If The Hide’s chef, James Niessen were a steak which cut would he be? Originally hailing from Chicago, then on a road trip that’s taken in Denver, Texas and wisely Hawaii you sense that this guy is an All-American food hero. It’s just that he’s hung a sharp right to Dubai.
So back to the hypothetical question. James might be one of those half-forgotten heroic cuts of steak that he champions: perhaps flank or flat-iron. That steak would come with a marinade that riffs on the themes of America’s South, maybe with a splash of Jack Daniels.
Surveying the carnivorous menu at The Hide I remembered an old joke. Sat in a Texas restaurant, renowned for its steaks, a vegetarian asks, “What would you recommend for a vegetarian?” To which the waiter sharply responds, “I recommend you get out of town real fast boy.”
Thursday night is Friday night in Dubai – because Friday is Saturday if that makes any sense – and I visited The Hide for sizzling BBQ night.
“It’s the night when people loosen their ties, kick back and relax,” explained James hopefully. Right on cue, one guy, clearly straight from a tough day at the office, ripped off his tie.
It’s party-time with a 399 Dirham package which includes a three-course meal plus unlimited drinks from the BBQ options: beer (an ice bucket of Buds), whisky cocktails and Cabernet Sauvignon. The normal a la carte menu and wine list take the night off to wash their hair after a busy week.
If you need any help relaxing there’s a cocktail stand. The Lynchburg Lemonade, from the home of Jack Daniels’ distillery, goes down a treat. John Wayne wouldn’t have troubled his whisky with triple sec, sour mix and lemon-lime soda – “What the heck’s triple sec?” – but the cocktail bartender is working overtime to keep up with demand.
Paradoxically, on a meat feast night, there’s a salad bar too. “Real men don’t eat salad,” days are long gone. A sort of “Sommelier of Salad” will help you create culinary art from anchovies, chicken, dressing, lettuce and much, much more. I may have gone a little off-piste with steak tartare and a salad dominated by anchovies.
Whilst one of the chefs is cooking the steak that you have selected, you can start piling up your plate. Relive those scouting days as you stop off at the fire pit to toast a marshmallow or two. Slap a spare rib on your plate and add some smoked brisket, just so that you can say you’ve had the full Hide BBQ experience. Then accessorise to taste from jacket potatoes, cornbread, macaroni cheese and, of course, tangy BBQ sauce.
Vegetarian? Well, there are fifty other restaurants at the Madinat which may be more to your taste. And if you are not a red-meat eater then there’s BBQ chicken and salmon too.
There were quite a few Girls-Night-Out tables and they seemed to split 50:50 between what is usually seen as a macho meat choice and the lighter options. Every table was taken so book in advance.
Meanwhile, The Vagabonds – denim, Stetsons and guitars – get the party started with a live music good-times playlist of a little Elvis, some Eagles covers and probably some Blues Brothers and Shania Twain too. Preoccupied with my steak I wasn’t always paying attention.
Dessert corner is quite simply a tribute to the Great American Pudding. All the classics are there, in reasonably small portions, so you can load five or six onto your plate. Of course, there’s apple pie, carrot cake, New York cheesecake, molten chocolate tart, mini doughnuts, a lemon meringue pie and best of all an ice-cream machine to create your own heavenly swirls.
As you finally leave The Hide you realise that the food has been the star and you haven’t quite taken in the modern urban aesthetics plus great views across the Venetian style canals to the Madinat’s souk.
But hey, tomorrow’s Friday, you’ll be back in just 12 hours-time for that great Dubai tradition of brunch and you can appreciate The Hide’s setting better in daylight.
Tell Me More About The Hide At The Jumeirah Al Qasr
Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah,
King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street,
T +971 4 432 3232
At 399 Dirham per head, the BBQ comes in at around £90 per head using December 2018 exchange rates.