Tap into an imag­i­na­tive and var­ied menu

The National - News - Arts & Life - - Front Page - Adam Work­man

If you visit a city such as London now, the nightlife is of­ten un­recog­nis­able from just five years ago, even in the most main­stream dis­tricts. Craft drinks have taken over – and that vibe is slowly per­me­at­ing the UAE, too, at least in Dubai.

So it is in­side The Tap House, the bev­er­age- based high­light of self-pro­claimed “beach­front din­ing des­ti­na­tion” Club Vista Mare on The Palm. Weather per­mit­ting, the view is far nicer on its ter­race, over­look­ing the wa­ter on the eastern side of The Palm’s “trunk” – but that’s not to say the in­te­rior is un­invit­ing, flush as it is with plenty of ex­posed brick and in­dus­trial-style ceil­ings that trans­port you to Wil­liams­burg or Shored­itch.

The venue’s name hints at its prime at­trac­tion but the food menu, based around Euro­pean dishes and Amer­i­can com­fort food, is imag­i­na­tive enough to be worth more than sim­ply a cur­sory glance.

It was al­ready of­fer­ing a re­vamped menu dur­ing my re­cent lunchtime visit, de­spite only open­ing in Oc­to­ber. You could read this in one of two ways: a less-than-sat­is­fac­tory start or a de­sire to keep things fresh.

We opted for starters from the “bar bites” sec­tion of the menu. At Dh40, the Parme­san and truf­fle chips with green pep­per mayo were noth­ing if not over­priced, but at least there was some in­ven­tion at work. A lot more artisan ef­fort seemed to go into the plate of dinky turkey ham and cheese tartlets, which cost Dh10 more.

There was plenty of va­ri­ety when it came to the mains, from nasi goreng to steak-and-kid­ney pie, but I found it hard to look past the most im­pos­ing burger on the menu.

The think­ing be­hind the nam­ing of the Heisen­burger wasn’t ex­plained on the menu, but I pre­sume it is a ref­er­ence to the Break­ing Bad char­ac­ter Wal­ter White’s crim­i­nal al­ter ego, Heisen­berg. The burger fill­ing, crispy fried chicken, is a not-all-that-sub­tle nod to the fast-food fran­chise that be­comes cen­tral to the plot of the TV drama.

Ei­ther way, it is the size of about three Big Macs, em­bel­lished with truf­fle Mon­terey Jack and piled high with onion rings, and comes with a side of fries and salad. For Dh95, you’re at least get­ting a meal that will keep you full un­til the fol­low­ing day.

My din­ing part­ner tried the grilled salmon (Dh110), which scored high thanks to the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sweet-potato mash, sam­phire and, in a case of it­shouldn’t-work-but-it-did, chicken chorizo sauce. Dessert is where The Tap House’s spirit re­ally shines. We sam­pled two in­spired takes on pop­u­lar pud­dings: the self-ex­plana­tory banof­fee jar (Dh45) – yep, the com­po­nents of a banof­fee pie in, you guessed it, a jar – and, bet­ter still, the chee­ton mess (Dh55). The lat­ter was a rasp­berry cheese­cake- stuffed meringue that was smash­ing in every sense of the word – you had to break apart the outer shell of this mod­ernised ver­sion of Eton mess in a, well, messy but sat­is­fy­ing man­ner to ac­cess the fill­ing.

Posh ca­sual din­ing might be some­thing of an oxy­moron but it is some­thing The Tap House pulls off ad­mirably. Even if you go for the drinks, you would be wise to hang around for the food.

Our meal for two at The Tap House, Club Vista Mare, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, cost Dh413. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 04 514 3778. Re­viewed meals are paid for by

and con­ducted incog­nito

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