There was a tangible amount of fanfare when Club Vista Mare arrived on the Dubai hospitality scene. This seaside promenade of restaurants and bars promised something new; something out of the ordinary, and it has certainly delivered.
Taking a prime position at the heart of the development is The Tap House, which, as the name suggests, prides itself on offering a range of hops for the craft connoisseurs. But there’s far more to this handsome hangout than the pints it pours, as exemplified by its Friday brunch. What brunchers will be offered is a scaled-down version of the gastropub’s menu, providing them with some hearty grub in a relaxed setting.
Taking a seat on the terrace overlooking the beach, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been shipped out to the Med – an enjoyable notion that adds to the charm of this place.
The marine setting might well influence your food choices here (it does for us), and if so, make sure you start with the crispy calamari. The portion seems almost bottomless and works best when drenched in the rather tasty pimento dip. Our favourite of the starters, though, is undoubtedly the compressed watermelon and beetroot salad. Fantastically fresh and laid out like carpaccio, each element is perfectly in tune with the next – and if you fork the fruit and veg in with a dollop of the gorgeous goat’s cheese mousse, you’ll see what we mean.
As we take a little break, there’s an influx of guests, clearly having risen from their Friday slumber. But in spite of the extra numbers (most of whom were not actually partaking in the brunch), the jovial staff still manage to keep up with the raft of additional orders coming in.
We only have to wait a few minutes before our mains arrive, the aromas wafting towards us only heightening the anticipation. Continuing the seafood theme, we order the fish and chips, which comes in one of those mini frying baskets that are very much de rigueur nowadays. Although the fish-to-chips ratio might err in the favour of our potato pals, the small, battered fish is a delight – fresh and flaky, just the way we like it – while the mushy peas are also spot on.
However, it’s the Southern-fried chicken and waffle that sparks a bout of food envy. The waffle comes in two sizeable shard-like servings, both perfectly fluffy in the middle and the ideal base for the crunchy chicken and dollop of truffle maple syrup.
Hunger sated, we decide to share our dessert (rather than give in), for which there’s a choice of sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fondant or burnt lemon tart. The latter is nicely executed – a sweet ending to what has been an enjoyable brunch by the sea.
We’ll we back… Especially if we can grab the same table…
Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs345 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 514 3778).
The bottom line
Hearty food, friendly staff and a highly enviable location.