The Palace Hotel, Old Town
tel: 04 428 7888
Bad eating experiences come in many guises as both EyeonDubai and Alexander have pointed out and written about. I have also written about being treated like pond scum by the Gaucho Club in London which is always a wonderful feeling as a paying customer but I suppose the top aggravation remains being served dreadful food. However two incidents last week served to remind me that actually it isn’t just the food it is how long it gets to your table.
The Palace Hotel in Old Town is really rather nice and driving up to it at night with all the lights and the palm trees is quite an uplifting experience.
Asado is their Argentinean grill house which has a wonderful atmospheric terrace out the back with an incredible view of the Burj Tower. The inside is full of the usual gaucho tat and open brickwork and actually looks a bit scruffy. Outside however is fabulous.
We turned up on time, 8.30pm, took our seats and then waited, and waited, and waited. We got up grabbed a waiter and got a menu and the wine list. And then we waited and we waited. We got up and grabbed a waiter and placed our orders. And then we waited and we waited. This went on and on and we got crosser and crosser and I was close to stamping my feet!
To cut a long rather miserable story short our main courses arrived at 11.00pm, some two and a half hours after sitting down. The staff were all incredibly friendly, extremely apologetic but that didn’t seem to translate into the food appearing any faster. The odd thing though is that the restaurant wasn’t full, far from it, and for goodness sake all they are doing is grilling some bloody steaks. How it could have possible taken so long I really don’t know.
Frustratingly when the food came it was pretty good, well, the steaks were pretty good I should qualify. Very good quality meat, and cooked exactly as requested for all of us. Prior to ordering the waiter brings a tray of uncooked steaks of their different cuts to view. They have two tenderloin cuts, one they call the ‘Ladies Cut’ at 250g which is a bit cheeky I think, and then the man’s portion at 350g. They have a 350g rib-eye and a belly-busting 450g sirloin.
I ordered French fries and béarnaise sauce to accompany my rib-eye; the fries were cold and soggy and the béarnaise sauce came in a thimble, literally, and was bland and watery.
So to grill a steak takes two and a half hours and even after all that time the fries and the sauce are a disaster. What are they thinking?
What really gets my blood boiling is that this sort of disastrous service is endemic in Dubai, and actually no one seems to give a damn. With new 5 star hotels opening on a daily basis and the competition heating up you would think that they would try and raise the bar. But no, restaurants here settle for the mediocre, knowing that people will still come and knowing that they can still charge like wounded bulls for the displeasure.
Asado certainly doesn’t count as my worst eating experience, I’ll save that for later in the week, but for me it really summed up so much of what is wrong locally.