A bona fide family-friendly Dubai institution, Reform Social & Grill is that rare thing – a community pub.
Set in The Lakes, Reform is perfect for a weekend meal with a few drinks – mum and dad can chill out in the garden and let the little ones go wild in the small playground, as well as the makeshift football pitch that goes along with it.
During the week this place also gets rammed with people popping in for a pint and bite to eat on the way home after work. And those bites are very good, by the way, hence the award.
Pâtés, steak tartare and salads pepper the starters – and the pear and Stilton tart is a corker, too. Meanwhile there are four packed sharing platters to choose from, top grills good salads. A special shout out to the burgers as well. Juicy and fat. Just as they should be.
Weekends also mean special roast dinners, see right, with options including chicken and beef – as you’d expect. There’s also a properly authentic bangers and mash on the menu, too, and that will keep you coming back for more, as all the dishes here do.
There are good brekkies at this place, too. This is a real top choice for grub that we wholeheartedly recommend.
First things first, you don’t need to actually be a surfer to visit this ca-fé, which is fortunate, as otherwise you’d be massively missing out. The Surf Café is a chilled-out haven near the beach that’s worthy of a weekend visit. Floors and walls are covered in a washed, smooth concrete, and to one side of the dining room, there’s a little bar counter where juices and coffees are made.
As well as the top breakfasts – we’ve waxed lyrical about the avocado toast many a time – the lunches and dinners are also great, with seafood, perfectly cooked grills and a huge choice of fresh, colourful salads, all perfect for a casual family meal.
There’s also a large selection of dim sum, and the very on-trend poke bowls ranging from salmon to crab or tuna. Bento boxes, grills and a massive selection of sushi – you’ll pretty much find everything you could hope for here.
While a little pricey for the average café experience, The Surf Café is pleasant enough to justify the extra dirhams.
The bottom line:
Excellent for breakfast, but a great choice all day.
Sitting in a pretty location with a terrace overlooking the beach, cool weather will afford brilliant seaside vibes to this JBR eatery.
Inside, it’s quirky, with the eponymous utensils hanging up and featuring prominently in the décor, making you feel like you’ve just walked into Tom’s own kitchen for a meal.
Preserves neatly stacked on shelves make up an entire wall and add pops of colour to the rustic furniture, giving the space a vibrant, contemporary café feel.
Coming from two Michelin star-winning chef Tom Aikens, high expectations abound for the food, and we’re not let down.
Dishes include beef cheek with creamed truffle polenta and braised cabbage, and roast sea bas with artichoke, potato and brown shrimp.
Both are brilliant, full of punchy flavour, with incredibly delicate fall-apart, texture. A sheer delight to the palate, these will fill you with glee.
It’s also worth going for a few sides. The mac ’n’ cheese is creamy and gooey, with a beautifully crispy top, while Parmesan and truffle fries will be just the right top-up to your decent size mains. Finish it all off with the not-too-decadent sticky toffee pudding and you’ll already be planning your next visit.
This is good food made with passion by a master. Try it now.
The bottom line
Stunning dishes in a holiday-like setting.
A venue that proudly serves up proper pub grub such as fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, pies and burgers and does them all very well, with little fuss or fanfare. Portions are huge, especially the steak pie, which has an enormous puff pastry top hiding rich, slow cooked beef underneath. Breakfasts are excellent (and available throughout the day) and the cheeseburger is another monster. Not one where Dubai’s glamour set will be heading, but all the better for it.
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