A Speakeasy in Dubai
Since I have had this blog (inclusive the previous installment of it), I have shied away of doing bar reviews. If you work as manager in a bar (or in my case even as beverage manager), you know, that you shouldn't question too much others, as your own courtyard might not be that clean...
But then I still make exceptions - this happens specially if bars receiving awards (and/or taking themselves too serious and
This apparently happened in Speakeasy in the Ramada Plaza.
Let's first off all get the most obvious from my breast: the name.... It is an audacity in the light of modern speakeasies (you can't compare anyway a bar to historic speakeasies - unless it is e.g. Located in Saudi Arabia - and well, a review there wouldn't be that clever, to say at least!
Anyway - the name is stupid and misleading. However please note, that this bar received the Best New Pub Award of TimeOut Dubai! So it has to be good?
Well, I went with a friend and colleague to this place. I am just focussing on the bar, as the hotel (entrance and layout) itself is already weird. It is tough to find the venue... The narrow corridors are like a labyrinth.
But apparently the fact, that it is hidden, work already with its name.
Not really, we could already here loud live music (pop) when we came out of the elevator on the correct floor.
We went into the bar, and surprisingly it was totally empty. Only one couple flirted at the bar... The staff looked quite bored but showed directly arduously to be welcoming.
We got the menu (it is neatly layout) - which was a bit confusing... A lot of food on the first pages (but your average pub grub... Definitely nothing really special).
The biggest bummer were the cocktails... Drinks from Long Island Iced Tea to Bullfrog (dxb version), a piña colada, apple and espresso martini... to screaming orgasms - the whole load of my deepest nightmares were on there.
I decided to order Bulmers from the menu, but the bartender informed me, that they neither had Magners or Bulmers... But only strongbow... I ended up with a Mathusalem 15 solera. There was not one half ways interesting brew listed. And spirits... Well some ok stuff... Nothing surprising (except a quite frightening selection of Bols liqueurs).
My friend ordered an Amstel light (forgive him... he is a chef and his taste buds stay usually on work).
I also ordered fish tacos, which seemed to be by far the most interesting dish on the menu.
Either way the Filipino live band or far too cheesy pop music from a CD made a conversation tedious.
The fish tacos... Also disappointing... hard shell (really), nice tasty cabbage but no interesting salsa, no guacamole, no sour cream, no spice. Strangely a big pile of tomato rice was heaped on the plate (a bowl was used to make it pretty) and a tiny sprig of parsley crowned the rice. While this was totally out of context, it was also bland. Oh there were also black beans in a small bowl... Black beans directly out of a can just heated up in its own "juice" (probably in the microwave). The fish was basically not crispy, but devpcent enough (if a little dry) but overall it was a forgettable and some cases (the beans) an unforgivable experience.
I am not sure, who should be the target for my anger? The guys there, which made a remarkable job, to create a cleaner, but otherwise pretty precise copy of a mediocre 80's bar. I guess the only big sin they do is being so ignorant of modern bars, this as well as giving the bar it's name.
Or should I be upset with TimeOut Dubai, who seems totally ignorant of any signs of a quality bar or pub!?
It is just troubling that there is so little of ambition as well to do something more than average...
Though, what was also surprising, was that a bar, which received (out of inexplicable reasons) a best of award was so empty (not that I could not understand that, due to its very mediocricity).