Chow down: This month’s dining-out options

4Men‘s guide to where to enjoy a good meal in Dubai this month

  • By Sooraj Raveendran and Craig Hawes, 4men magazine
  • Published: 16:54 June 19, 2011
  • 4men
  • From left: Gharana, Café Gazebo and Cavalli Club.


Tucked away in a corner at the Barsha Holiday Inn, Gharana can seem a little unprepossessing when you first enter it. The small space, the close table placement that leaves little room for privacy and the extra-loud live music might make you pause. But we found you should venture on, for Gharana is a pleasant surprise.

From a limited menu that brings together the best of Nawabi cuisines from four cities, we started with the heart-warmingly melting tandoori atish chop and the interestingly marinated jhinga al samreen. Trust me, you might have tried Nawabi dishes before, but both of these starters are likely to catch you unaware.

We decided to see if the same burst of new tastes was continued in the main courses, and deliberately ordered dishes we both were familiar with – paneer khara masala and dhakni fish curry with butter naan. Both curries were delicately blended and burst in the mouth in perfect combination with the naan.

We skipped dessert – we just couldn’t have fit it in.

Verdict – you should be heading to the Gharana without a moment’s hesitation; don’t
be put off by your initial impressions.

4men’s quick guide

Service: excellent
Food: Indian/Nawabi
Ambience: basic
Ideal for: any time you desire food and music

Holiday Inn, Al Barsha, Dubai, meal for two Dh400 (approx) 04-323-4333. Reviewed by Sooraj Raveendran.

Café Gazebo

If you’re looking for some respite from the city grind you could do a lot worse than to roll up at the Hatta Fort Hotel’s Café Gazebo for lunch.

While there are many restaurants with fine views in the UAE, scant number of them can boast mountainous surroundings. It also overlooks a swimming pool, which can be off-putting when there are a couple of obese sunbathers slowly turning a dangerous shade of puce as you chomp on your chips.

Café Gazebo is the hotel’s all-day restaurant, a casual affair compared to the pricier Jeema. But the menu offers one or two dishes that would do justice to a far more sophisticated a venue (particularly the pasta).

Feeling health-conscious (possibly due to the mounds of flesh outside) I settled for a spicy bean burger, which was reasonably tasty, large enough to keep my stomach from rumbling until I reached home, and came with a salad.

For dessert I had an artery-busting banana split that provided my sugar quota for the week – definitely one to share. Café Gazebo is a cheerful little place with an agreeably priced menu, and it’s a good excuse for visiting this part of the UAE.

4men’s quick guide

Service: good
Food: global
Ambience: cheerful
Ideal for: a snack if you’re visiting the area

Café Gazebo, Hatta Fort Hotel, meal for two Dh150, 04-809-9333. Reviewed by Craig Hawes.

Cavalli Club

Having seen pictures of Roberto Cavalli in magazines over the years, I had an inkling of what might be lying in wait for me at the Cavalli Club. To say Roberto is the understated type would be like saying Vin Diesel is an actor of great emotional range and sensitivity.

The man likes to wear bejewelled crucifixes and has a celebrity clientele that includes the Beckhams. So it was no surprise to find the club is a glittering grotto of ostentation, the kind of place where Liberace, were he alive today, might have hammered out a tune or two on a Swarovski-encrusted grand piano.

And the food? Very good. My fillet of beef Rossini, which was enlivened with black truffle and topped with a disc of foie gras, was served on a bed of potato gallet. It was plate-scrapingly good. My partner’s chicken wrapped in bresaola and sage was a hit – even if she did find herself wishing she had chosen the lobster thermidor parmigiana instead.

Dessert was a selection of fruit sorbets served in tiny glasses on a rectangle of slate. It was impressive, inventive and a colourful end to a great meal. But for all those glowing adjectives, it’s the décor you will remember most.

4men’s quick guide

Service: Excellent
Food: Italian
Ambience: Extravagant
Ideal for: showboating and impressing visitors

Cavalli Club, Fairmont Hotel, Dubai, meal for two, Dh500, 04-332-9260.  Reviewed by Craig Hawes.


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Other outlets at Holiday Inn Dubai - Al Barsha