Whoever says British food is awful clearly hasn’t been to a James Atherton restaurant and in particular Dubai’s Marina Social, which is truly a celebration of proper UK grub, with a fancy twist.
While the cliche goes: it’s the place to be and be seen, we think Marina Social is a place that needs to be seen itself. If industrial chic was a thing then this is it.
It has some of the usual characteristics of a classic five-star restaurant – most notably the white table cloths on the balcony dining tables – but the on-trend white tiles, wooden floorboards and metallic accents, and, of course, those stunning unrivalled panoramic views of the Marina waterfront, give it an achingly cool (but not in an annoying way) vibe. It’s certainly a hipster-meets-foodie haven.
The open kitchen concept and dessert bar, allow customers to interact with the genius chefs (see Food section below to find out why they deserve this accolade) and watch them in action.
A traditional British menu and an award-winning chef, it has all the ingredients (pun intended) for culinary success. Throw into the mix a rather posh picnic theme and you have one gourmet-chic brunch.
Actually the brunch menu also has Mediterranean influences, too, which you will see in the incredibly freshly baked Focaccia bread and goats cheese churros. Be warned, it’s very easy to wolf down the bread and squid ink crackers but leave room for your meal as portions are generous.
For starters we recommend the smoked sea trout, celeriac and apple remoulade or the hand-chopped beef tartare, which are all served in fancy glass jars to compliment the decadent picnic theme. While the spinach salad with crispy veal bacon is a healthy option, there’s more leaves than bacon making it feel more like a side order as opposed to a starter.
The mains and dessert are where Marina Social truly triumph. The mac, beef cheek ‘n’ cheese are a signature dish but for us the pizza with pulled lamb, chargrilled courgette and ricotta is also a clear favourite – an unusual combination bursting with flavour. Of course, the battered cod with triple cooked chips and mushy peas is also a must. With the fluffy fish just melting in your mouth and the chips making you never want to think of calories ever again (possibly some of the best chunky chips we’ve had), it’s a British classic made decadent.
This has to be one of the few restaurants where we’ve seen the chocolate dessert come in second place on people’s orders, yet when we saw the gigantic apple crumble with the even larger accompanying Bird’s Eye custard sauce jug we understood why. This can easily be shared between two people, but we doubt you’ll want to halve the irresistible treat.
A shout out has to go to the chef who adapted to our allergies. Usually a dairy- and egg-free alternative comes in the form of a fruit salad or a sorbet. Not here. The chefs whipped up a chocolate poached pear wonder. Truly impressive and no fuss made.
A serious feed of award-winning standard and for the mesmerising Marina views.
The soft social package, inclusive of soft drinks costs Dhs315. For the house social, inclusive of house beverages as well as fresh cocktails made and served at your table and according to your taste – this is a great touch – it’s Dhs495. For the bubbly package, including bubbly cocktails it’s Dhs595.
Marina Social, InterContinental Dubai Marina, (04) 4466664