawberry Daquiri, my request has been granted!!!Super Frozen.....but still very tasty. The scampi with macadamia nuts...deep fried but totally not oily!
Dinner time, just when tango presentation started. We ordered same starter and main course. Very original, entertaining, and interesting gaucho salad to begin with while we sip our white wine. Then awaiting for the main course, I could smell the flavor of the mouthwatering wagyu tenderloin for the both of us. I ordered Medium which i recommend....and I enjoyed until the last mouthful of this soft and tender meat. Comes with your choice of sauce and side dishes....We couldn't enjoy more and we were so full we had to skip the dessert...which meant that I will definitely come back!
Service was excellent. Staff were very attentive and anticipating of our needs....not too pushy but polite.

Posted by: jose Liendo on 28 Jan ' 10 at 19:39
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Great food ..... lovelu souffle....

Posted by: Stefan Vilsmeier on 16 Apr ' 09 at 18:28
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Nobody who has been to a steak restaurant in Latin Amerca, Brazil in particular, would enjoy the food. The atmosphere is terrible, the food ok at best. The steaks where ordered medium and served medium-well done, they opened right away 4 bottles of water for 4 people, but only charged for 2 after I complained. Very disappointed. Half empty on a Thursday night.

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