Sunday, 1 January 2012

W Grill, Wafi Centre,Oud Metha, Dubai

Opulent steak house suitable for vegetarians

The Wafi Centre never fails to impress me. Unlike the other malls in Dubai, this complex is restaurant-centric rather than all about the shops, and Starbucks aside, it contains mainly its own branded restaurants rather than international chains. For those unfamiliar with the Oud Metha district, Wafi is an Egyptian- themed complex, its iconic pyramids making an impression on Dubai's skyline. The newest restaurant on site is W-Grill, a steakhouse with an elegant twist- get all your preconceived ideas of Berni Inn and Aberdeen Angus Steak House out of your head now!

W offers a choice of indoor and outdoor seating, the outdoor seating offering ample views of the famous Wafi light show and not to mention busloads of bewildered tourists looking round in amazement. The indoor seating is the best for savouring the full-on glitz of the restaurant with its Vegas-style chandeliers (plus it's nearer to the buffet!) I was welcomed warmly by W's host, who talked me through the menu and wine list. When I explained I was teetotal, he ensured I was mixed up a bespoke mocktail based on the Mojito. At 30 dhs for a Mocktail, it wasn't the cheapest place in Dubai, plus it was rather watery. For the rest of the evening, I stuck with water.

I passed on the starter as I hate trying a new place and being too full to enjoy the main, so I opted for Seven Vegetables Couscous (pictured) and unlimited visits to the salad bar. The Couscous was fresh, fluffy and packed with veg, it didn't cross my mind to count if there were actually seven vegetables present. My only complaints were it was a tad salty so had to have a Rennie that night, and there was no taste of Harissa present despite saying so on the menu. Harissa is known for its fiery, potent taste so it seems strange that it was omitted or even forgotten from the meal. The salad bar on the other hand was a foodie's paradise. Whatever your palate, there was something there for everyone, a combination of popular mezes, cheeses and salads from the Mediterranean and the Orient. Lebanese favourites like Tabouleh and Mutabal were present, along with Greek Salad, Buffalo Mozzarella salad plus voluptuous aubergines and more. Certain carnivorous delights like steak and grills include the salad bar for free.

Unbelievably, I managed to make some room for the dessert buffet- yes, you heard right, a dessert buffet. At approx 40dhs for all you can eat, the dessert buffet offers more treats than the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. From shot glasses filled with tiramisu to Martini glasses with trifle in, the chefs have really unleashed their creative sides and used their imagination by turning simple desserts into artwork. Small creme brûlées topped with strawberries and petite chocolate cakes complete the beautiful dessert landscape. The secret to perfection lies in the fact that they have used bite size morsels of normally stodgy desserts which enables the diner to let their tastebuds go into overdrive and properly enjoy each cake. For those not wanting to be so sinful, there is more than enough fresh fruit on offer too.

I rounded up the dinner in my usual way, with a potent coffee which didn't fail to disappoint.

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!