Pharaoh Café and Restaurant

Kitsch new venue inside Old Dubai’s Arabian Courtyard Hotel
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Time Out Says

Inside Old Dubai’s Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, an Indo-Arabian hotel, one of the restaurant spaces has recently been refurbed and relaunched as an Egyptian-Mediterranean venue.

Although new, the Pharaoh Café and Restaurant already looks like an old-time, old-town restaurant that hasn’t seen an interior designer in decades. Yes, the space is now full of museum-esque artefacts and pictures depicting the ancient Egyptians and their pharaohs. However, the decor (including naff little touches such as the fake bunches of grapes on one counter) looks very much like an old- fashioned hotel buffet and breakfast spot. Just with a rather kitsch theme.

The restaurant was relatively full when we last visited on a weekday night. Staff were absolutely doing their best, but seemed desperately stretched. On arrival, the reception desk was empty. We later found the host (dressed like an ancient Egyptian) running around waiting tables, with only one other waiter to help him, so we feel rather guilty telling you that menus, drinks and food all took too long to arrive at the table.

The menu doesn’t feel very Egyptian, despite the odd koshari. The first few pages are standard Mediterranean Arabic fare, followed by burgers (including a camel recipe), plus an odd and jarring collection of dishes, including mac and cheese, Philly steak and club sandwiches.

The standard of what was served was edible, but pretty ordinary. Both the baba ganoush and (apparently Egyptian-style) hummus were fine; nothing special, although both were unusually spicy. The grilled halloumi were plump, moist and pleasantly buttery slabs of cheese. The Egyptian feta salad was a fresh, bright and cooling mix of cucumber and mint, and although the feta itself was exceptionally creamy, it lacked the tangy, salty flavour. The platter of fatayer was especially disappointing since each pastry was overly doughy, stodgy and undercooked. The mixed grill failed to impress as well – as it was overcooked and unappetising.

We actually feel bad to have to tell you that we can’t really see the point of this restaurant. The best thing about our dining experience was the view of Al Fahidi Fort from the window. But that’s about it. Pharaoh Café and Restaurant is essentially an exercise in feeding hungry people on stopovers. If you are not sleeping in the building, you have no reason to stop by.

The bill (for two)
1x baba ganouj Dhs22
1x hummus masri Dhs22
1x gibna masri Dhs22
1x jibna halloumi Dhs30
1x fatayer combo Dhs48
1x mixed grill Dhs79
2x soft drinks Dhs30
Total (including service) Dhs253

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 08 Sep 2015

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6:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Sunday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMMonday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMTuesday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMWednesday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMThursday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMFriday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PMSaturday: 6:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Show number 04 351 9111
Dubai, Bur Dubai, Al Fahidi St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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