Meet the UAE’s first smokehouse – Perry & Blackwelder

Perry & Blackwelder - Souk Madinat Jumeirah - Dubai restaurantsThe UAE has its first smokehouse. Yes we have Fümé with a handful of smoked dishes – but Dubai’s Perry & Blackwelder is a new casual American restaurant dedicated to all food smoked over a barbeque. It sits in Souk Madinat Jumeirah replacing the infamous and rather tired Barzar.

The longwinded name, P&B for ease of reference, pays homage to Henry Perry and John Blackwelder, who after the American civil war, took to the roadsides in the South to make a living running barbeque stands, passing on their craft to others.

Anyhow enough of the concept, what strikes me about the menu is that there are no appetisers per se, but a compact one-page choice of sandwiches, salads, smoked barbequed meats on the bone and off. If you’re veggie don’t bother going, there’s only a couple of dishes (and certainly no seafood). Oh and there’s no pork licence whilst we’re at it, which given how prolific pig is to this cuisine, is a real shame. Dishes come quirkily named, like Colt 45 and Brontosaurus. There’s a small cocktail list with classics (seriously good margaritas), and some interesting mixes served in mason jars.

At our very helpful waiter’s suggestion, we order ten chicken wings to share as a starter (larger portions of 20 or 30 are also available). It arrives in a wire basket with some crudités and a wonderfully smooth blue cheese dip, but the latter is served in a styrofoam bowl. Really Jumeirah, we’re in a five-star deluxe location, and yes the concept may be casual, but why just this one dish in plastic rubbish?! On the upside, the wings are bursting with juicy, succulent meat – there’s a hint of smokiness and spice (the marinade option we choose). We polish them off.

Onto our mains which both arrive in hot cast-iron skillets on a rubber place mat to avoid burning our fingers. Plastic’s fine in this case 😉 An upturned chicken (half portion) barbequed with a beer can. Now this one is a FooDiva special that I roast at home every now and again – but whilst P&B’s does fall off the bone, it’s really quite bland, with none of the expected smokiness. On the other hand, a huge portion of prime beef short ribs is smoked over mesquite wood, giving it a delightful, sweet, earthy flavour – this dish really does fall apart at the touch of a fork. Tangy sliced gherkins accompany both dishes.

Side dishes can be ordered in three portion sizes – a novel touch. The mac and cheese (a 14th century British creation by the way, not American) is the highlight – al dente macaroni with lashings of gooey cream and a mild cheese sauce. But the biggest disappointment of the evening is the over-cooked, stewed veggies – green beans and a portion of collard and mustard greens. Perhaps that’s a Southern trait, but wilted texture aside, they have zero flavour.

We share a seriously decadent and moreish banana pudding, once again thanks to our jovial waiter’s recommendation. Layered with fresh cream and bananas, it’s similar to a Banoffee, but sans the toffee – and comes topped with a couple of Jaffa-like sponge biscuits.

The structural bar elements of BarZar remain, but we sit outside on the lower terrace with its utilitarian, diner-style décor, and a view into the glassed-off kitchen. It’s just a shame that the ridiculously loud sound-checking for Dubai Film Festival ruins any chance of conversation. A month into opening and it’s practically empty for a Tuesday night – but then again P&B has not actively been promoted yet, so hopefully it will get busier.

The highlight of our dining experience is by far the exceptional service with a knowledgeable, chatty and relaxed waiter who manages to strike that fine balance of attentiveness without intrusiveness. At AED200 per person without alcohol, P&B is a reasonably priced restaurant but just remember it is a super casual night out. Some of the dishes require better execution and presentation (get rid of the styrofoam please), whilst a small selection of starters would enhance the menu. But kudos to Jumeirah’s new restaurant group for addressing a gap in the market by developing an interesting, home-grown concept. Here’s to a 3 out of 5 FooDiva knife rating.

Can anyone familiar with American smokehouses shed some light on P&B’s authenticity…pork aside of course?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3
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    American, Dubai, Hotels, Jumeirah, Licensed, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Smokehouse
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19 Responses to “Meet the UAE’s first smokehouse – Perry & Blackwelder”

  1. Johann Z December 14, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    This review makes me curious – they seem to have conquered the ‘attentive service mountainous obstacle’ but should I or should I not try the P&B or not as a 3 Knife rating is not that good? Shame they do not have a pork license – are they considering getting one?
    Thanks for an informative review and will let you know if I decide to try it out.

    • FooDiva December 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      3 is average Johann. If you’re after a relatively quick, casual bite to eat then do go – the chicken wings alone are worth it. A new separate kitchen would need to be built for the pork, so don’t expect that anytime soon!

  2. JayEim December 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for your review…but…tsst, tssst, tsssst……

    I will be soon at the Bodean’s and having their “Boss Hog Platter” with Pulled Pork and Burnt Ends and a side of Chilli Cheese Fries……=…..drooling till Dec 21st 😉

    Anyone to sign up Bodean’s at Dubai sur Mer ou sur le Sable peut-être?

    On second thought, might as well warm up at P&B……just to make sure to enjoy Bodean’s even more 🙂

    As for the Mac&Cheese, I must admit that I never had any as at the family table it used to be Nouilles au Gratin…..empirical, you may say. Cheddar or Gruyère….Plonk or Cheval Blanc….just sayinnn!

    • FooDiva December 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      If you’re going to Bodean’s then I would skip P&B for now Jay…leave it until you have a non-pork ribs craving in Dubai. On that note, have you tried Pitt Cue Co in London and its pulled pork? Started off as a food truck and now has a teeny restaurant in Soho. Well worth it 🙂

      Well I learnt something from you today with the nouilles au gratin…so what is its origin?

  3. JayEim December 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    – I will put pittcue on the roaster. Thank you.

    – I have no idea on the origin of Nouilles au Gratin except that we used to have it served at dinner with a steak on the side and a green salad for good measure.

    The pasta had to be Conchiglie, the cheese Gruyère and a Bechamel crémée.

    The variant was to add either shredded chicken or salmon flakes in which case the Conchiglie would be replaced by Fettuccine……I also like my Gratin with jambon and mushrooms.

    It is a very Frenchy dish albeit neither the pasta or the Gruyère are French.

    I don’t know whether the Nouilles au Gratin preceeds the Mac&Cheese or vice versa.
    One is tralala and the other is Oi.

    What I know is that Gratin is of French descent in which case any Gratin is subsequent to French cuisine???
    The Gratin Dauphinois might be the grandfather of them all. However, no Bechamel for the real Gratin Dauphinois but only cream if cheese is added then it becomes a Gratin Savoyard……fast forward for a Gratin multi variations and Bechamel a gogo.

    Now this post is making me hungry and time to raid the kitchen.

    • FooDiva December 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I have a day in Paris end of this month so I will search for it Jay 🙂

  4. GA December 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Great review, thanks for sharing with us all. I am tempted just for the mac n cheese!

    • FooDiva December 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks. That you must…with a side of chicken wings GA 🙂

  5. Tasha December 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    A disappointment. Patchy service on a quiet night. They were out of beef brisket ( we were told after we’d ordered) at 730pm on a weeknight which was the main reason for our visit. It wasn’t till we had finished our (average) mains that one of the servers suggested we should have opted for the ribs which were cooked similarly. I’m afraid I won’t be back; we paid dhs200 for two very average mains and a bottle of water (one of the mains had no sides either).

    • FooDiva December 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Gosh they really failed you on the service front Tasha. It’s all about managing expectations, and they should have mentioned the unavailability of beef brisket when they presented you with a menu. A shame as the concept is good and much-needed.

  6. Hannah Joji December 18, 2014 at 11:58 am

    We decided to go last week to P&B smoke house. Unfortunely because of Diff, we did not find parking and sadly we returned back home. Plan to go after Diff gets over. I can’t wait further to try out their brisket which I tasted at one of their cooking demos at Bloomingdales home. It was yummy!
    Will shed more light once I vist this much awaited American smoke house P & B.

    • FooDiva December 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      As per a reader comment above, let’s hope the brisket’s on the menu Hannah 😉 Let me know how it fares.

  7. Hannah Joji December 20, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Hi Foodiva,
    Yesterday we decided to go to Smokehouse P&B.. We reached there at 9.20 PM. We were surprised when we were told that after 10 PM only 21 yrs above are allowed as they serve drinks. My son, 15 yr old was with us. I said, no one told us about this. The staff there apologized. She said, I am surprised no one told you about this. They should have told us. When I spoke to a lady at the smoke house, I was told.. No reservations required and we can come and nothing was mentioned about not getting children after 10 PM. We returned back home the second time disappointment.
    They should have informed us that children below 21 yrs not allowed after 10 pm. To my surprise, I saw few kids were sitting there and eating. Service is poor. I feel it is because of lack of understanding customer relationship by the management and the staff of Smoke house P&B. The Staff was discussing our case with the restaurant manager who was just 5 feet away from us but he did not have the courtesy to say hello to us. Needs great improvement. This is exactly the opposite service we received at Tortuga in Madinat Jumeirah hotel.

    • FooDiva December 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

      What terrible customer service Hannah. They should highlight this on their website and should have informed you when you called. And the fact that other kids were eating there…well perhaps they were Jumeirah staff kids 😉 I have eaten at Tortuga a number of times and concur that the service is top notch, as is the food.

      • Kevin Rotherham January 12, 2015 at 10:37 pm

        The law in the UAE clearly states that under 21s are not allowed in a bar environment after 10pm. Maybe different in a restaurant. But this is clearly a bar orientated establishment. It’s not their fault you aren’t aware of the law.

  8. Hannah Joji December 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Finally yesterday we managed to go to P&B smokehouse for lunch. Food was good…Especially the slow smoked mesquite Brisket with Potato Salad and green beans and for starters, Chicken wings with BBQ flavor and texas BBQ nachos was delicious. For desert we had Banana pudding and velvet cheese cake. It was yummy.
    We were very happy the way we were treated. Definitely service needs to be improved. However Chef Lawrence personally made sure we were comfortable inspite of his hectic schedule.

    • FooDiva December 29, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Glad their service recovery finally kicked in Hannah.

      • Hannah January 28, 2015 at 6:55 pm

        Indeed glad P&B smokehouse has improved on their service. Last week my friend went there and she was all in praises..

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