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.
It’s by no means a pre-requisite to be a cheese lover if you’re heading for a bite to eat at Girders at JA Ocean View Hotel, but it helps.
This is because, as we eye up the menu, our stare is captured by a few particularly queso-tastic options, and of course we can’t resist.
You’d imagine that a sharable dish like nachos, priced at Dhs49, would be achievable for two people. Well, we can’t decide whether our appetite isn't on top form on our visit, or if the plate is so stacked that we find it almost impossible.
That is by no means a bad thing, you get value for your money, that’s for sure. The only problem is that it’s so unfeasibly cheesy that it feels like we’re embarking on a challenge, not a relaxed dinner.
And it’s more of the same when our mains arrived – we really wish we’d ordered in between courses, instead of all at once at the start – because the prawn quesadillas are filled to the cheesy brim, too. It’s a cheese-lover’s dream, and with a bit of a spicy kick to it, there are many who’d gladly eat here forever.
We also opt for the chilli beans burger – a beef patty topped with chilli beans, jalapeños, cheese (again) and onion rings, and served with fries. We’re ready to burst by the time we get halfway through this monster, but at Dhs70 for our burger and Dhs60 for the quesadillas, we’ve got cracking value for money.
If you’re not a fan of cheese, there are plenty of other grilled items and international meals, but approach the dairy dishes with caution, because they are not shy in slapping it on. But again, that’s not a bad thing.
The Bottom Line
Arrive hungry and roll out the door.
Sea views, sand between your toes and fresh fish. We love this al fresco grill at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai for many reasons. Take a seat on the front, overlooking the beach and you’ll definitely feel like you’re on holiday. Service is excellent – polite, friendly and efficient – which matches the food. The menu is small, but everything on it is worth a try. To start don’t miss the citrus poached prawns, partnered by a sharp and spicy sriracha and pomegranate dipping sauce. Move on to something from the grills, we recommend the salmon steak, which comes perfectly cooked and served with grilled veggies for a healthy and satisfying main. If you’re eating at lunch take a stroll back along the beach to complete the staycay feeling. Dining here is a leisurely experience.
Until only very recently, UBK enjoyed the enviable position of being the only proper bar at the most southern end of JLT. But even following the arrival of Beirut’s French bistro and bar Couqley and contemporary Indian haunt Spice & Ice to the same cluster, it doesn’t seem to have lost out on much business.
Its odd collection of low-slung, blue velour- and leather-upholstered lounge furniture (more suited to an old airport lounge) is frequently well populated, particularly during football matches, post-brunch on Fridays and rarely more so than on Monday nights, when the pub packs out for a quiz hosted by Virgin Radio’s Big Rossi.
Distinctly un-airport, thankfully, is the varied menu of hearty pub grub, which is tasty, good quality and enormously portioned (though strict vegetarians may face limited options). On busier nights, service can be slow, particularly towards the back of the newly revamped, covered and air-conditioned garden, but staff are generally a friendly, helpful bunch.
UBK may have increasing competition, but with nightly deals and weekly events, we see no sign of its popularity waning.
The Bottom Line
A no-frills bar with slightly unusual décor and a loyal following.
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