If moules-frites, burgers, ribs, porterhouse steak & prime cut your kind of ideal fun for a weekend indulgence, as well as bottomless varieties of your favorite premier crafted beers on tap, head down to Dubai’s original 1920s European bistro-style Belgian Café in Festival City to embrace the winter sun by sitting at the outdoor terrace while the weather is still pleasant. mylifestylenews writes.
When you enter the Belgian Café that is part of the Crowne Plaza complex at Dubai Festival City, you are immediately transported to Europe, perhaps back into the 1920s.
In here, you can embrace the essence of Brussels with its interior that is decorated in the dark wooden paneling. Antique ornaments and collected items from the past such as the brass accents, bevelled mirrors, retro posters, wrought iron and glass chandeliers, plus a mix of banquettes and chairs in the same style are scattered and decorated all over, with the motif to transport you back to the past.
When the weather is beautiful in Dubai, outdoor terraces become everyone’s favorite spot to enjoy the winter breeze overlooking the skyline of Dubai through the creek, kitted out in the classic European café pavement furniture with the chequered bistro chairs and tables under the umbrellas.
There was some groovy house music to set a brunch vibe by its resident DJ, without being too intrusive, while we perused the menu. We came for the Friday brunch Belgian Fun Fest – that's all you can order from the crafted menu with bottomless beers and appetizer refills.
The menu is not large, but all your Belgian favourites seem to be covered and you get to choose one main course each as well as a live dessert station for after. A good selection of Belgian hops on tap and others ranging from Stella Artois, Cidre, Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden Rose, Leffe Blonde and dark Leffe Brune, Belle Vue Kriek……just to name a few and a café menu that oozes classic favourites.
To set the taste buds salivating, an amouse bouche of pretzel bread and Belgian fries with mayonnaise is brought to the table along with our first beers for the day. The pretzel bread had a fantastic smoky malt flavor and was served warm and was utterly delicious, while the fries were perfectly hot and crispy.
<Duck Rillette with syrup de liege on multigrain bread>
Once we settled in, the Hoppetisers started flowing, alongside with the food as all the appetizers came at once on takeout paper trays, with individual items separate on its own. We first sampled the fine hand pulled duck rillette, the meat was tender and tasty and yet overpowered by the syrup de liege, which is sweet and sticky.
<House Cured Salmon with pickle beetroot aioli on multigrain bread>
The salmon had a beautifully smoked flavor that was to die for and not too much of the beetroot content yet made the color look inviting, it was a perfect balance to allow the salmon to take centre stage on the tongue.
<Cheese Croquettes with truffle mayo>
Moist and perfectly crispy, it was deep-fried to a light fluffy texture for the filling and it goes along well with the beer.
<Bitterballen with curry mustard aioli>
Quite similar to the cheese croquettes and rounded out with the flavoursome minced beef fillings.
<Shrimp Croquettes with tartar sauce>
Another deep-fried item from the appetizer selection with a creamy light filling and the right piquancy for the shrimp flavor.
<Crispy Chicken Wings with BBQ sauce>
Smoky and rich, the chicken wings are well marinated with the BBQ sauce and cooked to a delectable flavor and chunky bite.
<Goat Cheese Salad with cherry tomatoes, beetroot, apple, grapes, mesculum & balsamic dressing>
A good palette cleanser in between those deep-fried items despite the bland goat cheese which lacked that punch in flavor to bring out the highlight of the dish.
<BBC Special Burger>
Homemade beef patty, crispy veal bacon, onion marmalade and gouda cheese, this is the in-house special burger and is worth the wait. Tender and tasty beef and the veal bacon was nicely done with a juicy texture overall, plus a generous salad on the side.
<Smoked Beef Brisket with mashed potato, sundried tomatoes, pickled cabbage and mustard>
We opted to try more than the usual main courses so that we could get a handle on the breadth of offerings, so we had an additional order for the smoked beef brisket. The portion is quite generous, but brisket is a cheap cut of the meat and most of the time it needs to be cooked slower and longer. As we found the meat to be not as tender as we would have liked or expected, it was totally dried and also lacking of the intense flavor.
Moules is a must order when it comes to Belgian food sampling. There are five different ways offered here to cook the mussels to your liking, from mariniere, Thai, garlic and cream, natures or provencale. We opted for the Thai red curry version and it was utterly enticing and delicious. Despite that the mussel was on the small side, the flavor and portion size was spot on, accompanied by some large thick cut frites. You can’t dine in any Belgian café without ordering the fries, as this is quintessential Belgian snack food that is the perfect accompaniment for the meat dishes. To some, it may be strange but mayonnaise dipping is the way to enjoy the thick cut frites for its authenticity and tradition.
A choice or waffle and crepes prepared a-la minute and the server keeps persuading us to have the waffles and it was to be anticipated, however due to some technical glitch, the live cooking station was not operational on the day we visited, but we still got to try the Belgium waffles with a dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream which was brought out from the main kitchen instead. It was presented in a paper box tray and did not look very appetizing, as there was too much crammed into too small a box, topped with a watery chocolate sauce. The waffle had a funny salty taste and soggy which was not to our liking. While the menu said, it shall come with fresh fruits compliment and icing sugar, it was totally out of the picture and you can tell that the desert was done in a hurry to please. A total let down to end the meal.
The service team was quite switched on, with the manager spending time with most tables, but the service was a little inconsistent – one moment there is someone in your sight lines and then there is nobody when you want them, plus not enough time spent checking tables. For a casual weekend brunch out to enjoy the winter sun and some light bite with a taste of Belgian flavours, overall, it is still quite enjoyable to have some good company to share the laughter and the limitless hops served.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Belgian Cafe Dubai Festival City
InterContinental Hotels, Dubai Festival City
P.O. Box 45777
Tel: +971 4 701 1111
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.