Dare to Brunch
Place: Rixos Premium, JBR, Dubai
AED 349(Soft beverages)
AED 499 (House beverages)
Timings: 1.00pm- 4.00pm
“Wine makes a man better pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.”- Samuel Johnson
STK is owned and operated by the global hospitality company The One Group, and is their 18th STK branch, which was first launched in NYC, and now operating in Orlando, San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami (USA), Puerto Rico, Toronto (Canada), Ibiza (Spain), and Milan (Italy). They also operate other brands including Bagatelle, Asellina, and Heliot Steak. Big reputations come with big expectations.
The interior is what you would expect of a chic, modern American steakhouse. I notice that many of the tables come in a semi-circle seating arrangement, which makes it nice and intimate (I hate long tables). However it is incredibly dark for an afternoon brunch, and to add insult to injury, their terrace area that actually has natural light coming in is closed off due to “crowd control”.
For starters, we are served the following small plates:
- Burrata- nice, but missing a drizzle of quality oil
- Oysters- we are served two per person, which I find stingy
- Spicy Tamarind Glazed Prawns– very tasty, but we are served one each, which I find….
- Beef Tartare– hands down the best tartare I’ve had in town
I ask the staff whether the starters are unlimited- the answer is NO. I ask whether we can replace the Burrata (since some of our table are allergic to dairy)- the answer is also NO. It really gets under my skin when a restaurant is too rigid with their menu and is unable (or unwilling) to accommodate their guests. Professional chefs should be able to accommodate their guest’s dietary requirements and/or preferences.
For Main course, you get to choose one of:
- USDA Prime Fillet (200g)– We all opt for this, which is good quality and perfectly cooked.
- USDA Prime Striploin (250g)
- Roasted Salmon
- Butternut Squad Penne
I was devastated that my favorite cut (Rib eye) is not included. For a steak house, you would expect more cuts of grilled meat in the brunch right?
Mains are served with 4 side dishes, which were:
- French fries- not home-cut; therefore not impressive
- Mac and cheese- average at best
- Sautéed Green beans with fried garlic- simple but good
- Salad- again simple but good
All the side dishes (and food overall) were missing salt. I have noticed American restaurants have a habit of under seasoning their food, so I assume it is a policy.
- Chocolate Mousse- the star of the show, served with raspberry ice cream
- Cheesecake- not the best
- Crème Brulee- simple but good
The Beverage options are as follows:
- Beer: Heineken (bottled)
- Wines: White (Dark Horse Pinot Grigio, California USA). Red (Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, California, USA). Rose (Dark Horse, California USA)). Both the white and red options are good and smooth, superior to what you would be offered at your average Dubai brunch. Interestingly both are rated 3.5 stars on Vivino, with an average price of $10 (yes,the wine mark up in town is insane!)
- Spirits: (Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey).
- Cocktails: Gin Yuzu, Aperol, and some vodka based cocktail. We stuck with the Gin yuzu, which was excellent. (Yuzu is a type of citrus that grows in China, Korea, and Japan)
The service is super efficient and professional, which is exactly what you would expect from an American franchise. Our glasses of wine never went empty, which is sadly not the case at many other brunches.
There is a DJ playing a set the entire brunch, in addition to dancers, and a youthful staff that also gets involved with the dancing. Which finally brings us to the elephant in the room; the whopping AED 500 charged for the brunch. Given the menu restrictions in terms of both variety and portions, and the 3-hour service period (other brunches are 4 hours long) the price is completely and utterly unjustified.
With some minor tweaks to the menu and pricing, this has the potential to be a very popular. Until then, make sure you go try it while it is on the Entertainer!
Value for Money: 8/20.