We love a good pub here at Time Out. And we love pub grub just as much. The Black Lion, despite being a decent pub, didn’t really follow up on the latter, meaning it often felt a little soulless and rather empty, and never quite reached its potential.
Enter Nick & Scott, the chefs who have impressed Dubai’s diners since the days of Gordon Ramsay’s Verre and continue to do so at the multi-Time Out Dubai award-winning folly, in Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
After a slight name change and a (very) slight updating of décor (by means of some TVs) they became pub landlords and introduced a more casual side to their repertoire at The Lion.
What’s different? Well, the tunes are now excellent (as they are at folly), there’s a bit more atmosphere in the bar itself and there are some good-value deals throughout the week, but this is not a wholesale revamp.
Since launching, we’ve paid a few visits to the Friday brunch and while at the latest we’re once again enjoying the inoffensive, sing-along music from guitarist and singer Rich Kennedy, the experience is dividing opinion.
While the low-key nature of the food, service and venue is relaxed and fun, there are expectations for more from a venue boasting Nick and Scott’s names above the door.
It’s good value though – coming in at Dhs300 for house beverages. The package includes a sharing platter (or basket), salads and pâté to start before a main course and a dessert. The drinks included aren’t premium but there are a couple of fun mixed options and service is swift and friendly.
Being a pub food brunch, it’s all quite filling, and while we appreciate there are a couple of salads thrown in, they’re never going to be the show’s stars.
The veal sausage rolls are the highlight from the starters, while the pâté and chicken wings are tasty, too. Neither the cheddar or couscous salads are remarkable, however.
Main courses change slightly week-to-week, but usually include a burger, fish and chips, lamb biryani, chicken curry and a classic beef pudding.
The chicken curry is the winner, with tender chicken in a light coconut gravy. As in past visits, the beef in the pudding is a little tough, but the pastry itself, and rich gravy, are outstanding.
Sticky toffee pudding and apple crumble are superb and well worth loosening your belt for.
Fans of Nick and Scott will notice their stamp on the music and vibe, but might be disappointed in some of the dishes. But, this is a casual brunch, where you can relax with friends and get into the swing of the weekend. The flexible hours are great and although there’s not a huge amount of food, you definitely won’t go hungry.
Dhs250 (house beverages) extendable with additional Dhs100; Dhs350 (bubbly). Fri 2pm-midnight (three-hour package). The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
The bottom line
One for a fun, casual weekend bash.