Before I start this one, I would like to say that the Manager did take my meal off the bill when I explained what had happened.
As anyone in any city knows, you always end up going to the same places over and over. This gets old and tired really easily. So, in a bid to get out of our rut, we made 2014 the year to try new places. This is how we ended up with a table of 13 (ages ranging from 20 to 60!) for one of the girl’s birthdays.
Sunset brunch is a sit down affair, and the staff bring you sampler plates of numerous dishes. Great, in theory. Not in reality, especially when not one of the dishes made it to the table warm.
Mum and I had arrived late due to the IKEA assembly team being late and also the absolutely hideous traffic along JBR. In the end we abandoned our taxi and walked the last block.
We struggled to get anyone’s attention for a drink. It was only when 4 of us simultaneously called for the server who was walking past, that we were paid attention to. Sadly, and of course, that wasn’t the person who took drinks orders. About 15 mins later, we had drinks. A while after that, they started (rather begrudgingly) bringing out the starter dishes we had missed out on.
And here is where my issues really kicked in.
I am intolerant to wheat (thankfully I am not celiac) and I am severely allergic to pretty much all nuts. I know there is a couple that I am not allergic to, but I am not eating them to see if that is still the case after all these years!!
When the dishes were put down in front of us, I explained to the waiter that I had food allergies and asked him to explain what the dishes were. This was easy as it was cheese, salmon and some more cheese. I couldn’t tell you exactly what they were as I couldn’t really hear the waiter, but they were lovely. Much assurance that they had nothing I couldn’t eat in them. Well, I guess “pine nuts” aren’t nuts in their world. Thankfully they were sprinkled on top of one of the dishes so I was able to see them and not try.
Since that little issue had come up, I decided to just keep asking each time they put stuff down in front of me. Genius plan, you’d think.
Thanfully I didn’t like the look of any of the next set of dishes that came our way. Except the noodles, and I am always wary of noodles. So, I asked and the man nodded that it was fine. Thankfully, someone else warned me that they thought they tasted peanuts in the dish. I double checked with a lovely lady, and yes… they did have. Good thing I avoided that. I also thankfully avoided the mango and papaya salad. That somehow had nuts in it too. Even my mother who is obsessive about flavour profiles of nuts so she can warn me didn’t pick up on anything.
The meatballs arrived, and again, the waiter said that they were fine. So, I asked if they were not bound with wheat flour, as a lot of meatballs are. He then had a lightbulb moment and remembered that in fact they do.
When the tempora vegetables arrived, I went through the same line of questioning again. Assured they were not wheat flour battered, I ploughed in as by this point I was hugely hungry.
Yeah… bad move. Very quickly I realised they were in fact wheat flour battered. Like I said earlier, thankfully I am not celiac.
The ‘garnishes’ for the meat course arrived. Mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Like all good Brits, we didn’t all dive head first into them despite being hungry. We waited for the meat to arrive. Half an hour later there was no sign of it. Complaints went up. They were removed.
Next was a Malaysian prawn curry. Years of experience have taught me to avoid stuff like that. Good thing too as a while later a waitress came over and warned me it contained nuts.
The fish that it was accompanied by was cold and revolting. One of the girls said it tasted like it was on the verge of being off. I have to agree.
Then some meat arrived. Beef and lamb in favour marinades. I do have to say that the flavours were lovely. Such a shame they were all stone cold.
Nope… seriously…. not kidding. Absolutely nothing that was placed on our table was even warm. Forget hot. There was much happiness when more sides arrived, and then more meat. It was the only truly edible part of the meal. Even cold!!
Desert round next. Thankfully I do not eat sugar so I wasn’t tempted by the ‘lychee mouse’ put down in front of me with again the assurance of no wheat and no nuts. I say ‘thankfully’ because it was full of nuts by all accounts.
Speaking of sugar, I do not have it in my diet. I function much better without it. It makes me quite sick. So, I order diet sodas. Diet Sprite and Diet 7up are my go to drinks as I choose not to have caffeine in my diet either. I am quiet happy with this, although admittedly the addition of caffeine would be handy sometimes! Anyway, so I ordered my drinks and, having learned from many mix ups over the evening, I double and triple check that it is the diet version.
The 3rd glass categorically wasn’t. Half way through I started to feel ropy from it. Well, that and the tempora earlier!
Speaking of drinks, the rest of the table bar 2 people were having the alcoholic beverage package. Service was abysmally slow. One of the girls had asked for a specific drink which differed from the rest of the table who had discovered a very good new cocktail apparently. It took her 2hrs to get it, despite asking for it a number of times.
When the bill came, they did take mine off as promised. However, they argued with one of the ladies who hadn’t been had the alcohol package, as they had “handed her cocktails”. It was besides the point that she handed them straight onto her husband. She was just bored of the staff leaning over her and having things dripped over her as they handed things across, so was helping. It was resolved, but it really was the final straw for me and a good few others.
It is such a shame though. The setting is beautiful and the flavours had the potential to be good. The staffing let them down, as did the inability to serve their food at appropriate temperatures. They didn’t have any issue bringing extras of the dishes we requested, so points for that. Equally, they were very small portions and you were expected to share one between two.
Would I recommend this place? No, not in the least. Not unless at some point I was to go back and the results were spectacularly different.
Value for Money: 5/10 – If it had been an evening with no issues, it would have scored much higher.
Cost: AED200 for the soft drinks package, AED350 for the alcoholic beverage package