When you hear “Michelin” and “7-Star Hotel” it is totally natural to have some expectations. Unfortunately reality will disappoint at Al Mahara.
The restaurant itself is build very well- stylish decorations, huge aquarium in the middle, luxurious bar, breathtaking golden accents all over the place, even the service is good. Everything else… mediocre. Have you ever seen an ancient castle that once was noble and glorious, but then conquered by the enemy? Exactly same feeling here- one will still find the rests of luxury and might, but it’s not a royal residence anymore. You can literally sense the atmosphere of it’s greatest past- that beautiful time when tables were covered with cloth, elegantly dressed people were drinking champagne, smell of fresh flowers, food bloggers were taking pictures of incredible dishes… what a pity it looks NOTHING like this anymore!!
Let me show you a “magic trick”! Put the aquarium aside-
concentrate only at your table for a minute or two and voila… you found yourself at the cafeteria ! Teleportation?! No! It’s just that tables and everything on it, including the food, looks pretty amiss here. Canteen style tables are undecked, plates and cutlery are most simple, dish presentation- pale.
When you decide to go to “The best seafood restaurant in Dubai” you paying money for a special experience! Choosing prawns for 125$ you expect to get something more than just 4 prawns and few pieces of asparagus lying in a pile on a white plate. The taste can’t be called special either. Exactly same course I can make at home! What is the point to order it from a Michelin-starred Chef then?
I don’t even want to start on starters- they looked so boring that I didn’t even felt like taking pictures, which is unusual for me.
Waiter highly recommended “Sea bass for two” – it is tasty indeed, but the way of presentation made me sad – a dull, gray bulk on a faded dish, not even one small peace of Lettuce or a drop of sauce to add some color? No, just a big gray bulk on a dish…
Unfortunately, I have to say that food at Al Mahara restaurant will not arouse your appetite much, though it’s tasty, fresh and you can feel that qualitative ingredients are used at the kitchen, which is why I don’t understand how come that appearance of the dishes is so restrained.
Latest advertising campaign was conducted great and everyone heard that “Famous Nathan Outlaw is the new Chef at Al Mahara”- however it turned out to be sad news for all of us, the gourmets. I wasn’t expecting this kind of disappointment and prefer to believe that Mr. Outlaw rarely visits this restaurant personally, rather than that Michelin Star means nothing anymore.
To be honest at this place I enjoyed the company and the beautiful aquarium more than I enjoyed the food. It’s a pity a great restaurant, in the most luxurious and famous building of the world, with all it’s huge potential is serving something that has not even a shade of imagination and creativity.
Fine dining can be simple, of course, but there are some ground rules that can’t be broken. When I see a fork lying directly on the table, not even on a napkin (reminder: tablecloth was not there at all)- I’m sorry, how can someone call it “fine” ?!
My advice – if you want to spend a lot of money on your seafood dinner with a spectacular aquarium view- Ossiano restaurant in Atlantis Hotel is a good alternative to Al Mahara. These two dining rooms are pretty similar, except that at Ossiano you will get the right feelings by looking at your dish.