Okay, so the idea that only men can enjoy sports, computer games and burgers is a little outdated, but we’re sure it’s all done with Cook Hall’s tongue firmly in cheek.
The action takes place upstairs on the gastropub’s mezzanine level. It has everything a man (or woman) could want for a pub-based day of fun. There’s a dart board, pool table, PlayStation 4 and hops pong to play with, big screens showing sports and cult movies and a rocking soundtrack of classic tunes.
The package is a one-stop shop. Pay Dhs299 and get three-and-a-half hours of drinks and food starting from the moment you set foot in the venue, whatever time of day that is (though the last session starts at 9pm). For that you get to order two starters, a main and dessert per person, and you’ll be left to your own devices at the bar (you can pour your own pints, grape and short drinks and there are wheelbarrows filled with bottles and cans of hops).
While the amount of food you can order is limited, the portions are big enough to fill you up, and the dishes themselves are hearty and filling. The venue was Highly Commended in the Best Casual Newcomer category at our 2017 Restaurant Awards for good reason – the food is top-notch. If there’s a group of you brunching, you’ll be able to order pretty much everything from the selection of starters, and we recommend you do. However, the sticky, moreish barbecue chicken wings, shrimp po’ boy and Reuben sliders are absolute must-tries. The duck tacos get an honourable mention, too.
This is high-end pub grub, expertly done.
Main courses are also great, though highlights are the monster-sized burger, wobbly, tender short rib and perfectly fried fish and chips, which are impressively chunky.
We have to admit that on our two visits (yes, we liked it that much), desserts are a step too far and we stick to savoury, though previous experience at the bar tells us they’re worth trying to save room for, even if we can’t manage to do it.
So, the food, drinks and entertainment are all on point. Are there any drawbacks? Well, yes, there’s a distinct lack of people. And while that means we have free rein and the undivided attention of the staff, it also means the vibe is missing.
The Al Habtoor City location is still one people seem to struggle with, though access is definitely easier now than it was before.
It’s a real shame as this is a unique offering and good value. Hopefully people will flock in over the summer, as it seems to be the perfect deal for those dads who find themselves alone while their families go home.
Get a few more bodies in and we’ll be happy to retreat to The Cave on a regular basis.
Dhs299 (selected beverages). Sat noon-midnight (3.5-hour package). The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 435 5577).
The bottom line
Good value, great food and a top idea.