Reported by Loren Penney
It’s known for being a perfect spot for a cocktail or two, overlooking the serene waterways of Madinat Jumeirah but did you know that Dubai institution Left Bank is actually also a restaurant that serves up excellent food.
With the lure of a recently introduced all-new British inspired menu, I grabbed my fellow expats and decided to try it out.
Located right in the heart of Madinat Jumeirah, you hear Left Bank before you see it. Animated chatter, upscale music and a general buzz fills the air at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the beautiful waterways. With a vibrant interior and an al fresco terrace, it’s an all-weather venue that is best enjoyed when the winter air is cool and you can sit beneath the fairy-lit trees in this impossibly charming location.
I’ve visited Left Bank on many occasions, mostly to indulge in their excellent cocktail menu that sees classic cocktails such as the gin-based Elderflower Collins sit alongside giant sharing teapots of Raspberry Mojito and Long Island Iced Tea. As you might have guessed from the selection of cocktails, Left Bank is a casual, easy-come-easy-go kind of bar/restaurant – the kind of place that is always the perfect place to go.
I hadn’t however tried their renowned gastro-pub style cuisine and I was starting to wonder why not?
Their new menu features the best of classic (and hearty) British fare alongside some contemporary international twists but as I often say, simple cuisine is often the very best kind. The food choice here, and in fact the food itself, really is delicious.
Basking in the attentive service, we settled down into our waterfront table and began working our way through the cocktail menu before we had even looked at the vast food options. Opting for a round of Peach & Almond Bellinis followed by French Martinis (Vodka, Raspberry and Pineapple Juice) we were in good stead for the evening and getting rather famished.
Luckily, Left Bank portion sizes are anything but mediocre. To start with we opted for a selection of dishes recommended for us; Cumberland Veal Organic Scotch egg, Truffled Croque Monsieur Soldiers, Cajun Spiced Chicken Wings and some Garlic Bread. Each dish was enormous and even better than the last. The Organic Scotch Egg has become somewhat synonymous with Left Bank’s food menu and really is a great choice, completed with a dollop of brown sauce.
After another round of cocktails and a friendly chat with the manager we were ready for our main course. It wouldn’t be a trip to Left Bank without trying their 12 year staple dish of traditional Fish & Chips which has been on the menu since 2004. This large Scottish Haddock fillet is accompanied by triple cooked thick-cut chips, mushy peas and obligatory tartare sauce and was among the biggest portion of fish & chips I have ever seen. So large in fact, that I barely made a dent in the batter before I was full. Nonetheless it was absolutely delectable.
My dining partners opted for Crispy Soft Shell Crab from the new menu, a standout dish with tempura crab, Kimchi, Asian Slaw and Wasabi Mayo all encased in a brioche bun, the highly recommended Black Angus Wagyu Burger with its innovative black charcoal bun and the Supreme Chicken Kiev which gave a whole new meaning to weekday dinners with its creamy garlic butter and chunky new potatoes.
As you can tell it’s best to arrive at Left Bank hungry because you definitely won’t leave that way.
This menu of feel good food really puts a decadent spin on classic British and European dishes resulting in some really rather wholesome dining. Transforming traditional concepts of British cuisine, Peter Reffell’s specially curated menu at Left Bank incorporates a multitude of international flavours, styles, and ingredients, while at the same time staying true to its British roots, something that was evident in each and every dish.
Other notable dishes from the new menu that we spied on neighbouring tables included the Crispy Salmon & Haddock Croquette, Black Tempura Calamari and the 1.8kg of lamb shoulder which we’re told was slow cooked for over 12 hours!
Unable to even touch desert (the desert menu is just as good as the rest of the courses) we decided to finish our evening with a Left Bank Tea Pot and a round of Tiki‘s from the bar’s signature drinks menu.
Left Bank is one of those places that doesn’t try too hard to be something it’s not but manages the winning combination of high-quality food, excellent drinks and convenient location all at a really reasonable price. One thing’s for sure, now the Left Bank door has been opened, I’ll definitely be back for more than just a cocktail.
Left Bank is open from 10am to 2am Saturday to Tuesday and 10am to 3am Wednesday to Friday. For more information and reservations please contact the Left Bank team on +971 4 453 5423 or email@example.com