The in-laws had family in town, so what better way to show them what Dubai has to offer culinarily (yeah, spellcheck says this isn’t a word, but it is now), by taking them to a tourist-trap, restaurant-boat that floats across The Creek. As you can tell, my excitement levels were cranked up to 11.
I have an issue with novelty/touristy things over here; having lived in Dubai for six years, I’ve spent enough time on terrible Groupon desert safaris, overpriced excursions to At.mosphere and shoddy ice-bars to approach anything like this with a whiff of dubiosity (another word spellcheck says doesn’t exist – dubiousness maybe!?!), but being the team player I am and with assurances from my wife that “it’s actually really good!”, I hopped on board.
They’ve actually done an impressive job on the inside. The boat itself is beautiful, with glass ceilings that allow in the twilight. The tables and chairs out are set in a classy, sophisticated way and we were introduced to our tables as if arriving at a top, hotel restaurant – perhaps it wasn’t going to be so bad!
When the menus arrived, I was even more impressed; my major concern about the place was how the hell are they going to be able to prepare tasty food on a bloody boat – but the menu sounded appealing. After much deliberation, I opted for the Canadian Lobster for starter, the Sous Vide of Duck Breast for my main course and (of course) the Chocolate Fondant dessert.
After a short tour around the boat, taking in the views of the Creek, we set sail and sat down for the first course:
How pretty! It not only looked good, it tasted good too. The red quinoa salad brought to life with the tart, pressed blood orange; the protein, rich, delicate with a dressing also of lobster and a fun champagne gelee finishing the dish off. An intelligently executed dish, with a lot of thought gone into the textures and flavour combos. It was made all the more spectacular that it was cooked on a boat!
As our starters commenced, a pianist joined the room and took us on a romantic journey of jazz standards. It added to the already warm ambiance and made us feel even more that we were on terra-firma at a decent restaurant.
Once the plates were cleared, there was a short break before mains were served. Again, my duck dish looked mightily fine – the plump meat sat on a silky-smooth bed of pumpkin puree with a deliciously-rich looking shimmering sauce.
I cut into the duck and it was nice and pink – if I’m being critical, I would like the skin to have been crisped up a lot more but in all honesty, I’d rather the pinkness not be sacrificed for the sake of the skin. This dish ate well, the sauce was as delectable as it looked, tying the whole plate together; there was a clever element of crunch and reinforcement of the duckiness (third made up word of the review!) with the duck rillettes croquette and a pear conference (que?) connected (ha) well with the dish. The only annoying element was the plonked on broccoli. You can even tell on the picture that it looks shite, probably boiled, probably picked up from a buffet tray somewhere.
Last up, was the dessert. Would they be able to achieve the perfect fondant cooked on a boat?
An absolute ripper of a dessert. The peanut butter ice-cream incredibly moreish, the macaroon crunchy and most importantly the fondant oozed like it should. I think the dish could have done without the orange-chocolate brownie as it just maybe was a step too far into total sickliness (4th!).
I hereby hold my hands up and vow to never judge a book by its cover again. We all left extremely satisfied and it’ll definitely be somewhere where I take guests in the future.
FOOD: 13/15 – Three strong courses and others at the table all enjoyed theirs.
SERVICE: 11/15 – Not very personal, but efficient and dishes came together and on time.
DRINKS SELECTION: 2/5 – Limited space means a limited choice of drinks sadly.
AMBIANCE: 5/5 – A relaxing cruise round The Creek, pianist playing sultry tunes, what’s not to love?
DESIGN: 5/5 – They’ve done a great job of giving it a high-end restaurant feel throughout.
VALUE: 5/5 – 395 AED for food and unlimited drinks – the cruise only lasts a couple of hours, so you need to drink quick but with the food so good and it being in The Entertainer, it’s fantastic value for money.
CONCLUSION: An excellent place to take friends and family who are in town, or to visit for a special occasion. A real gem!