Al Shindagah

All day buffet dining at the Metropolitan Hotel

A sumptuous buffet, which we have enjoyed on several lunchtimes in this upmarket coffee shop style restaurant, is replaced at night by an à la carte menu offering a very limited selection of dishes. The waiter seemed a little slow at first, having trouble understanding the uncomplicated order that was given to him, but he more than made up for faux-pas by being especially accommodating when we decided to mix and match from the months special steak promotion menu.

At Dhs54, we should have realised that the Arabic mezzeh starter would have served four people easily. It offered perfectly cooked sambusek with crispy light pastry on the outside and warm melting herby cheese inside that was simply mouth-watering. The chicken and onion soup (Dhs24) was a warming and tasty variation on the classic French onion soup, although the flavour of stock cubes lingered as a rather unpleasant aftertaste. Despite being more medium cooked than the requested rare, the rump steak (Dhs80) was deliciously tender, and packed with flavour. The barbecued chicken dish (Dhs59) was served with rice with hidden but perfectly stir-fried vegetables - the usually fussy eater left only the bare bones on the plate.

The refreshing fresh fruit platter (Dhs34) was a great choice for dessert; the fruit was perfectly ripe with melt-in-the-mouth watermelon and juicy strawberries packed with flavour; an excellent choice for sharing. All dishes were thoughtfully presented, but it would take three courses to feel fully satisfied. Our evening experience was pleasant enough, but the busier lunchtime buffets are a better way to sample the good cooking of the restaurant, both for choice and atmosphere.

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