Velvet Lounge

Sophisticated lounge in the Dubai Marina

Time Out Says

The Velvet Lounge – no relation to its namesake at the Al Khaleej Palace Hotel – is crying out for an alcohol licence. A waitress told us that the document should be with them within a few weeks, but a manager at another Dubai Marina restaurant said the same thing to us a year ago and is still waiting. Everything else is in place. The cigar lounge is so well-stocked you have to trip over boxes of top Cuban rollers to reach to the Montecristo No 4s. The terrace, meanwhile, faces the multiple skylines of New Dubai, which look impressively less skeletal with every visit.

We took seats on the terrace only to be chilled, first by a bout of unexpected nippiness, and secondly, by some icy mocktails. Back inside, a pair of high backed and outrageously kitschy pink chairs tempted us towards the windows in the corner, through which we could admire an illuminated trinity of beachfront hotels; the Grosvenor House in blue, Le Royal Meridien in yellow and the Habtoor Grand in green.

My friend picked the goat’s cheese option from a dedicated bruschetta menu and was duly impressed; the cheese and tomato intermingled with a pronounced tang on nicely soft, olive oiled toast. My beef carpaccio tasted flavourful and fresh – the thinly-sliced beef and salty parmesan was given added crunch by pieces of celery. I wasn’t quite dexterous enough to deal with my main course, a tiny plate absolutely loaded with spicy garlic king prawns and, slightly riskily, a wild and purely decorative blue flame. Finding room on the plate for the peeled shells and eating without setting my hand on fire may have been a challenge, but at least it was a rewarding one; the prawns were succulent and meaty, if hardly exceptional, and the accompanying sauce packed a garlicky Tabasco sparked punch. A dauntingly large portion of Aussie lamb ribs was served to my friend, who was quick to praise the meat’s juiciness. These hearty mains were served without accompaniments – perhaps smaller portions and some vegetables would have made things more interesting.

We shared an indulgently chocolaty dessert, a fondue of melted white and dark chocolate with crushed Oreo cookies. Unfortunately the dipping utensils – a few fully-formed Oreos and some marshmallows – ran out after a few scoops of goodness, leaving us to wonder whether eating straight from the fondue bowl would be considered bad form.

Although the Velvet Lounge is a nice venue, it’s rather predictable. The chillout music, funky furniture and dim lighting have all been done elsewhere. And service is polite but over-attentive, and there’s so much of it – about ten members of staff sang goodbye to us as we left the restaurant. But Dubai Marina, if and when it’s finally licensed, will need a bar, and the Velvet Lounge – with good food and good views – will fit the bill nicely.

The bill (for two)
Beef carpaccio Dhs35
Goat’s cheese bruschetta Dhs28
Rack of lamb Dhs55
Spicy garlic prawns Dhs75
Cookies and cream fondue Dhs45
Coco berry mocktail Dhs18
Italian soda mocktail Dhs18
Water Dhs10
Total (including 10 per cent service charge) Dhs312

By Matthew Lee  | 16 Jan 2006

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Show number 04 360 8701
Dubai, Dubai Marina, Marina Walk - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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