Is the new gastropub at Dubai Hills Golf Club a swinging sensation or a bunker blunder?

Seclusion is hard to come by in Dubai. At least it is for those of us who dare not venture beyond the dunes to the east. Cramped lifts, clogged roads and busy malls forever make you feel like you need some space.

But a mere 15 minutes from The Greens, the new Dubai Hills Golf Club is offering a peaceful place to tee off and tuck in, with two restaurants: Hillhouse Brasserie and The Duck Hook both giving off fantastic views of the city in the distance.

Our first stop is the Duck Hook, which has been handsomely designed, with a lovely oak floor, and anthropomorphic duck paintings on the walls. The vibe feels relaxed, as if everyone dining here is on holiday.

The menu is predominantly British gastropub fare with dishes such as duck scotch egg, duck pate terrine, and the duck confit (notice the trend). It’s not all quackers though – you’ll also spot a steak and ale pie, fish ‘n’ chips, beef Wellington and the all-important pub burger.

The duck pate (Dhs65) is served on a cute wooden board with generous slices of chunky pate, pickles and toasted sourdough – a lovely portion to share between two. The comically huge portion of fried onions atop the mighty duck burger (Dhs90) raises several smiles, after which the flavours impress. The 250g homemade Stockyard beef burger works brilliantly with the mature cheddar – we only wish the bun was a little softer. Elsewhere the confit duck leg is tremendously tender, roasted in garlic, juniper, red wine and orange glaze, and served with a handful of duck fat spuds and a heap of braised red cabbage.

Sides are hit and miss. The extra portion of duck fat fries (Dhs25) are as marvelous as they sound, but the side of cauliflower and leek cheese (Dhs25), needs tangier cheese to punch through the overpowering leek.

As the sun sets over the golf course, and the serenity is punctured only by the sighs of comfort as another satisfied guest sinks into the glorious wheely armchairs, The Duck Hook finishes off strong. Its toffee pudding (Dhs45) rivals the best in the city. Oh yeah, the city, we’d forgotten about that. Time to leave Dubai Hills and return to the bright lights, but we’d happily return tomorrow.

Dubai Hills Golf Club, Sat to Wed noon to midnight, Thur and Fri noon to 1am. Tel: (800) 666353.

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