To break up a soul-destroying shopping trip, the wife and I thought we’d venture out to check out the (relatively) newly opened “The Atrium” in the up-and-coming Al Habtoor City. I actually thought this place was new, but after discussing with the barstaff it turns out it has just celebrated its 1st birthday…..oops! Where does time go!?
Anyway! We rocked up at around 2pm, ready to tuck in to some classic British pub grub. The restaurant is on the ground floor, next to the entrance of W Hotel and you’ll feel right at home (if you’re a UK expat) stepping in, as it just looks like your typical UK, homely pub (less the years of decay – give it a few years!). Beer mats adorn the walls, there’s a pool table and they even have their own lager on tap.
We sat down, ordered a couple of drinks and waited for them to come back and take our food order. The restaurant was pretty quiet, the 3/4 booths they have were taken but that was about it – meaning there’s no excuse to leave us waiting for 15 minutes to order food. Finally, a gentleman sat behind us with his kids came up and said he worked at the hotel, and he would find out where the staff have gone. They finally came and we ordered a belly pork starter, a tikka masala and the signature burger.
By the time we’d ordered the food, the drinks still hadn’t arrived. I looked over to the bar and the barman was frantically spooning froth out of a pint of Guinness. He’d empty maybe an inch of foam, refill the remainder whilst swirling the glass (thus creating a big head again) and repeated this 3 times. I looked on in shock – especially having recently been to the Guinness factory and learning how it should be done. It finally came, glass not full, average head and my wife’s soda and fresh lime was soda and a “fresh” sugary, lime juice they’d concocted. Not good.
We sat down and chatted for a bit whilst playing dominoes and the starter came after about 10 minutes. When I see crispy belly pork as a starter, I expect lots of deliciously, dirty crackling but it turned out to be a round of pork with a thin layer of chewy crackling. There were the odd crispy bits and the pork was juicy, but it did miss that crunch.
The mains arrived shortly after and I immediately got food envy from the wife’s burger….it….looked….incredible. The burger towered over the plate and the fries were the gnarliest, crunchiest, delicious(est) looking fries I’d ever seen. It all had the taste to match as well, the burger was insanely juicy, perfectly cooked with beautifully crisp bacon inside and the fries were so good that I’m actually salivating thinking of them right now (which is not good when I’m on a bit of a diet!).
My curry unfortunately missed the mark – the sauce was tame, the chicken a bit dry and the poppadom not very crispy, but wasn’t ridiculously expensive and I’m probably more used to the local curries here than what they serve up in the UK now.
To wash down the curry, I opted for the house lager – I asked the barman what the story behind it was and he said it was a lager. Thanks – I can read. It wasn’t the best either, alright for quenching a thirst, but pretty tame overall.
A good thing about the place is that it accepts The Entertainer, so we got the three drinks mentioned, two mains and a starter for 108 AED – pretty good value (I also had the lager taken off my bill through Entertainer discount too which was a nice surprise!).
FOOD: 10.5/15 – Burger & Fries 9/10, Curry 5/10, Pork Starter 6/10. Amazing burger and fries!
SERVICE: 6/15 – Slow and need to learn how to pour a pint of Guinness.
DRINKS SELECTION: 2.5/5 – A few standard beers on tap and a couple of lagers but nothing spectacular. Just your standard pub offering – a little misleading as there’s posters around the bar for drinks that aren’t available.
AMBIANCE: 2.5/5 – Was dead when we went, but can see it being a good place to be if there’s some sport on
DESIGN: 3.5/5 – Feels like you’re in a pub!
VALUE: 3/5 – The prices are about mid-range for Dubai and with The Entertainer discount and a few happy hour deals, it can work out very reasonable for the location.
CONCLUSION: A mixed bag in terms of food and the service leaves a lot to be desired. The burger and fries though are spectacular and I’d recommend going just for that alone. Wouldn’t rush back though.