Cove Beach for lunch with a view

Cove Beach DubaiA sleek and sexy restaurant sits sheltered in a cove on Dubai’s Jumeirah beach with gorgeous views of Burj Al Arab. Newly opened Cove Beach at Jumeirah Beach Hotel is owned by an ex-Buddha Bar investor, but so far, by the looks of it, his new toy is thankfully taking a completely different direction. Let’s hope it remains that way.

The minimalist white and slate grey Cove Beach is split along multiple levels; an indoor-outdoor restaurant perched over a small swimming pool (looks more like a pond though); lounge seating where you can order from the same menu; a bar perfect for sundowners; and the beach decked with oversized sun loungers.

We settle for the lounge area; just a few steps from the sand with the wonderful view ahead. Given the beautiful location, I love that the menu focuses on simple, no-frills dishes with a broad European influence. Having said that, I would like to see a larger selection of grilled seafood, other than one king prawn dish.

A beef tartare with quail eggs, cornichons, onions and condiments of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces has a good kick and is prepared a la table. A nice touch – but oddly is neither accompanied by frites (the Belgian way) or toast (a la French). My father requests some toast or bread which we have to chase numerous times.

Cove Beach Dubai lunchA trio of sliders arrives with a beef patty and a crispy fried chicken fillet in brioche buns, and lobster in a squid ink roll. This was the one seriously disappointing dish of our lunch with the beef patty overcooked (we are not asked how we would like it served), whilst the chicken and the lobster completely lack flavour. The buns are also a little bit stale.

The tortellini is made in-house – six little al dente parcels filled with spinach and ricotta, and tossed in a silky smooth sage butter sauce. Delightful and well-executed, but the chef should be more generous with the pasta portion given it’s a main course.

I choose a roasted marinated corn-fed baby chicken, but what arrives is char-grilled. Despite the change in cooking technique, the meat is tender, succulent and tasty. With just a few cherry tomatoes on the vine as a garnish, the presentation is poor and unappealing, and at a pricey AED170 I expect more than a bit of chicken on a plate.

On the other hand, a trio of side dishes are prettily served in cast-iron skillets. The potato gratin has clearly been prepared in advance and simply reheated, with no sign of the oozy decadence expected with a Dauphinoise and its crème fraiche. A baked sweet potato is sliced into three generous chunks and sprinkled with chives – slightly under-cooked though. Green beans are sautéed wonderfully al dente.

Cove Beach Dubai dessertsOnto our two desserts and both the apple tatin and tiramisu are exceptional. The layers of puff pastry in the tatin are warm and crisp; the caramelised apples balance tangy with sweet; a simple garnish of an air-dried sliver of apple makes for a pretty presentation; and the smooth vanilla ice cream helps mop it all up. The tiramisu is elegantly presented in a glass bowl. The lightness and freshness of the mascarpone matches the perfect balance of coffee. The liquor can hardly be tasted which in my view is a positive as it can often overpower.

Sadly our lunch goes downhill with the slow and unresponsive service. In addition to the issue with the bread request, the waiter only starts to prep the tartare well after our other dishes arrive, so my father is left waiting whilst we eat. Plan the service to start this dish BEFORE the other mains arrive. A burrata dish is not available, but we are only told so after attempting to order it – you should be informing guests in advance. To top it all off, as with many restaurants, we have to chase the bill a number of times. The odd glitch in service may be acceptable if a restaurant is running at full house, but whilst Cove Beach has a few tables occupied it’s far from busy for a Saturday.

For three courses expect to pay on average AED360 per head without alcohol (it is licensed though). Now that’s a bloody expensive lunch for a casual day out by the beach especially given the service issues, and with a couple of dishes under par. On the upside though, Cove Beach well and truly ticks the location and atmosphere boxes. Dubai surprisingly lacks licensed restaurants right on the beach and I mean spots where you can literally feel the sand in your toes, so Cove makes for a welcome addition. An added bonus is that it shares the same entrance as 360, so there’s no need to enter the main hotel. My recommendation is to visit for a simple one-course lunch, or just a sundowner. But go there before word gets out and Dubai’s Buddha Bar crowd ruins it. Here’s to a three out of five FooDiva knife rating.

Where do you head to for a bite to eat with a cocktail on the beach?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3
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    Dubai, European, Hotels, International, Jumeirah, Licensed, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants
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20 Responses to “Cove Beach for lunch with a view”

  1. liljuma (Lina Juma) March 22, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    It’s such a shame the food and service is sub-par for such a nice location. I know I wont be rushing to eat there! I usually like going to The Beach House at Anantara Hotel in the Palm for a cocktail on the beach. I haven’t tried their food yet, and the service there is so-so, but I love their out door seating area. I guess we can’t always have it all!

  2. Nomsville March 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Used to be a fan of the good food at reasonable prices at Fujairah Hilton. A nice evening long drive for dinner, away from the crowds. While the beach isn’t massive, it’s a cute little spot away from the city.

    • FooDiva March 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

      OMG that brings back memories from when I used to work for Hilton…many an evening spent dining around that swimming pool.

  3. Dave Reeder March 22, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Can JBH possibly cram any more restaurants in? By my count there are now 20 F&B outlets, which must be close to a Dubai record for a single establishment! What is strange is that this is against the generally accepted hospitality wisdom which states that, apart from breakfast and perhaps a couple of meals during a week long stay, most guests will dine out in a foreign city – an almost irresistible temptation in a food rich city like Dubai. Which suggest the thinking is that JBH is targeting residents more and more but, given your experience, management will clearly have to up their game. Although not my choice of dish, interesting to see table-side preparation of dishes – would be intrigued to know how they got that past the Municipality, especially with raw food. I remember Ramsay claiming that this stele of service was due a comeback and I think, if done properly, that it’s a great crowd pleaser. Crêpes Suzette, anyone?

    • FooDiva March 23, 2015 at 10:44 am

      They are most definitely cramming them in Dave…Jumeirah Restaurant Group has just opened a new casual Indian restaurant there as well as a beach bar and lounge (in front of the Villa). I think Dubai is an anomaly though with hotels trying to retain inhouse guests as much possible by spoiling them with choice…but yes residents are a key target market too.

      Is there a municipality law that prevents table side prep of raw meat?…surely it’s the same method as in the kitchen? Yes please bring back crepes suzette!

      • Dave Reeder March 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

        Checking with my DM contact about table side food prep. I just have a feeling it may be controlled, given the drive for HACCP standards etc.

        • Dave Reeder March 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

          Just had a response from the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality. No specific rules apply but they strongly advise that restaurant sources from good supplier who has excellent temperature control system in place, that the met is handled safely and that diners are informed of potential problems from raw meat.

          • FooDiva March 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm

            I’d like to think that would apply to all food, raw seafood included! Thanks for checking Dave, much appreciated 🙂

  4. JayEim March 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    LoL….Well the Budha upstairs/downstairs crowd could hardly ruin it more than it already is……anyway the Brudah gang usually wake up after 15.00hrs before making a racket with their Oh So Silent JetSkis……Shame that Bugatti/Ferrari/Lomboni do not make amphibian JetSkis which would do nicely out of the water and onto The Beach.

    (Note to self: Register the Idea to submit to BugaFeraLambo)

    Having said that, the love bill is rather cheap as I would easily add couple of hundred Dirhams for good measure…After all, it’s only money for lousy service and canteen food ( I thought Canteen is written Cantine….my Spanish is very poor ).

    I say. Bring back the Tea Ladies with the Bourbon Biscuits and Cream Salad sandwiches 🙂

    As for the Tiramisu. I am a kind of a reference on this dessert as my daughter (who can’t cook even cold water) decided to bake a Tiramisu with her friend. It was the best Tiramisu that I have ever tasted……..Fast Forward……few weeks later, I discovered that my lovely bottle of Mozart liqueur is rather empty….she managed to dump almost a whole bottle of Mozart Liqueur in the Tiramisu… wonder I enjoyed my dessert and had a solid nap thereafter.

    One question which is kind of bugging me? Does Cove Beach really impose a dress code where men have to wear the ubiquitous Vilebrequin and Polo Waff Luren or would a Speedo Spandex with a toupée is acceptable?

    Inquiring minds like to know!

    • FooDiva March 23, 2015 at 10:47 am

      I am rolling on the floor laughing Jay :). As for the dress code, you’ll just have to try it out and let me know. Remember to take a photo!

  5. Elena March 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    My experience at the Cove Beach was mediocre as far as food is concerned. My tortellini was such a small portion but tasty, Service not very good though there were a few waiters around. Prices on the high side for what we received. The only positive point is the location right on a sandy beach with views of Burj Al Arab!

    • FooDiva March 23, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Sounds like you had a similar experience Elena. Dubai does really struggle to deliver on service and food when the location is perfect. Thanks for sharing your feedback here.

  6. IshitaUnblogged March 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Again sad to hear that the service doesn’t keep up to the view. We really need boozy shacks on the beach. Have you been to Goa? We went to a place called Eric’s… funky, very localised and really stylish – great food, sand on your toes… miss all this in Dubai!

    • FooDiva March 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      I have been to Goa, many years ago Ishita and I do remember a delightful seafood ‘shack’ on the beach…can’t for the life of me recall if it was Eric’s though!

  7. Bee March 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Dave et all,

    If you want Crepe Suzette prepared at the table on an old fashioned wooden trolley, just the way it is supposed to be, head to Hatta Fort Hotel. They have a lovely old fashioned French inspired cuisine restaurant and make the Crepe Suzette at the table with flames and all. Wonderful experience and service!

    • FooDiva March 28, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      They used to also prepare the world’s best Caesar salad at the table Bee 🙂 I wonder if they still do. #goodolddays

  8. Fletch May 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Pretty much the same experience I had.

    The chef is clearly really good and the food was fine – if overpriced – but the service was slow, wrong things were brought out and you had to go chasing after a waiter at times.

    And it’s a bit of a lottery who you’re sat next to. We were next to a big group of loud, squiffy people smoking shisha. Not great.

    where ARE the really good Jumeirah places though? If you did a top 20 restaurants in Dubai would any of them be Jumeirah?

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