The Meat Co. has been around longer than I can remember and with two of the best sites in Dubai (Souk al Bahar and the Madinat Jumeirah), they’re obviously doing something right to stand the test of time. I went along with a buddy to try the new menu and see if they could compare to the likes of Prime 68 in the “premium” category of steakhouse.
I entered to a very warm greeting by the hostess who showed me to a breathtaking table, smack-bang in front of the Burj Khalifa. When I send people to Souk al Bahar who “want to see the fountains”, I used to send them to Rivington Grill or Mango Tree (both of which have sadly gone) and with The Atlantic being a major disappointment, perhaps Meat Co. could be the new “send-to” spot.
I had a quick flick through the menu and started off with a Guinness. Unfortunately, it seems that there’s an issue with the supply in Dubai at the moment, because it was the second terrible Guinness I’d had in a couple of weeks – far too watery and weak. The drinks menu as a whole looked pretty strong though, they have an above average selection of beers, a medium-sized wine list and most-importantly to me – a mighty fine gin list! After my Guinness, I opted for a G&T but my first two selections weren’t in stock, finally having to settle with a Martin Miller.
My guest arrived and we decided to start with the Rib Meat Cigars and the Lobster & Crab Salad as they were both highly recommended by our hostess. The Cigar was presented in a cigar box which I thought was pretty funny and to be fair, they did look like the real deal. The pastry was perfectly crisp and the rib meat inside was juicy and tender. It was a really tasty start!
The crab salad came in a puff pastry dome and as standard with most Dubai dishes these days, it came with a flourish of dry ice. I’m well over the usage of it for the sake of being fancy, but I’m sure tourists would enjoy the spectacular effect so I won’t be too miserable! The salad was alright, I don’t really think the puff pastry dome added much to the dish other than a visual effect, but the meat tasted fresh and it had the correct amounts of sauce and crunch.
After a satisfying start, it had to be the steak for me, so I went for the 300g Australian Wagyu Rib-Eye with my guest opting for the BBQ Beef Short Ribs alongside mushroom, creamed spinach and mashed potato side dishes to share between us.
The steak was presented looking plump and juicy with a prominent grill mark. I prefer my steaks on the medium-rare side but was told that I should have this steak medium.
It was a good steak, but I wasn’t completely blown away. It was quite a thin cut, so I don’t think it had quite enough cooking time to melt down all the sinews, so it was a tad chewy in places and I still just think I like my steaks slightly rarer. It had a tasty glaze over it though and by no means was it a let-down, it was just more 7/10 than 9/10. Not quite up there with the Prime 68 Rib-Eye.
My guests short-ribs looked incredible and I do admit to having some serious food envy when it was placed in front of him. When I saw him hacking away at it though, I knew something had gone wrong. I make short rib at home and it’s all about the “low and slow”. Meat Co claim in the menu to cook it for 3 hours and I just don’t think that’s anywhere near long enough. The fats hadn’t melted down at all and it was basically just a tough, chewy bit of dry meat – a real let down.
The side dishes weren’t particularly breathtaking. The mash was under-seasoned and nowhere near as naughty, buttery and creamy as I’ve had in other places recently. The mushrooms could have done with a kick of garlic and salt too. I did enjoy the peppercorn sauce though, it was creamy and peppery just as it should be.
On to the desserts, I couldn’t look past the Chocolate Fondant and the Nutella Cheesecake Mille Feuille.
The fondant was absolutely exceptional. Perfectly cooked in the middle, oozing all over the plate, the ice cream rich and smooth with a delicious snap oming from the tempered chocolate shard. My guest and I absolutely demolished it.
Now, onto the mille feuille. If you’re not aware of what it is, it literally translates to “thousand sheets” and tends to look like this:
Emotions that tend to envelop me in restaurants are usually things like “bemusement”, “enjoyment”, “happiness”, “satisfaction”, “disappointment”; but this dessert sent me into pretty much a “blinding rage”. I’d say its similarities to a mille-feuille were the equivalent of the fondant’s similarities to a carrot cake. None.
It seemed like they’d had some left over puff pastry from the crab starter, placed it on top of a baseless cheesecake (sob – the base is my favourite bit) and thought they could get away with calling it mille-feuille. I dread to think what any French patisserie chefs would say to this abomination. Again, the ice cream was perfectly executed but the dish didn’t work at all. Stick a nice digestive base on the cheesecake element, maybe some fresh fruit to cut through the richness and they’ll be on to a winner.
It was an invite and upon requesting the bill they didn’t have a copy of it, but from looking through the menu, this was the pricing of the dishes we had:
Cigars: 65 AED
Salad: 67 AED
Steak: 385 AED
Short Rib: 255 AED
Fondant: 45 AED
“Mille Feuille”: 45 AED
It’s not horrendously expensive like some of the other top steakhouses and it is included in The Entertainer which also helps. The service throughout the evening was slick; our hostess was friendly and engaging and we had a laugh with her all night. Sometime for invites I get completely “over-serviced”, but this all felt completely natural.
Overall we had a pleasant night and I’d softly recommend it for the excellent views of the Burj and fountains. Just a couple of dishes let them down on the night for me to not rave about it too much.
FOOD: 9/15 – A little hit and miss. My fellow diner’s short ribs were a real disappointment and the mille feuille didn’t make any sense. The rest was all good to excellent though and I think if you can go and pick the correct dishes, you can have a great evening.
SERVICE: 13/15 – Very attentive, but not overly so. Our hostess built rapport with us which many service teams in Dubai fail to achieve.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3.5/5 – They have a decent mix, but the wine menu is not as expansive as other high-end steakhouses and they didn’t have all the gins in stock.
AMBIANCE: 3.5/5 – Wasn’t overly busy when we went, but the staggering views of the Burj meant a naturally good atmosphere.
DESIGN: 3/5 – I’m not a huge fan of the interiors to be honest. The restaurant aims to be a “high-end” steakhouse, but I feel like the inside is more representative of a family, chain-steakhouse that you’d find in a mall setting. It just doesn’t have the “wow” factor or elegance. The outside is kept simple though and the layout has been done in a way where a lot of the seats can take in the fantastic views.
VALUE: 3/5 – If you take into account that it’s in The Entertainer, it’s far more affordable than a Prime 68 or a Ruth’s Chris. Having said that, I just feel that the offering here is a step below those kind of places so the lower price-point is justified.
TOTAL: 35/50 – Double it up, and you get a 7/10 which I think sums the place up – definitely above average, but doesn’t quite consistently reach great heights. When it does excel, it promptly lets itself down again. Scrap the mille feuille and cook the short ribs lower and slower and we could definitely be looking at 8/8.5s though.