INFO: Lower Ground Level, The Dubai Mall, 04 339 8640.
The Dubai Mall is overwhelming in its choices of places to eat, but one that has always caught my eye simply because of its beautiful interior is Social House. It’s all warm, natural woods, a central island walled with a glass-enclosed hedge. It looks like a little eco-village in the middle of the mayhem that is the region’s largest mall, so I needed to find out if the food matched the decor.
First up, Grandma’s ice tea is like nothing you’ve never tasted before; it has a subtle tea taste without a tannin after-bite and comes topped with a gently sharp and creamy lemon sorbet. After working up a thirst shopping, I’d revisit for that alone!
It’s a large menu and the thought of going from east to west in terms of cuisine never fills me with joy. That said, when a plate of beef rendang and a bowl of spaghetti aglio, oilo e peperoncino (garlic, olive oil and chilli) were set on the table I was pleasantly surprised as to how true to their origins the dishes were. The flavoursome beef hadn’t been stripped of its chilli heat to please milder palates, and the pasta was cooked (almost) al dente with generous amounts of garlic, parsley and chilli. Both were extremely satisfying plates of food. If you’re after something less substantial then the pumpkin soup with truffle oil and Parmesan croutons is earthy and thick without being overly rich. The Greek salad, while not authentic (bar the feta and olives), is topped with a notably tender chicken kebab and provides a healthy lunch. For a laid-back bite in a tranquil oasis detached from the mall’s bustle, Social House ticks the boxes.