DETAILS: Dhs99 (food only). Thu 7pm-10pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street Tourist Club Area (02 818 4888).
For many of us, weekend roast dinners are one of those traditions that go back further than we care to remember. So when we heard the Southern Sun’s Bly Sky Lounge & Grill was launching a Thursday night carvery brunch offering our favourite meats and all the trimmings, we got very excited. Upon hearing it was just Dhs99 we almost rushed straight there and waited for it to start.
One of our favourite bars, serving one of our favourite meals at such a great price. It seems too good to be true. And you know what? In some ways it is.
On our visit there’s one major issue that we can’t overcome, the food is nowhere near hot enough. Carveries, by their very nature, have food sitting under heat lamps, being kept warm until it needs to be replenished. For the whole thing to be a success, the optimum word in that sentence is “heat”, unfortunately Blu Sky’s food seems to be sitting under, well, just lamps.
It’s a shame, as the choice is good and the food is tasty. For just less than Dhs100 you get a choice of salads, cheeses and bar snacks, such as the super jalapeño poppers, fish goujons and nachos, topped with salsa, sour cream, cheese and more. While the roast dinner side of things offers an excellent rib-eye of Karan beef from South Africa (all the meat served in this hotel is brilliant, by the way), roast chicken, essential Yorkshire puddings and plenty of gravy.
As we say, it all tastes good, but it could just do with being hot. Some of the dishes don’t suffer too much from being tepid, but in others cases, such as that of the stone-cold chicken sausages, it really sours the experience. The beef, on the other hand, is full of flavour with just the right tenderness, and the gravy – the lifeblood of any good roast dinner – is a delicious addition to the meal.
The chicken is a tasty option, too. Its crispy skin is coated with a delicate spice to give it a kick without being overpowering.
No roast dinner is complete without the side vegetables and Blu Sky lay on the usual suspects plus a surprising guest. We can’t say we agree with the chef’s decision to include green peppers at the expense of green beans, but each to their own. There must be an audience out there for them.
And while we’re on our high horse, we’ll never understand the fascination with serving food in mason jars, plant pots or on planks of wood, so getting a Caesar salad in a mug seems a bit odd. What’s wrong with a plate or bowl? There’s no nostalgic reason for serving salad in a mug is there? Please let us know if we’re missing something, readers.
If you’re a dessert fan like us, this brunch probably isn’t for you as there’s nothing sweet on offer. There’s the cheese, of course, but a classic pudding wouldn’t go amiss after all those savoury goods.
Some of these gripes are personal opinion, of course, and we know they won’t be shared by everyone. So, putting those aside, we have to say that for Dhs99 most people will be happy with the selection and quality of food. We also think most people would prefer the food to be warmer and that a drinks package would be welcome, especially after work on a Thursday evening.
We’re always happy to spend time in Blu Sky, which always offers good value and good times. We reckon this offering could become one of the capital’s biggest bargains – after all the hard work is already done, the food is great, it just needs to be kept warm.
WHAT IS IT...
A cheap and cheerful new Thursday night carvery
Because it’s a good selection of savoury treats that won’t break the bank