Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

Bookings: 04 295 6000

Web: http://www.bydubaigolf.com

The Boardwalk restaurant at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club is a popular place. Nestled between shisha joint and bar QD’s and the boutique delights of the Park Hyatt, the Boardwalk is a ‘casual dining’ outlet. On the second floor of the distinctive creek-side building that houses it, you’ll find the posher Aquarium restaurant, which features a large fish tank.

The decking means you’re literally dining on the creek (don’t drop that credit card, now) and the winter months can be an absolute delight there as you sit watching the action around the creek. That action is severely reduced these days because the Floating Bridge stops up-creek traffic before 10pm, which is a shame, but at least the bridge cured Dubai’s traffic problems!

Oh. Well. Moving on...

The Boardwalk has Dubai’s second most stupid menus, great unwieldy wooden things that are apparently supposed to be redolent of the decking that makes the restaurant such a distinctive place. The most stupid menu in Dubai award goes to the Aquarium upstairs, which has aluminium menus with a porthole cut in them.

The content of the clappy wooden things is an interesting selection: ‘casual dining’ means an international menu, salads, fish, a little curried stuff, steaks. It’s not going to set the culinary world on fire – in fact, you can see fine diners being thoroughly sniffy about it, but if you’re after a relaxing, pleasant evening and something interesting to eat, the Boardwalk seems to have it all.

The good news is that they’ve cured their service problem. A few years ago we ate there with friends and the service was so unbelievably atrocious that it was past 10pm when we got to the dessert course, having waited interminably for first the drinks, then the starter, then the main, only to be told that the kitchen had closed. Quite a lot of unpleasantness followed – and we’d only had two drinks by then because we could only actually get two drinks ordered.

The service now is very fast indeed, although having ordered the chicken tikka kebab as a starter I did end up having a run-in with the waiter who told me that chicken tikka wasn’t on the menu. I pointed to the ‘saffron chicken’, described in the menu as ‘a chicken tikka kebab’ and then he decided to educate me on how to order – that the dish was called saffron chicken, so that is what I should ask for as it wasn’t chicken tikka but, in fact, saffron chicken. I think we reached an understanding in the end, but I genuinely don’t like being unpleasant and would rather not be forced into a situation where I have little other option.

It’s possible that it was simply too clever for me, but the chicken tikka kebab was so subtly flavoured that I’d call it bland, as was the coriander chutney it was served with. This dish, for some reason, garnished with more coriander as well as slices of tomato, a lemon wedge and some red onion rings. I’m afraid it wasn’t inspiring or even interesting. Others ordered the nachos (huge, way too large a portion for a starter) and the bruschetta (pronounced as good by its consumer). For the mains we did for a burger, an Arabesque fricassee of lamb with cinnamon, a rib-eye steak and a Chinese style chicken curry. The burger, ordered with no cheese or coleslaw and delivered as such (I know it shouldn’t be a reason to celebrate, but ye takes yer mercies where ye can get ‘em) and was enjoyed – although I personally hate burgers that are served small and thick, half the diameter of the bun they’re served on. Call me arsy, but burger and bun, to me, should be the same diameter.

The rib-eye steak, ordered and delivered medium, was enjoyed as was the Chinese curry, although the noodle side was spicy and delicious while the main curry failed to inspire its selector. I enjoyed my lamb stew (sorry, fricassee), although it could have been more distinctively flavoured, with no real feeling that there was a cinnamon thing goin on in there or any other stand-out flavour. But the whole was a warming, generous portion with rice and red onion on the side, along with a small ramekin of yoghurt.

The best news was the whole lot, with two beers and a glass of wine, came in at under Dhs 450. We’d certainly go back – the setting alone is so very pleasant – but I’d characterise the food as lacking inspiration or even possibly direction. This is not the end of the world, but it would take very little effort to lift the food at The Boardwalk into being an experience in itself, rather than being subsidiary to the creek-side experience – casual dining doesn’t have to mean humdrum dining...

1 comment:

Cairogal said...

It is a great location, but historically the food has been mediocre at best.