How does the new-look D&A fare?

Burj Al Arab view from D&A

Burj Al Arab view from D&A – I cheat and return the following day for a decent daytime shot

Dubai; I am gutted. I am so looking forward to eating outside just to soak up this iconic view, but alas with the shamal and blustery wind sweeping in, we head indoors. Anyhow, we’re in D&A, the revamped Dhow & Anchor at Jumeirah Beach Hotel serving British grub.

The website claims advance reservations are not required but oh my for a Sunday evening – admittedly some kind of sport…football, rugby, cricket, who knows, is streaming from the plasma screens – it’s packed solid, but we manage to squeeze onto the last high table practically perching ourselves over the open-plan kitchen pass. The weather clearly impacts the covers inside, but I would advise booking.

I never dined here in its previous life, but from what friends tell me, it’s one helluva transformation for the better…and posher. The interior has a retro feel with tables scattered around the bar and a corner alcove where the sporting action is streamed.

The menu is pretty traditional, classic fare, with plenty of pork, even though D&A claims to offer modern British cuisine. There’s also a different roasted meat special every day, with one of the few spots in Dubai to offer pheasant – on a Saturday in case you’d like to try it.

D&A interiorThe portions streaming out of the kitchen are mammoth, so we skip starters despite dishes likes wood pigeon salad, confit rabbit shoulder and wait for this…egg and soldiers calling out to me. We settle for two main courses to share – a signature dish of fish and chips, and a grilled gammon steak. The fish is Scottish haddock (D&A is a firm supporter of Scottish produce recently hosting Chef Tom Kitchin) which arrives as two generous fillets – with the batter a light and bubbly golden crisp. The hand cut chips are chunky and moist – double fried am sure and go down well dunked in the freshly whipped tartare sauce. I am not the biggest fan of mushy peas in general, but the flavours here are relatively mild. The gammon is also served as a double whammy with two steaks, char-grilled well done. Did you know that gammon originates from the French word jambe referring to the hind leg of a pig? I think next time I might opt for it medium (which the waitress does suggest) to give a little more juicy bounce, even though toppings of caramelised pineapple and a sunny side up, free-range poached egg make this dish succulent enough. The same chips are also served here. Oh and there’s a lightly dressed mache salad as garnish.Fish and chipsGrilled gammon steak

Desserts or rather puddings I should say, cheeseboard included, look highly appealing, but I’ll have to save room for the blackberry Eton Mess another time. Definitely authentic British fare at D&A – the modern twist comes with the setting.

Drinks-wise, we steer away from the menu whose cocktails seem a little too sweet for our liking, and order dirty martinis (vodka not gin) happily accommodated by the waitress. Lethally good and some of the best I have sipped in Dubai…admittedly at AED65 a pop.

Service from the moment we walk in to paying the bill, is authoritative, knowledgeable and friendly in a restaurant so busy it’s turning over tables throughout our dinner. Our mains are priced AED115 and AED125 respectively – pretty much the average for all dishes. Starters range from AED60-90, whilst desserts are AED45-60. Now for a posh gastro pub which is how I would describe D&A, it ain’t cheap, but you get damn good quality fare for your dirhams. Once you’ve totted up a few drinks it’s no cheap and cheerful night down the pub though. But if like moi, you have the Entertainer app (or book), you only pay for one main course, in this case a saving of AED115, with zero hassle thanks to our waitress’ efficiency with the iphone redemption.

The new-look D&A joins the Brit gang of Reform and the more upmarket Rivington Grill to deliver wholesome, albeit pricey fare and slick service in a restaurant buzzing with regular punters and in-house guests. Next time, the weather had better hold up for a spot on the terrace. Here’s to a four out of five FooDiva knife rating.

If you’ve dined at Dhow & Anchor, how does D&A compare? Where do you go for your British fix?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 4
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6 Responses to “How does the new-look D&A fare?”

  1. Johann Z March 19, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Sounds like it could become a serious rival to Rivington Grill…. Especially with its iconic view of The Original Burj…….

    • FooDiva March 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      It’s a little more casual than the Riv. The Madinat location has a different view of the Burj 🙂

  2. GA March 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    So glad you enjoyed it, I prefer it to Rivington, I feel the food is better and of course the venue is just perfect, go again when the weather is good 🙂

  3. FooDiva March 23, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I will return for sure, but I’ll be honest I will always have a soft spot for the Riv in particular the Souk Al Bahar location. There’s room for all here though 🙂

  4. Michi May 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for a restaurant with a view of Burj al Arab? Our friends are visiting from Down Under and thought of taking them someplace (for lunch) where they can take some nice piccies of the Burj too…maybe something in Madinat.
    Would love some outdoor dining but not sure if the weather is bearable. I have the Entertainer app too and found a place called Shimmers in Mina A Salam but it’s outdoor seating 🙁
    Any other ideas?
    Pleeeeease help!!

    • FooDiva May 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      These three have Burj Al Arab views and a good vibe inside 🙂 Rivington Grill at Madinat Jumeirah, Villa Beach or La Parrilla at JBH. Hope this helps Michi 🙂

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