There’s really no ignoring it. The most prized dining experience in the most opulent hotel in the world begins with the worst fairground ride in history 25 Reviews
Dine at Al Mahara and enjoy a delicious four-course Christmas lunch or a fantastic six-course festive menu and make Christmas truly special
Dhs550 lunch, Dhs850 dinner Timings: 12.30pm-3pm for lunch, 7pm for dinner 25 December 2013
Enjoy a six-course Christmas Eve Menu in this stunning restaurant with a giant floor to ceiling aquarium. Dhs850 Timings: 7pm-midnight 24 December 2013
Sample a three-course set menu at the Burj Al Arab’s signature seafood restaurant. Pick-up and drop-off services are provided by the hotel’s Rolls-Royce Phantom. Dhs795 Timings: 12.30pm-2.30pm (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
- Picture 1 of 2
There’s really no ignoring it. The most prized dining experience in the most opulent hotel in the world begins with the worst fairground ride in history. Strapped into your personal submarine (or ‘lift’, as it’s otherwise known) you are meant to believe that you are being transported across the seabed to your waiting table, rather than merely traveling down half a floor. It’s unbelievably corny, a bit patronising and unintentionally hilarious, but as much as the sub-Disneyland sub leaves its mark, Al Mahara’s centrepiece – a giant fish tank – cuts into the memory like a scalpel. Black tipped reef sharks, hammour the size of toddlers and Monterey eels gaze out through the immense tank, provoking bouts of guilt about what you’re about to do to their cousins.
Your piscatorial remorse is further compounded when you are presented with the daily special, a live lobster waving its tentacles limply at you.
Sadly, for the lobster, your tastebuds will probably trump your conscience, though you’ll be underwhelmed by the tail and claw starter combo. Tagged with a bland carrot salad the meat is limp and, forgive us, lifeless. Crab cakes also fail to set the senses alight, comprising rubbery bread-crumbed balls. But just as you start to fear another case of style obliterating substance, the chef returns with a one-two whammy that will have you reeling in delight. The line-caught sea bass is an absolute knockout; simply grilled with fresh vegetables and the subtlest of lobster froths, the fish’s flavours will dance on your palate. The brawny codfish also punches above its weight, baked and served on a bed of potato with a foaming cream broth, it manages to be light and pleasantly hearty.
The finish will also restore your faith in Burj-priced fine dining – crêpes suzette flambéed in front of your eyes. Savouring the tang of oranges, liquor and caramelised butter and taking in your own underwater views, you might almost forget the naff submarine, lobster guilt and the colossal bill weaving its way in your direction. Almost.
By TimeOut Dubai Staff
- Previous reviews
- 21 March,2012- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 23 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 05 April,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 08 February,2010- reviewed by Daisy Carrington
- 30 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Jeremy Lawrence
- 25 February,2008- reviewed by James Brennan
- 29 August,2007- reviewed by TimeOut Dubai Staff
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 01 May,2005- reviewed by Matthew Lee
- 01 January,2003- reviewed by Rob Orchard
- 01 September,2002- reviewed by Carolyn Robb
- 01 January,2002- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.