Six of the best gastropubs in Dubai
From expansions of well-established pub greats, to trendy new concepts with the promise of staying power, here are six of the best new gastropubs to have opened in the city.
1. Eloquent Elephant
First of all, what a wonderful name. You can’t help but enunciate every consonant with a raised eyebrow and stiff upper lip. The Eloquent Elephant has been handsomely designed, with a lovely oak floor, racing green leather seating, more than a scattering of Edison light bulbs and anthropomorphic elephant paintings on the walls. The bar is an idealised version of an old drinking haunt where pints of craft ale are enjoyed at wooden tables.
Bar snacks are a cut-above: truffled chips (Dhs55); Cajun popcorn chicken with blue cheese dressing (Dhs45); and artichoke fritters with black olive cream (Dhs50). The Wagyu burger (Dhs115) is a highlight; perfectly cooked patty elevated to brilliance by homemade tomato sauce that’s head and shoulders above Heinz, and a thick slice of cheddar. The accompanying fat chips are wonderful with a crispy coating and a soft, fluffy centre. With little nooks, The Eloquent Elephant has a comfortable atmosphere.
Come with an appetite, a charming disposition and you’ll fit right in.
Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 2am, Fri and Sat 11am to 2am. Tel: (04) 4383100. Metro: Business Bay. facebook.com/TajDubai
2. Cook Hall
The new gastropub in Al Habtoor City is rock ’n’ roll. Well, it is in the sense of the music it plays at least. On weekends a resident band keeps the crowd entertained playing covers of everything from Eric Clapton to Fleetwood Mac and Prince. But aside from the music, Cook Hall keeps it cool and quirky with cosy leather booths that are almost comically tall, making you feel like you’re in a cocoon decorated with cowhide cushions. The solid wooden tables, exposed brickwork and sleek lamps keep things stylish, though.
The menu offers a wide range of pub classics, including a few clever twists on old favourites – for example, the duck tacos (Dhs70) are a must-try, with a smoky, Tex Mex flavour and a sweet, crunchy chipotle slaw. We’d also recommend the grilled cheese (Dh69), an American diner favourite given a Dubai upgrade with a generous helping of black truffle.
The chefs know how to play with flavours, even coming up with a delicious stout beer ice cream sundae (Dhs38).
The Westin, Al Habtoor City, Business Bay, Dubai, daily noon to 3am. Tel: (04) 4373333. Metro: Business Bay. westindubaialhabtoorcity.com
3. Copper Dog
There are English pubs and then there are Scottish pubs, and you’d do well to remember that. Copper Dog is the latter, and a brilliant one at that. No expense has been spared in recreating the famous Scottish highlands pub. Everything from the tables and chairs to the floorboards, stone work and even some of the drinks glasses have been brought over from Scotland to a new home in JBR.
As you’d expect from a Scottish pub, whisky is the main attraction. In fact, there are more than 190 types. We’ll return to the dog time and again for its braised Angus cheek (Dhs135), which is melt-in-the-mouth tender with a deliciously sticky glaze. We also love the rumble thumps (Dhs25), a side dish that was essentially a delicious bowl of potatoes and cheese.
Oh, and don’t get us started on the artery-quivering Copper Dog sundae (Dhs45), an Irn Bru-based dessert that comes with a side of deep-fried Mars bar. Not a place for calorie counting.
Doubletree By Hilton JBR, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 5595355. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton. copperdog.ae
4. JB’s Gastropub
JB’s isn’t a typical gastopub. Instead, it’s a confident mash-up of a cool Brooklyn warehouse bar and classic British pub – with a few shiny Dubai touches.
Steak n Chips at JB’s Gastropub, Amwaj Rotana, Dubai
Food quality is top priority for the chefs at JB’s. Go with a hungry carnivore and order the huge BBQ sampler for two (Dhs180) stacked with meats, from succulent beef short ribs to spicy chorizo sausage, alongside baked beans and a generous side of chips. You’ll love JB’s own warm and smoky barbecue sauce – a tangy condiment with hints of sweet relish and tomato.
Amwaj Rotana, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon until 2am, Thur noon until 3am, Fri 10am to 3am, Sat 10am to 2am. Tel: (04) 4282000. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/JBsGastropub
5. The Black Lion
While the name suggests an English pub with sticky carpets, the reality is that The Black Lion is a fancy gastropub. Inside, it’s cosy and inviting. The menu includes dishes such as fried chicken, and sweetcorn hush puppies beside fish pie, lamb hot pot, and fish and chips. The fish pie (Dhs120) and lamb hot pot (Dhs130) arrive in cute mini casserole dishes with lids on, both densely packed with seafood/lamb, and well flavoured. The steak salad (Dhs72) is jazzed up superbly with pickled pears, walnuts and blue cheese, each ingredient synchronised to give a tasty mouthful. If you’re in a group, the ‘Truck Stop’ platter is fun (Dhs170). A wooden board with mac and cheese balls, chicken wings, red cabbage slaw, two mini burgers, and those sweetcorn hush puppies made the tastebuds roar.
Weekends are made for our Great British Roast! Roast beef or Chicken served with delicious stuffing and lashings of gravy! Tempting right? #TheBlackLion #TheBlackLionDXB #TBLDubai #TheLionNeverSleeps #HiddenGem #TBL #EastEnd #London #MyDubai #BestRoastInDubai #DubaiRoast #BestofBritish #ATasteofHome
The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, daily 11am to 3am. Tel: (04) 5018888. Metro: Trade Centre. theblacklion.ae
6. Reform Social & Grill
Reform, in the leafy Lakes residences, is essentially a local – but it’s to its credit that people from further afield travel to visit. You’ll find the full range of ales here, but the food’s no afterthought.
On weekdays, a standard gastropub menu takes hold. But the place really hums at weekends, when you’ll need to dodge buggies and children if you want to enjoy comfort cooking. Highlights include the ploughman’s cheeseboard (Dhs130), and the chicken and leek pie (Dhs105). Their Scotch Egg (Dhs59) is easily one of the best in town, too.
The Lakes, Dubai, Sat to Wed 8am to 11am and noon to midnight, Thur and Fri 8am to 11am and noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 4542638. Taxi: The Lakes. reformsocialgrill.ae