Maxx has certainly nailed its ‘music bar’ credentials (which, to be fair, is no small achievement for a new opening). The chatty resident band, The Usual Suspects, impressed when we reviewed the place a few weeks ago as a drinking hub. This time, however, it was the food that was under scrutiny.
Maxx’s drinks prices are remarkably reasonable by Dubai standards, although the food is on the expensive side. Burgers are Dhs50 and steaks upwards of Dhs100. Given the limited menu (I didn’t spot a single starter that wasn’t deep-fried), these prices seem pretty high. There was little to choose from for an opener so my date and I opted to split the Maxx platter (which, after my gym session earlier in the day, didn’t feel good). If, however, our goal had been to soak up the dregs of a night on the town, this wouldn’t have been a bad way to do it. The combo included battered shrimp that left a film of oil on the fingers, tasteless knots of fried chicken, chips and a couple of so-so dipping sauces.
Mains fared a little better. The selection was slightly more varied; while the focus was red meat, there were a couple of vegetarian and fish options to choose from. My health-conscious date opted for a chicken burger topped with sun-dried tomatoes. It was essentially a grilled chicken sandwich, so I found it odd when our waiter asked how she wanted it cooked (who, after all, wants chicken served rare?). The result was passable, though far from enticing.
I opted for the chef’s recommended steak, a fillet cooked to order. It wasn’t a bad cut and, if you’re in the bar for a drink anyway, is probably the dish to order. However, it’s also not a steak you’d seek out (I could have done without the too-sweet marinade). The options for sides were also limited: there were chips or mash, buttered broccoli, corn or – incongruously – artichoke. Having fulfilled my quota of fats with our starter, I opted for the more healthy artichoke hearts. These were pleasantly sautéed and seasoned, and proved a surprisingly good accompaniment to the steak. Still, the overall meal felt horribly heavy, and as a result I was happy not to finish my main or order dessert.
If Maxx’s covers band draws you here, the food is acceptable (and just that) as sustenance to get you through the night. But if you’re after a destination steak restaurant, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.
The bill (for two)
2x Small water Dhs20
1x Maxx platter Dhs70
1x Chicken burger Dhs50
1x Maxx steak Dhs150
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs290