Can an authentic smokehouse tempt diners to the quiet side of Dubai Marina?

The southern end of Dubai Marina is not exactly known for its thriving restaurant and nightlife scene, though that’s slowly changing, with the arrival of the Rove Dubai Marina and the imminent opening of the Wyndham West Bay Dubai Marina. But one licensed spot has injected some much-needed life into the area, and that’s The Blacksmith in the Wyndham Dubai Marina.

The southern-style smokehouse has been hailed as the first of its kind in Dubai, helmed by Manhattan-born pitmaster Orelle Young, who made a name for himself at New York’s Hill Country, and London’s Big Easy barbecue restaurants.

Located on the first floor of the hotel, what sets this smokehouse apart is the presence of a custom-built smoker out on the terrace – signalling this place is the real deal. We can see the terrace being a cosy spot to spend the cooler months, with its stacked firewood, hanging light bulbs, and the irresistible aroma of smoked meat wafting through the night air.

Inside, there’s not quite so much character to speak of, though the place had a nice mid-week buzz to it when we visited. The food menu is short and no-nonsense, while the drinks menu is practically a novel by comparison. We noted the very reasonable prices on both.

We started with the smoked chili ribbed wings (Dhs36), which had us licking every last drop of seasoning off our fingers. We then made the wise decision to move straight on to mains.

The Texas brisket sandwich comes in two sizes – boyz (Dhs99) and manz (Dhs149). We must say, we’re rather bored of the whole “men love meat” trope that is trotted out by so many restaurants in this city. In any case, most humans would struggle to get through even the smaller portion. What we could manage of the beastly sandwich was delicious – stuffed with layers of succulent 14-hour smoked brisket, chili-pickled green beans, onions and tangy sauce.

We were left underwhelmed by the the smoked rib-eye steak (Dhs179), which was overcooked, and the Oreo banana pudding (Dhs35) – unfortunately, the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts (namely, vanilla custard, sliced bananas and crumbled Oreos).

But overall we liked what Orelle and his team are doing, and we’re hearing great things about their Friday brunch. The Blacksmith has definitely filled a gap – and then some – in Dubai Marina’s food scene.

Wyndham Dubai Marina, Sun to Mon 5pm to 2am, Tues to Thurs and Sat 5pm to 3am, Fri 1pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 407 8873.

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