Restaurant Review: Pachanga

The lively South American restaurant serving up steaks and service in spades
ByJasmine BandaliWednesday , 10 December 2014
Restaurant Review: Pachanga

have to admit that Pachanga has held a very special place in my heart since I first visited many moons ago. But as you know, life happens and with so many restaurants to be at, it means that it has been a while since I was last able to enjoy a meal here. However, I am always apprehensive about revisiting a restaurant that has been on the scene for a while, because things like service and quality tend to slide.

Comfortingly, it’s a relief to see that not much has changed – the décor remains an authentic nod to its heritage with dark wood panelling, retro ceiling fans, colonial style wicker chairs and an incongruous well (as in water-well) in the dining room (I’m sure that there is a story behind that but my memory isn’t what it used to be). However, as anyone will tell you, the allure of Pachanga lies in its happy, upbeat vibe. While the live band belt out songs and should definitely audition for the X Factor, here is one of the only places in Dubai where you can watch the moves of professional dancers gliding gracefully across the floor, followed by diners (even the left-footed ones) having a go, and it’s almost like being at a party; perfect for both couples and large groups alike.

Service is, as ever, swift and courteous and my partner and I decide to begin with sharing platters of their starter selection which includes everything from smoked salmon to corn tarts, and a degustation of empanadas; crisp pastries encasing a wide variety of fillings, of which their cheese and caramelised onion is a swoonsome affair. Moving on to the main event and this is what it is all about! It’s a carnivore’s paradise, served up churrasco-style on skewers or on platters where five different cuts are cooked to preference. With sides that range from the traditional offerings like melt-in-the-mouth mushrooms, to the more exotic crisp and fluffy deep fried tapioca, each is a compliment that allows every tender meaty morsel to shine in all its glory. Those with more of an inclination toward marine delights should definitely order the sea bass, which boasts citrusy tart flavours of lime perfectly contrasted with sweetness from its accompanying    carrot mash. 

No matter how full you are, this is one restaurant where I would recommend not skipping dessert and order the Dos amigos. It’s been on the menu since the very first time I came and remains so for good reason, with its combination of chocolate mousse, traditional dulche de leche, chocolate biscuit and dulche de leche ice cream. Yes it’s indulgent and your stomach might groan at the thought of accepting any more food, but this is the only instance where I would advise that you don’t go with your gut, and follow your heart!

INFO: 6.30pm-11.30pm daily, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, 04 318 2530, www3.hilton.com

Top 3 Must-Try Dishes
Cebolla y queso (cheese and onion) empanada Dhs20
Five meat selection to share Dhs450
Dos amigos Dhs60

 PACHANGA’S SEA BASS WITH CARROT MASH AND LIME CREAM
SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
2kg Chilean sea bass  
1kg carrots
500g potatoes
100ml olive oil
100ml cream
150ml  lime juice
100ml water                                                
2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp yellow chilli paste
4 tsp salt
4 tsp pepper

METHOD
1 Cook and mash the beetroot and potato, mix and season to taste.
2 Combine the lime juice, water, oregano and yellow chili paste in a saucepan set over a medium high heat.
3 Bring to the boil and reduce slightly before adding the cream.
4 Place a small amount of the olive oil in a frying pan set over a medium-high heat.
5 Sear the seabass, skin-side down, until the edges become opaque. 
6 Flip and cook the other side, for about 3-4 minutes until done.
7 Arrange the beetroot mash on a plate and add the sea bass.
8 Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

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