Is there a better way to feel festive than to stuff your face with all the Christmas-themed food you can find? We don’t think so. Which is why we were so excited to try the new festive menu at Marina fave hangout, The Observatory.
We arrive at 7.30pm and are seated by the window overlooking the length of Dubai Marina. The restaurant is busy, with low-key ambience and is lowly lit giving the place a cool jazz bar vibe. The views are gorgeous, perfect for impressing a Dubai newbie.
The staff are friendly, chatty and attentive, immediately serving us beverages while we peruse the set menu. Each segment has choices so it’s not rigidly set. We opt for the oven-roasted butternut pumpkin soup and shaved fennel and celery salad to start (the third option is roasted scallops, FYI). Before they arrive, we are treated to a board of The Observatory’s signature brioche loaf with oil and vinegar and tzatziki to dip.
The salad is a pretty thing to behold, lightly piled over an artistic swoosh of berry vinaigrette. Soft-boiled quail’s eggs, toasted walnuts and baby mesclun partner the crunchy fennel and celery. It’s a delightful festive twist on the usual green starter.
The soup is served in dramatic fashion with a waiter pouring the hot liquid into a deep bowl over a chicken and beef chorizo confit with tru le drizzle. The soup is hearty, made even more so with the flavour of meat and truffle seeping through. It’s a big dish for a starter, we couldn’t finish ours for fear of not being able to fit our mains in.
The choice of mains is varied – roasted turkey roulade, grilled loch fine salmon or gnocchi. Even though we would have loved to have tried the different dishes, neither one of us can bear to choose anything other than turkey. Tradition and all that. And we’re glad we did.
Two types of turkey sit on a large dinner plate – two succulent slices of breast meat with a couple of cheeky thigh roulades. Honey-glazed veggies and a roast potato stack accompany the all- important cranberry jelly. Tasty and homely. The only negatives we could find was that the stu ing was a little bland and dry and we could have done with a heap more gravy.
For dessert, we split the cheesecake and the pumpkin and pecan pie (there is also the choice of ice creams). The pie looks like an American dream, piled high with whipped cream and crushed pecans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste as good as it looks so we devour the moreish cheesecake, New York-style with graham cracker crust, cream and butterscotch ice cream. Salty, sweet and yummy. It’s big, too.
INFO: Dhs249 three- course set menu, available until end Dec, 52nd Level, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Al Saud Street, Dubai Marina, 04 319 4795, marriottharbour.dubaidining.com