Bubbling fondue and European food in Oud Metha

Does a cauldron of bubbling cheese get you excited? Would the chance to dip your fruit in hot saucy chocolate make you look again? A yes to either question should see you pop over to the Mövenpick hotel in the very near future, where those crazy Swiss folks have dedicated each and every Thursday night to the sacred art of fondue. Up until 10.30pm, Dhs79 will buy you a glass of house red or white, a lengthy metal skewer with wooden handle and one helping of molten fun. Three courses are on offer: cheese, beef and chocolate. Each is ideal to share with a partner or friends, but you’ll only fit one at a time around The Fountain’s petite tables. Of course, if both of you both want a free glass of wine it’ll mean buying two courses ...

The cheese option arrives with portions of chopped pineapple, tomato, gherkin and pickled onion. Simply stab your selected nibble, insert in the cheese and pop into your mouth. Easy. (But beware the example set by the fondue novice, who sat in the corner on our visit, fanning his burnt lips in vain). The main beef course is really a deep fat fryer in disguise, with dipping dishes of tomato ketchup and oyster and pepper sauce. Salty French fries are served with strips of raw beef – dunk the latter in the oil and cook to your heart’s content. Finally, the chocolate fondue comes complete with chopped apple, strawberry, and banana. Gorgeous.

The seating area is rather cramped, and the restaurant maintains its buffet throughout the night. In fact, the biggest reservation you’ll have about The Fountain is that it lacks real personality and opens onto the hotel lobby. That’s great for some lighthearted people-watching, but hardly conducive to a romantic meal for two. Our friendly but distracted waiters were also dragged away on several occasions to attend to the buffet, which may leave you waiting some time for the bill. Although far from being the last word in fine dining, the Mövenpick’s fondue evening is nonetheless a quirky alternative to the conventional dinner date and a great precursor to a night out on the tiles.


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