It was my birthday recently, so the wife booked the family in for lunch at Media One’s new casual dining venue on their ground floor.
It was a Friday afternoon – in Ramadan – in a place that wasn’t serving a brunch, so our expectations were low in terms of there being a rowdy atmosphere and we were correct. Just us and two other diners were seated in the expansive restaurant.
When entering, we were immediately impressed by the awesome sheep sculptures dotted around the place, made from old-school telephones. The rest of the interiors were a little uninspiring though; it was like they’d rehashed an old restaurant and added a few little trendy features to bring it up to date, rather than it being purpose built for the brand.
We got sat down and had a look through the menus and ordered a round of drinks for the table. Rather than launching into a lengthy diatribe, I’ll succinctly sum it up in bullets:
- the server took over 10 minutes to take our order because “she didn’t really speak English”.
- I ordered the Bulmers; it was advertised in the menu as “568ml bottles”, they arrived and were 500ml – I asked if there was a discount because of this and they said no.
- one of the guests ordered the “Brooklyn IPA” he received a “Brooklyn Lager” and was told that he was wrong by the server and he received what he ordered in the menu, a “manager” came over and reiterated that he was wrong.
- it took 25 minutes for all our drinks to arrive, despite there being two other guests at the restaurant.
- I checked if we could use the entertainer voucher with the Bulmers bucket – they said yes, but later on, they said we had to pay for both buckets as it wasn’t included.
So yeah, the service was dreadful.
After waiting another 25 minutes for our second round and having finally got to the point of all being ready to order food, I was ready to leave – but thought we’d better stick it out to try the food. Despite the awful service, the menu looked very appealing, with a host of interesting sharing dishes, classics and mains. We opted to get some starters to share around the table and a couple of mains.
One of the dishes that caught my eye was the “Cheese on Toast”. It wasn’t over-sold on the menu, it was just advertised humbly with “onion jam & chutney”, my curiosity got the better of me – could they reinvent the lazy, home-classic – or would it be like something I could knock up at home in 2 minutes for around 2 dirhams? I’ll let you be the judge:
JUST LOOK AT IT.
The best bits of a toastie are the oozy, cheesy bits that stick to the toastie-maker and go all crispy and this was basically one big gnarly, crispy, yummy, desperately-unhealthy, jaffle made in heaven. For 29 dirhams, I don’t think there’s a dish that can compete in the UAE so I say go to qwerty and try it – you will not be disappointed.
The rest of the dishes were very enjoyable as well. The wife and I had the manchego and corn fritters with a dollop of capsicum jam and they were delicious, the sharpness of the manchego going so well with the accompanying flavours. The quesadillas were OK, not the best I’ve had (was hoping for a little twist like in other dishes), but tasty nonetheless. The garlic prawns were fresh and generous and the grilled chicken was enjoyed by the table. A big tick on the food front.
After we’d finished, another member of staff came up to our table and asked us how things were going, we explained how much we loved the food but mentioned the problems with the services throughout the day – she was horrified and wholeheartedly apologized, promptly bring over a selection of desserts. She also said she would honour our voucher for the ciders and looked after us for the rest of the afternoon. After that, service was flawless, drinks arrived quickly and we were really well treated – such a shame we couldn’t have had her throughout the whole day!
The desserts were very good – I’m a sucker for rhubarb so the crumble went down a treat and the rest of the table demolished the boozy tiramisu and lemon meringue pie.
To be fair, after an appalling start things recovered well and we all went home pretty satisfied of the overall experience.
FOOD: 13/15 – Didn’t have a bad dish on the table and the cheese on toast was absolutely outrageous.
SERVICE: 7.5/15 – Went from appalling to excellent, so only fair to mark in the middle
DRINKS SELECTION: 2/5 – The standard fare of drinks, was frustrated that drinks weren’t sold advertised in the menu (different beer / wrong size cider)
AMBIANCE: 2.5/5 – Not much atmosphere in the place unfortunately, but to be fair, we picked a terrible time to go.
DESIGN: 3/5 – It’s a bit bog-standard and looks like they’ve revamped an old place but they have a few nice features that are talking points
VALUE: 4/5 – Very affordable menu with a good range of cheaper dishes and splurge-y dishes. With Entertainer vouchers as well, your money can go a long way.
CONCLUSION: Surprisingly good food, with a world-beating cheese toastie – only let down by some really poor service in the first half. If you’re in the area, pop in for a lunchtime beer and a cheese toastie, it’s incredible.