Après, the predictably named bar/restaurant at the bottom of the slope, manages to find an unlikely compromise between alpine lodge and contemporary nightspot 17 Reviews
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At last, Ski Dubai can call itself a proper ski resort – there’s somewhere to go for a warming drink afterwards. Après, the predictably named bar/restaurant at the bottom of the slope, manages to find an unlikely compromise between alpine lodge and contemporary nightspot. Okay, so its European credentials barely stretch beyond fondue on the menu and some vaguely rustic brickwork, but the manmade snow blares convincingly mountainously through the vast windows at the far end of the bar. The venue’s dim lighting and the slope’s wholehearted whiteness makes for a striking juxtaposition. Apart from the tables overlooking tumbling practice skiers and snowboarders, there’s a long stool-lined bar, at which staff flip cocktail shakers by a backlit apothecary of bottled spirits.
Plunging into colourful curved sofas by a monitor screening non-stop skiing accidents – good for confidence – we ordered from the mostly European menu. Our starters were disappointing. The chicken and orange pâté was dauntingly oversized, the sort of portion you’d buy from the supermarket to feed the whole family for a week. It was strangely soft, overly livery and glowing with a bleach blonde outer layer of fat. At least the apple chutney that accompanied it was chunkily satisfying and the Tuscan bread was fresh and tasty. My friend also spoke of her starter in disapproving terms; the prawns – oddly served on a slice of (very good) toasted white bread – were lukewarm, lacking in flavour and a bit too squelchy.
Such appetiser agony lowered our expectations, but these were then stirringly surpassed by some great main courses. My Chamonix chicken (yes, some of the dishes are named after ski resorts...) boasted a depth of flavour rarely seen in Dubai poultry. It was stuffed with rich, sweet fontina cheese, garlic and tomatoes, and then sprinkled with black pepper. An equally peppery new potato mash was the perfect accompaniment. My tablemate had a warming vegetable casserole, a homemade-tasting assortment of cannelloni, belotti and pinto beans in a thick, fresh-tasting tomato sauce. Desserts, which took an unacceptably long time to arrive, couldn’t live up to the mains. The apple crumble didn’t taste natural or fresh enough – it was pale, flimsy, too sugary tasting and drowned in an (admittedly excellent) vanilla custard. The crème brûlée was also average, the top was too brittle and the rest was a little too watery.
There’s too much service. We don’t want to be asked if we’re enjoying our food four times or if we want another drink three times. The presence of three members of staff stationed at the door to greet customers is also a bit over-the-top. The cocktail list is extensive and the main courses proved Après’ potential, but there are improvements to be made.
The bill (for two)
Snow smoothie Dhs15
Après martini Dhs35
Chicken pâté Dhs25
King prawns Dhs30
Chamonix chicken Dhs70
Bean casserole Dhs50
Crème brûlée Dhs20
Apple crumble Dhs25
Small still water Dhs10
Total (excluding service) Dhs280
By Time Out Dubai
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