It would probably be easier to get into Buckingham Palace than brunch at STK, such is the long waiting list at the in-demand Friday soirée.
It’s with anticipation, then, that we head to the swanky US import that prides itself on being as much as a steakhouse as it is a nightlife venue. And taking Highly Commended in our Best Fine Dining Newcomer category, we eagerly await the cuts on offer at brunch.
At Dare to Brunch, STK promises the “ultimate blend of food-meets-party” and the crowd are dressed to the nines.
With sister restaurants in London, New York and Miami, the uber-trendy steakhouse brand fits well with Dubai’s nightlife and dining scene. The space is cool and moodily lit, with bold artwork and pretty cherry blossom trees.
We’re seated in the conservatory, which is starkly bright in comparison, and away from the action, which becomes lamentable as the party gets going a couple of hours in.
But first things first – paying the bill. No food has yet arrived and the payment process is longwinded. It would be better to do at the door, or at the end. Over half an hour later, we’re finally able to get started on the meal, by which point our stomachs are growling louder than the Queen’s corgis.
Starters are shared and include a platter of oysters, burrata, beef tartare and tamarind-glazed prawns. All are excellent, especially the tartare, which is delicate, fresh and flavoursome. The prawns are big and juicy – although a bit stingy, at one per person – while the burrata is creamy and moreish with tart tomatoes.
For mains there’s a choice of fillet, striploin, roasted salmon and porcini risotto. We opt for the fillet, and can’t wait for it to arrive. Unfortunately when it does it’s overcooked – as are the rest of our table’s. The meat isn’t of the top quality we’d hoped for either. It’s hugely disappointing for a restaurant priding itself on steaks.
The sides, however, are tremendous, including creamy mac’n’cheese, crunchy green veg and crisp fries.
By now the atmosphere has really started to pick up and dancers flail energetically on raised platforms surrounding dining tables in the restaurant to lively music. But we’re are left as bystanders – literally on the outside looking in.
A saxophonist makes his way out in an attempt to include us and he succeeds, charming us no end with his upbeat tunes.
Desserts arrive on the cusp of kicking-out time and are sharing dishes of chocolate mousse, crème brûlée and cheesecake, all presented with panache.
The atmosphere has been good – more so for those inside – and the majority of the food has been tasty. It’s a shame therefore that the selling point is such a letdown, especially with a Dhs499 price tag.
With a few tweaks STK could be excellent, but we’ll be sticking to dinner here in future.
Dhs349 (soft drinks), Dhs499 (house drinks). Fri 1pm-4pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 232 0061).
The bottom line
Fun, but not worth the month-long wait.