→ Open daily 5pm-2am. Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City (055 709 4509).
A NEW ADDITION to the Dubai Festival City dining scene, this barbecue restaurant is a decent spot for dinner post-shopping, if you don’t fancy eating at any of the plethora of restaurants in the adjacent mall.
Set on the rooftop of the Holiday Inn, the terrace affords good views out across the water and city skyline and has a chilledout, mellow vibe – exactly what you’d hope for from a backyardstyle venue. Inside there are large windows, as well as TVS if you want to catch the game while you grab a bite.
We’re promised a 2.5-metre open grill, though, and on our visit that’s not fired up.
Anticipating a hearty feast, we skip the appetisers and plough straight in with mains. If, however, you do want to pick, there are a range of staples to start you off such as barbecued chicken wings, sticky veal back ribs and brisket sliders.
Mains include various steak cuts from the USA, Australia, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, as well as lamb chops, tiger prawns and salmon.
Wanting to try a selection, we opt for the Joe’s Cuts sharing platter. Brisket, steak, chicken and sausages appear before us.
The latter – The Mattar Farm bangers – are locally produced, which is a welcome sight on the menu (there’s also a full sausage sharing selection, if you’re partial). Unfortunately they’re not as tasty as we’d hope though, and on the greasy side. The beef is also rather fatty.
The barbecued Cornish hen is the winner, with tender, juicy meat perfectly cooked and robustly seasoned.
The meat is all fine, but not outstanding, and at Dhs275 without sides, it seems expensive for the location. Sides are all Dhs25, while an extra pot of sauce is Dhs10.
Of the sides that are available (on our visit most of the vegetable options aren’t on offer), a satisfyingly dense, baked mac ’n’ cheese is the highlight, while the mash is equally rich.
Drinks, though, are reasonably priced as house grape starts at Dhs37, while bottles of hops are are around Dhs38, with draught hops starting at Dhs30.
Joe’s Backyard doesn’t blow us away, but it could be a cool enough spot with stronger food.
WHAT IS IT... A rooftop barbecue restaurant in Dubai Festival City WHY GO... The mellow vibe and decently-priced drinks