Being a Brit in Dubai, the cravings for the comfort food of home are hard to escape. Most weekends all I want to do is put my wellies on and head to a pub to scoff on proper chips and pie. Needless to say I’d look a bit strange attempting that here. So when I heard about The Scene in Dubai Marina’s Pier 7, I nearly cried with excitement.
Headed up by British celebrity chef, Simon Rimmer, The Scene prides itself on serving up hearty pub classics with a retro twist. With stunning views over the Marina and a menu that makes you want to melt, and after a day running around after my little nephews and niece, I was out the door faster than you could say ‘toad in the hole’.
The first thing that struck me about The Scene was its décor. Forget the fancy-shmancy over-the-top pretentiousness of a lot of Dubai restaurants – this feels like you’re stepping in to someone’s quirky home. Greeted by the super friendly front of house (I have to mention that all the staff here are unbelievably helpful and accommodating), you step through the lobby area with its exposed brick wall, bookcases and pictures framed on the wall, and step into the world of The Scene. Inside, it’s cozy, warm and feels familiar. There are big armchairs, mismatched lampshades hanging from the ceiling, booths made from patchwork fabric and comic-book pages acting as wall paper. Along the far left side runs the bar, which has a New York speak-easy feel to it, and outside is the terrace, which offers amazing views across the Dubai Marina and carries on the quirky theme with mismatched chairs and tables. As it was a warm, breezy night – we took advantage of the weather and plonked ourselves on the terrace, ready to tuck in to an array of tasty treats.
Upon opening the drinks menu, my eyes were instantly drawn to ‘The G&T Club’ – a section dedicated to gin based tipples and cocktails. It’s like this place was made for me. Opting for ‘The Signature’, Plymouth gin, tonic, apple and basil, I sat back into my big wicker chair and took in the Marina lights. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, our starters arrived. The menu has both a ‘Nibbles’ section and a ‘Starters & Small Dishes’ section, so depending how hungry you are there is sure to be something to whet your appetite. We couldn’t resist trying the eggs benedict fries with veal bacon, which were smothered with the best hollandaise sauce I’ve ever had, and of course the Welsh rarebit with veggie black pudding and caramelised onions. I was home.
We were lucky enough to visit The Scene on a Sunday, as on Saturdays and Sundays they serve up a roast dinner, complete with all the trimmings (roast veggies, cauliflower cheese, gravy and a Yorkshire pud the size of your head). My other half chose the beef roast, cooked pink to perfection and washed down with a glass of red.
I was torn between the fish and chips, pie and mash and the burger, but when I saw chicken kiev on the menu, it was a no brainer. Memories of being a kid came flooding back as I munched my way through the creamy roast onion mash potato and warm coleslaw, covered with the gorgeously garlic and tarragon butter that oozed out the home-made crunchy but tender kiev. By this point I was officially in heaven.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, they did. Dessert happened. And boy did it happen big. We shared the warm chocolate & peanut butter fondant with salted caramel ice-cream (need I say more?) and the apple crumble with double cream custard, which sent us into a food-induced sugar coma. But it was worth it, and we needed the energy for our baby-sitting beach day in the morning, of course…
Now I’ve been for my date-night dinner, I’m desperate to go back and try everything else on the mouth-watering menu. There are lunchtime sandwiches, (fish finger bap and all) and now on the weekend you can go for a boozy breakfast. Brilliant. For fabulous, fuss-free food and to be transported back to Blighty in a bite, this really is the place to be ‘scene’.
The Scene, Level 4 at Pier 7, Dubai (+971) (0)4 422 328, www.thescenedubai.com