How does the new W Grill & Cocktail Terrace at Wafi fare?
Dubai; Wherever I turn of late, a new steakhouse springs up, whether it’s called just that, or a grill, same difference frankly. Gaucho at DIFC, Terra Firma at Intercontinental Festival City, The Grill at Citymax hotel, or W Grill at Wafi. Does this town not have enough decent steakhouses already? Anyhow, let’s see how the latter, the European-styled, W Grill & Cocktail Terrace as the folks at Wafi like to call it, fared.
Located in the Pyramids complex on the main thoroughfare to Wafi mall, W Grill has replaced Mahi Mahi, the seafood eatery which FooDiva never got round to visiting. Did you? Enter via Thai Chi into a huge indoor and outdoor space that can quite happily seat up to nearly 300 diners; a terraced cocktail bar overlooking the glass pyramid, a glasshouse conservatory and indoor dining area. From what FooDiva’s been told, the restaurant has not been revamped much, reflected in the slightly drab and tired decor – a real shame the look and feel doesn’t match the menu’s Art Deco typeface. Talking of the menu, you have the choice of a salad and dessert buffet, as well as a la carte starters, mains, sweets and cheese – and you can mix and match.
Having had the salad bar at the media opening last month, FooDiva was keen to try the a la carte starters. Spotting a Yorkshire pudding on a seared foie gras starter with caramelised Bramley apple compote and balsamic onion gravy helped seal my appetiser choice – but the two mini puddings arrived baked to the point of all-round crispiness, with none of the fresh, fluffy centre you’d expect to dig into. Clearly they had been reheated. I also expected the perfectly seared foie gras to sit in the pud. Other starter dishes from my dining companions included an asparagus soup with a goats cheese toast – lukewarm with a tad too much olive oil, and pan-fried prawns in a spicy garlic, chilli, parsley and olive oil sauce – whilst the sauce had plenty of punch, the prawns were a little overcooked and therefore chewy.
You can’t go to a grill without trying the steaks; FooDiva’s Australian Angus beef rib-eye, grain-fed for 150 days before slaughter was cooked exactly as per my order, rare and full of flavour like a rib-eye should be. Note, the smaller 12 oz is a huge portion. You need an accompanying sauce, in my case a smooth bearnaise to help mop up the juices. I had high hopes for a side order of duck fat roasted potatoes, but the strong after-taste lead me to think they too had been pre-cooked and reheated – but made up for in the cauliflower gratin; steaming hot with the cheese and bechamel bubbling away.
Two other mains impressed my friends; the braised lamb shank served with minty mushy peas and onion marmalade – word of warning the portion is just huge – and the pan-roasted wild seabass with lobster mash and baby spinach. Absolutely no room for dessert, but if the crepe station with live flambéing is anything like it was at the opening, FooDiva would have ordered the crepes Suzette.
Service was excellent throughout from the welcome to the bill; attentive without being obtrusive. Great to see a restaurant with quite a few round tables. W Grill would benefit from dimming the lights to create some much-needed intimacy and ambiance – especially given the outside glow of the Pyramids and its impressive sound and light show. Thanks to a 50% discount card, our bill for five people with two bottles of prosecco and one of vino came to AED 225 a head, but budget for double, unless W Grill is running a special promotion like the current two for the price of one. Excellent deal which I expect is driven by the lack of punters, evident in a restaurant running at half capacity on a Friday evening.
Whilst the service impressed, some dishes do need more attention, as does the interior. Would FooDiva return? For dinner, unlikely, especially with neighbouring Medzo ticking so many more boxes, and a wealth of good grills vying for my dirhams – but the outdoor terrace appeals in the current sublime clime so I would give it a go for a weekend lunch. Here’s to a 2 out of 5 FooDiva knife rating.
Have you experienced W Grill? What’s your favourite steakhouse or grill in Dubai?
If I don’t touch base beforehand, here’s to a fabulous, food-filled New Year FooDiva Friends .