Al Mansour Dhow

Floating restaurant with extra entertainment provided
  • 1

Time Out Says

Although it lacks the style, sleekness and waiter service of its glass-panelled rival, the Bateau Dubai, this splendid old wooden dhow provides tradition and charm by the shipload.

Our evening didn’t get off to the perfect start. Having been shown to seats on the upper deck we made ourselves comfortable, only to be told that our seats were, in fact, downstairs. We still had a decent view and were now closer to the food, but with our chairs perched on a sloping floor, and the engine juddering rambunctiously, seemingly directly below our seats, it was hard to relax. So when a fez-headed oud-doodler began strumming enthusiastically a couple of tables away, it was a welcome musical distraction.

The décor was a little clichéd, quite reasonable for something as touristy as a dinner cruise; the lanterns on our paisley-patterned tablecloths were covered in palm trees and camels. There’s a waist-height shisha lounge at the back of the boat, which was used as a bedroom by one passenger who slept throughout our voyage. On other occasions this part of the vessel is more energised – it doubles as a children’s playpen – but being over 90 centimetres tall, we were unable to test the rocking horse.

Upon the unwrapping of the food everybody watched to see which glutton made the first move. A hungry young boy soon volunteered, and the masses fought for positions around a table full of solid if unspectacular food. The hummos and moutabel were so thick they required cajoling from the serving spoon, but were nicely flavoured. We also sampled some bog-standard potato salad and an irksomely tangy mushroom soup. Elsewhere, strips of cured beef were boisterously salty and impossibly chewy, and the salmon, which was served with spinach, was slightly too dry and lacking in taste.

There were also several successes. The lamb and chicken kebabs, having been flamed to a tee on the upper deck, were excellent, and the Indian food was generally accomplished too; the warm, thick and spicy lentil makhani stood out as a particular winner.

The subtly honeyed veal meatballs in BBQ sauce were also delicious. The countless desserts – all slight variations on a theme of fruit, cream, and general glutinousness – were all tasty, although only the sweet tapioca rice pudding was truly special.

Although our driver was handling a steering wheel taller than he was, he manoeuvred the boat to its docking with seasoned nonchalance. We were feeling pretty relaxed too, having been allotted plenty of time to enjoy the charm of the old cruiser before disembarking. Although the food wasn’t that special, we greatly enjoyed this leisurely cruise.

By Matthew Lee  | 01 Feb 2005

Be the first to get all the latest Dubai news, reviews and deals into your inbox by signing up to our free newsletter, click here to sign up.


FacilitiesDine In
Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
Show number +971 4 205 7333
Dubai, Deira City Center Area, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Ground Level, Baniyas

Recommended for you in Restaurants

STK Downtown to reopen this weekend

Popular steakhouse returns with brunch, ladies’ night and more

Three top reasons to visit Original Wings & Rings

Sponsored: Why the DIFC restaurant should be on your list this summer

Shopping platform noon to launch food delivery arm

New noon Food delivery aggregation service to launch in coming months

Where to find Dubai’s best chicken wings

Buffalo, barbecue, boneless – Dubai’s best chicken wings come in all shapes

Couqley brings back steak frites and grape pairing night

Popular deal returns to Beirut-born French restaurant in Dubai’s JLT

Irish Village Garhoud launches new weekend brunch

Unlimited plates and drinks for Dhs199 with Irish Village On Tour deal