Dare to Brunch at STK Downtown

A classy knees-up made for carnivores, with Burj Khalifa views

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New York-Style steakhouse STK’s JBR brunch is one of the most popular in the city. As a result, it means if you turn up with a big appetite but without a reservation you’re making a big mis-steak. The waiting list often hangs around the one-month mark.

So, it was with huge open arms, and mouths, that we welcomed the news that the global restaurant chain was beefing up its presence in Dubai by opening a second STK in July. But has the younger sister at Address Downtown maintained the popularity of the original? We book the Friday brunch to see.

The 180-cover inside dining area is packed when we arrive for the three-hour Dare to Brunch on Friday, and the high-energy atmosphere is buzzing with well-heeled diners, smiling staff and a DJ-violinist duo.

As well as the huge space that’s flooded with natural light, there’s also a terrace area which can seat 120, with views of the Burj Khalifa that is perfect for al fresco dining.

The brunch is a set menu of rolling starters, à la carte mains (no prizes for what sort of mains) and a trio of desserts. If you’ve tried the JBR version then the menu will be familiar. The house beverage package includes hops, grape and mixed drinks meaning brunch here is a much better value meal than a regular dinner date (which is eye-wateringly expensive, as we mentioned in our recent review).

Meanwhile the dress code is “urban chic”, apparently. We pass the test and are seated in a squishy leather booth underneath a cherry blossom tree – within seconds we have a drink in hand. And, don’t expect it to ever be empty now as staff charge over at the site of every half empty glass to keep it topped up. Not that we’re complaining.

And, soon the starters follow. Creamy-as-it-comes burrata with chunky tomatoes. Delicious. Freshly shucked oysters with a zesty dressing. Delicious. Prawn cocktail with a touch of spicy heat. You know the drill…

It’s not often that mains play second fiddle to starters in a steakhouse, but at STK there’s bound to be a battle brewing between the two courses. The appetisers are what you’ll leave and tell your friends, neighbours and strangers on the Metro about.

After the first course, there’s just enough time for a synchronised belt-loosening across the restaurant before the mains roll out of the kitchen. Vegetarians and pescetarians are catered for with mushroom risotto or roasted salmon (which is prettily plated and delicious), but we’re here for the steak. The only difficulty is choosing between the USDA fillet 200g or the USDA striploin 250g. But there’s no wrong choice here, both are excellent and you’ll have no regrets whichever you punt for.

Cooked to our liking, well-seasoned and boasting a crisscross of searing and scorching from the grill, the fillet is a carnivore’s dream. And, almost good enough to make us forget about that silky burrata. Almost.

Sides of ooey, gooey mac ’n’ cheese, green beans and Parmesan fries only elevate the dishes higher.

Staff alternate between serving hot food, pouring cold beverages and dancing on tables – some more reluctantly than others.

As always, save room for puddings because you won’t want to miss the New York cheesecake or the crème brûlée.

It may make throwing shapes on the dancefloor a little tricky, but this second brunch is heading the same way as its JBR sibling – so expect a long wait and chance to recover before your return.
Dhs349 (soft drinks), Dhs499 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Address Downtown Dubai, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

WHAT IS IT...
A classy knees-up made for carnivores, with Burj Khalifa views

WHY GO...
Excellent food for special occasions

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