Something very exciting has happened on the Dubai culinary scene, namely in the form of brand new restaurant The Hide located in Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah.
Taking over the spot of MJ’s Steakhouse, this American ‘ meatery’ is set to revolutionize the traditional meat lovers eateries in the region with its modern twist on meat dishes.
Let’s start with the background. The concept for The Hide has been inspired by the coolest of modern meateries in American gastronomic capitals such as New York, Chicago and LA and this really comes through in not only the interior, but the service and food itself.
According to the Head Chef Brian Voelzing the trend we’ve been witnessing towards American inspired eateries in the UAE is down to the “familiarity and comfort that American concepts offer.”
The exposed brickwork, large tan leather seating including central private booths,black slate detailing and vintage glass gives The Hide a rather masculine feel and wouldn’t look out-of-place in downtown New York. It has an edgier vibe than we’re used to seeing in Dubai, especially when it comes to clean-cut steakhouses. The feel is one of modern authenticity, the seating at the bar adds to the casual, unpretentious vibe and the smooth soulful background music is well thought out. In fact, everything about this bar and restaurant has been thought out in such detail that it appears effortless.
The emphasis at The Hide is not only on the highest quality ingredients but also on the revival of forgotten steak cuts, ones you may not be used to seeing on standard menus across the UAE, and this is exactly why we can’t get enough of it and why we predict a future longer than its Madinat predecessor.
The Forgotten Cuts or the ‘butchers best kept secrets’ as they are lovingly referred to include a 220g Flat Iron Steak, 250g Hanger Steak and a 250g Flank Steak and yes, they are loaded with fat but also full of flavour.
In addition to these, The Hide aims to bring back traditional butchery skills and the extensive menu focuses on slow roasting, confit and braising interesting cuts of quality meat and fish. Please remember this a ‘meatery’ and not a traditional ‘steakhouse’.
For those experimental beef lovers The Hide sports an exclusive super dry aged beef cabinet which takes pride of place in the restaurant attracting many a hungry admirer. This dry-aged beef concept is in fact currently exclusive to The Hide with no other restaurant in Dubai offering this type of meat. The cabinet showcases a 12 bone of beef from the Spanish mountains hand-picked by the culinary team at the restaurant. The Dry-Aged Beef at The Hide comes from lean cows reared in this region, left to wander and graze freely, living between seven and 12 years. With an average weight of 1.2kg, the Double Cut Loin Steak is aged for a minimum of 21 days, the result is a tender, hugely flavoursome beef.
Brian’s personal favourite dish on the menu is just this, the Spanish dry aged loin on the bone.
” It’s just a flavour power house and it has the perfect upbringing; mountain water, wild flowers and grass gives the meat such a natural taste” He comments.
The entire menu provides classic American comfort food with unique twists. There are meat dishes galore, succulent seafood, gourmet gratins alongside an extensive list of quirky side dishes.
Dubai foodies will have heard the rumour that The Hide ‘doesn’t offer a safe menu’ and Brian puts this down to their love of “pushing the boundaries in the kitchen, creating uniquess and keeping the team inspired.”
Cocooned for the evening in one of the standout booths, we simply asked for the best of the menu, the chef’s and the staff’s recommendations to be brought to us to best sample what The Hide had to offer. And it has a lot.
For starter under the ‘Nice to Meat You’ section of the menu, we tried the DIY Steak Tartare which is as great fun as it is delicious. Marinate your rose veal yourself with a spice grinder and Bloody Mary’s tonic and top it all off with some sourdough. Secondly, we opted for, and what we now refer to as our ‘favourite starter in the entirety of the region’ which is quite a statement from foodies who are notoriously hard to please, the Deli Counter Pate. This is a perfect example of what The Hide does best; take a seemingly standard dish and add a twist to create something that is anything but ordinary. With duck pastrami, chicken liver pate, toast and black fig jam the combination of the sweet flavours is simply unlike anything you will take tasted before. In fact, it’s so good it’s overly tempting to fill up on this alone and waiver the second course. Other stand out entrees include the Californian Yellow Tail with roasted eggplant and the Oxtail and Ale Soup for when you feel like warming your cockles.
For main dishes, the extensive menu as you would imagine, focuses on meat, meat and more meat. The ‘Forgotten Cuts’ and the Dry Aged Beef are as mentioned, signature dishes here and you’d be foolish not to try them for a good filet or rump isn’t difficult to find in Dubai but these dishes are exclusive to The Hide. Feeling quite peckish and following recommendation we opted to feast on the 650g (!)Super Dry Aged Tenderloin to share, which comes with a delicious Montreal sauce in an inventive tusk jug. Presented beautifully and cooked to perfection, this enormous dish was soft as butter as it was cut into medallions and served at our table. The cut was more flavoursome than your average steak thanks to its dry aged nature, perhaps a little tougher than normal but the locked in flavour more than makes up for this. Feeling rather greedy, we accompanied our huge chunk of beef with some of the fun side dishes on the menu. Of course, it’s practically illegal not to have fries with your steak especially when dining stateside, so Idaho Skin of Fries in Smoked Sea Salt were a necessity. You must try the OMG Onion Rings which come with confit duck and mozzarella curd making them an unusual take on a side dish staple, huge and crispy they really are a must-try. You’ll need some veggies too to balance things out a little bit and feel a little less guilty about the calories you are devouring so we recommend the Roasted Heritage Carrots complete with Golden Raisins and Truffle Honey.
Of course, beef isn’t the only meat on the menu and other dishes we spied that we can’t wait to try next time include the Confit Fried Chicken Leg with Buttermilk Waffle and a Foie Gras Maple Glaze as well as the On The Bone 200g Halibut Steak with Herb Butter for seafood lovers. For male diners who like to feel like the alpha then the ‘Manwich‘ is a great choice when you’re not quite hungry enough for a large steak but don’t want to lose face with your fellow diners. The aptly named ‘ Manwich’ features smoked brisket, double fried egg, mustard leaf and dill pickles and vintage red cheddar on wholesome bread.
If you could manage desert and admittedly it was a little touch and go, the staff at The Hide (and now The Insider UAE team) highly recommend the Campfire Smores. A seemingly innocent pot of goo that actually once delved into with a long, twisted gold spoon reveals a waist-expanding (yet mouth-watering) concoction of burnt marshmallow, peanut butter cookies and dulce du leache. You’ll be hard-pushed to finish it, even if you opt to share like us, but at a reasonable AED 45 you won’t really mind.
Now, another great thing about The Hide (yes there is more!) is that the venue doubles as an intimate, trendy bar with expert mixologists creating classic and innovative cocktails.
If you like your meat washed down with a beautiful bottle of wine, then you’re in luck here. The Hide offers the largest selection of grape beverages by the glass in Dubai, a whopping 54 to be precise! From champagne and sparkling wines to reds, roses and whites. To start we opted for a glass of 2013 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and then to compliment the steak a 2012 Quara Reserve Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina.
To conclude, if you haven’t already guessed by now we are this new restaurant’s biggest fans, purely for its excellent cuisine if not the relaxed, informal atmosphere. If you’re looking for somewhere that caters for every occasion with reasonably priced, excellent meat then you can’t go wrong here. Dine al fresco on the terrace for romantic views of the waterways or grab a group and take over a booth and eat the night away in style.
Telephone for reservations: +971 04 432 3232