For many (this writer included), the words ‘golf club’ used to conjure images of dull, nicotine-stained walls, bad carpets and eccentrically dressed men. And then there are the sorry-looking club sandwiches (don’t get us started on the sandwiches).
But in a city of world-class golf courses, it’s only natural that Dubai’s affiliated golf clubs boast top-notch eateries serving world-beating cuisine. With the recent opening of Links at The Address Montgomerie, we thought it was high time we rounded up the best places to dine before or after 18 holes. Alternatively, leave golf out of the equation and concentrate on the food and the views.
Al Badia Golf Club
The vibe: Set beneath a soaring 27-metre glass blade (thus the name, we’re guessing), Blades is bright and breezy, but maintains an element of formality with a smart dress code and classy dark-wood furnishings. This said, the al-fresco deck is a great place for sundowners.
The food: The menu boasts an array of international treats. On our last visit the New York striploin and salmon bagel were the dishes of choice.
The deals: Blades runs one of the most unique brunches in town (albeit on a Saturday, not the usual Friday frenzy): guests are issued with a wicker picnic basket on arrival and can settle down on the clubhouse lawns for some gourmet fare. Restless diners can stretch their legs by perusing the requisite buffet stations. The picnic runs from noon until 4pm, and you’ll pay Dhs225 with soft drinks, or Dhs550 with bubbly.
The vibe: Not to be confused with Spike Bar at Emirates Golf Club, this casual all-day destination is perfect for pre- or post-round food or drinks. The venue overlooks the golf club’s driving range and practice facilities, and boasts an enviable view of Sheikh Zayed Road’s skyline in the distance.
The food: Think burgers, sandwiches and healthy salads – there are also special end-of-day refreshments served on the outdoor terrace.
The deals: The huge plasma-screen TVs make Spikes a great destination for sports lovers, so there are ever-changing drinks and food deals to coincide with sporting events. There’s also a quiz night on the first and third Wednesday of the month.
InterContinental Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
Emirates Golf Club
The vibe: This dimly lit restaurant is set to a soundtrack of classical music and offers great views of the greens. While Le Classique may not be as gilt-edged as some of the newer French venues in town, there’s something refreshing about its old-school charm.
The food: From the flambé trolleys to dishes such as pan-fried duck’s liver, Le Classique is quintessentially French (you’d have never have guessed, would you?). Chef François Porte, who won ‘Outstanding Contribution’ at the 2011 Time Out Restaurant Awards, has also put together one of the city’s most affordable French degustation menus.
The deals: Every Tuesday from 7.30pm until 11.30pm, there’s a special à la carte menu featuring Chef François’s all-time favourite dishes, plus 12 varieties of grape to complement your meal. Prices start at Dhs285 (with grape) for non-members. Le Classique also serves Saturday brunch from noon until 3.30pm, costing Dhs285 for non-members with selected house drinks.
The vibe: Understated, dark-wood decor sets the tone for a smart-casual atmosphere (collars must be worn).
The food: As the name suggests, Spike is more bar than restaurant, but manages to punch above its weight in the food stakes thanks to its international buffet options and themed meal deals running throughout the week.
The deals: To cater for early-morning golf enthusiasts, there’s a breakfast buffet (Dhs65) on Friday and Saturday from 6am until 10am, as well as the option of takeaway breakfast (Dhs45) or a bacon sandwich (Dhs35). There’s a daily lunch buffet, complete with a carvery and cheese counter (Dhs25-Dhs85), but sunset boasts the best dining options: Thursday night is prawn market night (Dhs25 per 100g; 6.30pm-10.30pm), there’s a sunset barbecue every Friday (Dhs110; 6.30pm- 10.30pm), and a Mongolian barbecue every Saturday (Dhs99; 3.30pm-6pm). It also offers afternoon tea overlooking the golf course for Dhs55 (Dhs145 with a glass of bubbly).
The vibe: Bright, breezy and casual.
The food: ‘M’ is for ‘Mediterranean’, which in turn translates to dishes such as lamb’s lettuce leaf salad with foie gras, smoked duck breast and walnuts; squid ink risotto and gamberoni prawns; and the signature skewer (served with harissa dip).
The deals: Every Friday and Saturday from noon until 3pm there’s a ‘Roast Brunch’ featuring live carvery and make-your-own pizza station, plus kids’ entertainment (prices start at Dhs125). On Wednesdays there’s M’s ‘Mussels Madness’ (alliteration ahoy!) from 7pm until 10.30pm, which features mussels prepared in all manner of ways (Dhs110 with soft drinks, Dhs195 with selected house beverages). Yet the most original promotion has to be Friday night’s Poolside Movies, with different films screened at 7pm and 9pm.
The Address Montgomerie
The vibe: Offering sweeping views overlooking the golf course’s impressive 18th hole and putting green, Bunkers is a great post-round watering hole. Though its vibe may be casual, it’s still a classy, tasteful venue that is very much in keeping with the grandeur of the Address Montgomerie hotel.
The food: The cuisine is a modern take on hearty, traditional pub fare, complemented by a variety of beverages served from the distinctive half-moon-shaped bar.
The deals: None at present. That’s left to new venue Links…
The vibe: Formerly The Academy, Links has been refurbished and reimagined as a ‘lively all-day dining sports-themed restaurant and lounge’. At least, that’s what we’re told – we’ll be checking Links out for ourselves soon. Keep an eye on Time Out Dubai for the review in coming weeks.
The food: Expect eclectic, accessible international fare, from burgers to curries to steak.
The deals: We’re told there will be a traditional roast dinner served every Sunday, with curry night every Monday. Watch this space for more deals as and when they happen.
The vibe: Nestled amid the classic colonial Montgomerie clubhouse, Nineteen’s black, red and chrome decor feels a little out of place (though not in a bad way, mind). We recommend booking a table on the terrace – in our opinion, it’s one of the nicest al-fresco dining experiences in Dubai.
The food: Despite resembling a steakhouse, Nineteen offers grill- and rotisserie-style dining, with European-influenced dishes such as crottin de chavignol (goat’s cheese), scallops and beef cheek.
The deals: Where to start? Nineteen’s innovative and unique deals include ‘Dine in the Dark’, which will next take place during 2012 Earth Hour on Saturday March 31. Enjoy a four-course meal in complete darkness from 7pm onwards (Dhs495; includes welcome drink and selected house beverages). This week there’s a Battle of the Chefs event, where two chefs are pitted against each other and judged by diners. There’s also afternoon tea on the terrace every Sunday to Thursday (Dhs60-Dhs155).
Emirates Hills (04 390 5600).
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
The vibe: Set right on Dubai Creek, Boardwalk offers spectacular views over the water and a great panorama of the Downtown Dubai skyline.
The food: The kitchen cooks up a range of dishes, including burgers and wraps, as well as more luxurious options such as plancha duck breast, grilled lobster and pan-seared lamb chops. A similarly varied selection is served on The Boardwalk’s floating dining stations.
The deals: As avid Time Out readers know all too well, Boardwalk recently introduced Dinner on a Doughnut, in which diners can enjoy a feast aboard a floating doughnut-shaped vessel complete with barbecue station. You can hire said doughnuts for two hours any time between noon and 9pm (prices start at Dhs1,550) and enjoy one of the city’s most unique dining experiences.
The vibe: Legends’ recent renovation has rendered it one of the slickest steakhouses in Dubai. The angular canopy ceiling gives the space an impressive aesthetic edge, while the sizeable balcony has great views of the golf course.
The food: Creative starters include tempura shrimp, quail scotch eggs, lobster kibbeh or roasted foie gras dates. The excellently prepared steaks include a range of wagyu from famed Australian brand Master Kobe, with other options being flambéed at your table.
The deals: Legends holds its ‘Legendary’ brunch every Friday from noon until 3.30pm, which allows guests to order their meaty main from the à la carte menu, while gorging on all-they-can eat starters and desserts (Dhs205 food only, Dhs370 for selected house beverages).
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).