As the pièce de résistance of my birthday celebrations (oh yes, I milked it this year), the decision was made to take advantage of one of the best steak houses in the country, Prime 68. I’ve never been before, but heard nothing but good things from friends who have visited and the online reviews speak for themselves.
We’d tried getting in on the Thursday night, but sadly it was fully booked (hence the last minute visit to Il Borro), thankfully, Saturday night was available. We arrived at the restaurant at 8pm and it was extremely quiet, maybe 6-8 other diners were there the whole night.
We were taken to our window-side table that had fantastic views over the city. The 68 in Prime 68 is the floor number if you didn’t know and from that high up, you really get some breathtaking views over Downtown and Business Bay. We were introduced to the restaurant by our friendly host and were brought over a trolley, showcasing their sumptuous steak.
We’d all decided prior, that we’d go big with the mains and sides and perhaps squeeze in a couple of desserts if we could manage. I put my faith in the service service team for their steak and wine recommendation so went with their Prime Rib Eye (325 AED) and a bottle of 2011 Tinto Arzuaga (many, many AEDs).
The wine was absolutely sensational; a Tempranillo from Ribera Del Duero, it’s not something I’ve tried before but was an intense, silky, complex belter of a wine. I’ve lost the receipt but I think it was close to 1000 AED a bottle – so definitely only reserved for a special occasion. For sure it’ll be something that I’ll look out for in wine stores (although it appears not to be widely distributed out of Spain, so I might struggle!).
Prime 68 has one of the most extensive ranges of sides I’ve seen at a restaurant, so it was extremely hard to choose what to have. After some internal discussions, we chose the Whipped Potato, Mac and Cheese and Slow Roasted Brussel Sprouts and waited patiently for what delights would be presented to us in a few minutes. The steaks have a variety of sauces to choose from, so I went with my favourite – peppercorn jus.
We waited around 15 minutes, took in our view and the dishes arrived. Every steak arrived with beautiful grill marks and a cute potato chip displaying how it has been cooked. The sides arrived too, generous portions in ramekins that we shared among ourselves.
I cut into the steak and was instantly impressed, it was cooked to perfection. The juices stayed put, demonstrating that it had been rested properly and all those fatty areas had dissolved, to make the most juicy, succulent, melt-in-the-mouth piece of meat. The sentiment was shared across the table. Moving on to the sides, they were also terrific, the mashed potato smooth, buttery and rich; the brussel sprouts seasoned well, with a light char enhancing the flavour and the mac and cheese had that crispy-on-the-outside, cheesy and smooth-on-the-inside texture that is essential. My only criticism is that the sauce wasn’t all that special, I’ve had much richer examples and this was a little thin – luckily, the steak was so good, it wasn’t needed.
We were absolutely stuffed after the meal so didn’t do dessert, but were brought a small cake to celebrate my birthday which we all enjoyed. Byron the manager came over at the end to wish me happy birthday and we had a good chat about the restaurant – he was delighted to know how much we enjoyed the meal and invited us to try their brunch that I will definitely attend at some point. It was the last night that my parents were in town and it was an exceptional way to end their holiday.
FOOD: 14/15 – Couldn’t really fault the food that we ate – it was all cooked perfectly across the table – it just loses a mark for the jus not being amazing.
SERVICE: 14/15 – Really strong service team, polite greetings, knowledgeable about the menu and the wine choice was a winner. They even opened a bottle of wine for us that my wife didn’t enjoy, and they had no issues sending it back and replacing it with something she did like.
DRINKS SELECTION: 4/5 – A strong wine list with some interesting reds.
AMBIANCE:3/5 – Saturday night was very quiet, but the music was jazzy and appropriate.
DESIGN: 3/5 – The one thing they’ve done well is that the views are the focal point, but it’s a bit narrow and disjointed. There aren’t any real killer features that make it stand out compared to a lot of other places.
VALUE: 3/5 – Yeah, it’s mega expensive. Despite us using two Entertainer vouchers, it still came in well over 2,000 AED (although not helped by the expensive bottle of wine). The food is top notch though, so well worth it for a special occasion if you can afford. Just try get in on a Thursday night for a bit more atmosphere.
CONCLUSION: A very strong dining experience with excellent food and service. The design could be a little more imaginative and it was a shame the place was so empty on a Saturday but if you’re a steak fan, I’d highly recommend it.