The Irish are famed for their hospitality and the D Bar&Grill confirms that they now export it, too.
The lively atmosphere in McGettigan's Irish pub downstairs was shut out as we climbed the softly carpeted, wrought-iron and oak spiral staircase, complete with a beautifully twinkling chandelier, into the world of Irish fine dining. What a treat awaited us.
No attention to detail has been spared in the interior. Dimly lit, with the executive chef's quirky art adorning the walls, the centrepiece of the restaurant is the bar: a grand affair moulded from an Irish church altar. Reclaimed timber from Irish railways line the walls. The chef's table, situated in front of the kitchen, offers a look into a professionally run and buzzing workspace.
I'm afraid this is not your typical restaurant review, where a three-course meal is sampled, considered and remarked upon. Excited by the menu, my partner and I were thrown into an absolute flurry of indecision. This resulted in us ordering a starter each and one to share.
My dining partner, an Irish woman who knows good food, settled on the chicken and rabbit terrine with brioche. It was presented wonderfully and she declared it a triumph. The dish was really strong, hearty and meaty with a woody, gamey flavour. Perhaps not for you, if you don't enjoy strong-tasting meats, but for a first time rabbit eater, I loved it. The accompanying rhubarb chutney was described as "mind blowing".
Every time I go to a restaurant, I am compelled to order prawn cocktail as a starter if it is offered. To me, the measure of a restaurant is what they do to make this overdone starter something special. I've been impressed before but I've never been truly satisfied. At D Bar&Grill, my quest has been fulfilled. Its offering was the boss of all prawn cocktails, ever. The huge crustaceans were draped around the rim of a glass filled with crispy lettuce and Marie-Rose sauce, immaculately presented and with a wonderful taste.
Our third starter was tart-au-tine made with goat's cheese. It consisted of an entire red onion, soft and juicily roasted, surrounded by the cheese entirely encased by a light and fluffy pastry. It was absolutely gorgeous.
The main courses, when they arrived, were a celebration of good presentation. My partner had the fillet steak with marrow bone jus and pepper sauce on the side. The steak was cooked a perfect medium-rare and the sauces complemented it perfectly. Although her main course was lovely, I did note a glimpse of envy when mine was delivered. I opted for the Bresse chicken and Maine lobster poached in butter. Yes, folks. Dwell on that for a while. Maine lobster, poached in butter. It was delectable. The chicken was tender and beautifully offset by the lobster. It was accompanied by a delightfully crisp potato waffle.
And here we come to another problem with the usual review format. The side dishes looked so good, we ended up ordering them all. The carrots had just the right amount of crunch, the asparagus was firm and buttery, the spinach was creamy and the cauliflower was too lovely to try to recreate at home. The only thing we were slightly disappointed with was that the roast potatoes weren't quite as crispy as my partner's cultured Irish palate desired.
I ordered the baked Alaska for dessert because I've never seen it on a menu in Dubai before - and I know it's a challenge to make just right. The challenge was well met. The baked Alaska was so loaded with bold flavours it nearly hopped off the plate and made its way downstairs for a drink. It was tart, sweet, fruity and summery; a great take on a 1980s favourite. My partner opted for the chocolate fondant. It was moist and when pierced with a fork and the chocolate exploded onto the plate like lava.
It was a shock to be met by a bustling, larger-than-life Sheikh Zayed road when we finally managed to trundle out of the Irish warmth we had been ensconced in for a good few hours. But we'll be back.
Three starters, two mains, five sides and two desserts at the D bar & Grill in the Dubai World Trade Center will come up to around Dh900, including service. For a three-course meal for two, expect to pay around Dh750. Do try the D-licious Friday brunch, for Dh399 per person. For reservations, call 056 60 38846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and all reviews are conducted incognito