There is a reason a restaurant in the UAE wins awards and that’s because quite simply, it’s better than anything else like it. Porterhouse is testament to that. This quintessential steakhouse located at Sofitel The Palm has been quietly turning heads since its inception. You won’t hear it on the tip of everyone’s tongues when it comes to fancy dining and you might have only heard its name through high-end magazines and from foodies in the know but this is exactly why it’s so great, it doesn’t even need to try to be a cut above the rest, it just well, it just is.
The word “Porterhouse” originates from the US of A back in the 1800s describing a resting place for weary travellers, a sort of service station if you will just without the gas. Porterhouse may not be sitting alongside your McDonald’s and Burger Kings when it comes to a meat lovers pit-stop but a great place for the hungry? you bet.
Steak is the order of the day at Porterhouse and this restaurant is a serious steakhouse. From the masculine interior, open kitchen to the entire wall lined with the finest wines, Porterhouse means business. In fact, it’s an excellent place to do business. It’s sophisticated yet remarkably unstuffy, the low melodic jazz creates a soft and intimate atmosphere, the distressed leather chairs add a rugged touch contrasting against the stark polished wood. There is a large outside terrace for dining al fresco under the stars when the weather permits but the tasteful interior is equally as inviting a place to dine.
Before we even start on the food, the second best thing about Porterhouse is the service. Living and working in the Emirates you’ll have become accustomed to exceptional service, with no request or demand too much trouble but the attentiveness and indeed, friendliness of the Porterhouse staff really make this restaurant stand out. If you are a little chilly under the frosty air-conditioning a cashmere pashmina is instantly produced, if you are dithering slightly over the wine list an expert sommelier appears like a genie to guide you through the extensive menu, nothing is too much trouble for Porterhouse and this is exactly what makes a fantastic restaurant with a loyal customer base.
Now, Porterhouse is of course, a steakhouse, the signature restaurant of the hotel and the menu is largely reflective of this. Faced with a huge and slightly overwhelming menu that was largely beef dotted with the odd corn-fed chicken and fish dish, we opted for a three course menu where of course, steak played the focal part.
To start the green asparagus with mousseline sauce is a delightful dish for vegetarians or those watching their waistline as at only 90 calories a dish its a perfect light starter for the feast the follows. If, like me you’re not too fussed about counting the calories then the Duck foie gras terrine is a must-try. It comes with grilled brioche, fig-mustard compote and micro cress. Yes, micro cress really is a thing. In fact it was so good I ate the whole thing in record time and even asked for extra bread to finish the remainder with. The dishes at Porterhouse are so beautifully presented you wouldn’t be surprised if someone had told you it had come out of a Michelin starred kitchen, each and every tiny detail is taken into consideration from the expertly drizzled jus to the perfectly coiffured mousse.
Now for the centrepiece, the mains. Any restaurant that has real leather embossed place settings means business when it comes to meat. Porterhouse certainly means business. The menu rather refreshingly offers a guide to cooking temperature to ensure you have your meat cooked exactly to your taste, sometimes even the most carnivorous of us can get a little confused between medium rare, medium and medium well done. The Porterhouse Grills offers everything from Australian Black Angus 180gm up to 350gm and Australian Kobe tenderloin to Ireland Dry Aged Tenderloin and Rib eye. For a real piece of cooking theatre however I highly recommend that parties of two opt for a Chateaubriand, a US prime 600gm hunk of meat that is carved at your table. Hungry? You won’t be after that.
Presented with beautiful hand-crafted steak knives that have as in-depth a story as the meaning behind the restaurant, each perfectly told historical tale adds to the overall dining experience. The Chateaubriand was wheeled to our table much to the amazement of fellow diners and was carved before our eyes. We opted for a rich, sticky barbecue sauce and truffled pomme puree (easily the best thing a mashed potato lover like me had ever tasted) , creamed garlic spinach, crispy truffle fries and chilli-garlic broccoli to accompany our steak. The meat, apart from being a little red for a request of medium (always pick one higher on the chart is my recommendation) was tender, succulent and my eternally sharpened knife cut through it like butter. It is an awful lot of meat for two people but every bite is seemingly better than the last, meaning you’ll find a way to power on through.
If you still have room for desert and our host told us there was always room for desert then the Eton Mess is an obvious choice and is unlike any other Eton Mess you will have seen or tasted before. This is not your run-of-the-mill meringue with the odd berry poking out, this was an intricate sculpture of fluffy white meringue, whipped cream and expertly placed berries that was the perfect way to end a fantastic meal.
It is also worth noting that although there was an absence of children in the restaurant on a Tuesday night there is a kids menu on offer serving up classics such as Cheeseburger and Mac and Cheese.
Porterhouse may be quiet but it is winning awards for a reason. It’s a top-contender for best steakhouse in Dubai and if there was an award for the best service, it’d win hands down. A thoroughly enjoyable evening in a restaurant that manages, without even trying, to be the perfect place to dine for every occasion.
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