Restaurant Review: Alfie's

27 Apr 2012

A classy combination of classic and contemporary British dishes with top quality ingredients

Address: Lower level, The Boulevard, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai
Tel: 04 319 8088

Dubai loves importing international restaurant brands, and likewise globally recognised culinary names love opening new outposts here. So it comes as no surprise to see Dunhill, the men’s luxury lifestyle brand, opening its restaurant concept Alfie’s at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, following on from its Shanghai and Hong Kong locations, but interestingly not from its hometown London.

Smack bang right next to the new Dunhill boutique in the Boulevard – in fact in the same spot where the Agency bar used to sit before it moved up into the hotel – the interior of Alfie’s lounge, bar and restaurant is, unsurprisingly, highly masculine with a very classic elegant British gentleman’s club feel. Expect to light up a cigar ensconced in an overstuffed leather armchair while taking in the tomes from the nearby bookshelf, or perusing the menu. We even spotted a little secret doorway opening into the Dunhill store.

Alfie’s British Chef de Cuisine Christopher Driver, who Jumeirah has poached from London’s eponymous Hurlingham Club, delivers a classy combination of classic and contemporary British dishes with top quality ingredients at the forefront.

Of the many starters we tasted, the pressed belly of lamb and duck foie gras served as a terrine with a spot of piccalilli (Dhs68), and an oxtail soup dotted with white onion purée (Dhs50) impressed us with the unusual yet workable marriage of ingredients. Meanwhile for mains, the signature dish of battered haddock fish and chunky chips (Dhs125) served on a wooden chopping board – complete with mushy peas – is a must, as is traditional haggis with clapshot (Dhs105). Throw out any preconceptions of this Scottish dish of minced sheep’s heart, liver and lungs and savour its nutty texture, with a side order of mashed turnips and potatoes, otherwise known as clapshot or ‘neeps and tatties’. As for dessert, the apple and rhubarb crumble (Dhs40) is top of our list for sweet tooths, or else opt for the selection of delicious British farmhouse cheeses (Dhs75) on the menu.

If you’re after a lighter meal, Alfie’s does offer a lounge menu of smaller, tapas-like dishes to accompany its 15-strong cocktail list. Try the addictive crispy lamb crackling with apple sauce. We reckon Alfie’s has pioneered a new bar snack trend.

Our only quibble from our lunch experience is that Alfie’s reminds us a tad of its neighbour The Ivy – perhaps it’s that private gentleman’s club feel and the harlequin motifs. Can two quite similar dining experiences compete in the same location, albeit one managed by the Jumeirah hotel chain, and the other by its sister restaurant division? Time will tell.

In the meantime, if you love Dunhill’s leather accessories, and we know plenty in this town who do, we’re pretty sure you will relish dining at Alfie’s. Tell us if you do.