DETAILS: Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Al Bateen (02 208 0000).
Who can be bothered with starters when there’s roast beef and Yorkshire pudding waiting for you? Not us, which is just as well for two reasons at this Saturday feast at Oak Room. Firstly, there aren’t any, and, secondly, there really isn’t any need for them, there’s quite enough going on with the mains.
This ‘brunch’ isn’t really a brunch, but it does offer unlimited drinks so we’re putting it in the category.
Before making your way to the super-cool dining room (with classic pictures of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Lou Reed on the walls) you’ll be welcomed into the bar area. Here there’s a trolley offering a couple of pre-roast drinks. They’re tomato-based, so we’re sure you can appreciate that they’re the perfect way to ease you into a Saturday lunchtime session. The options are far from your usual version of this classic drink, with a choice of base, garnishes and spices. There’s a mocktail version available, too. They’re excellent. We think you’re only supposed to have one, but we sneak a second in before eating.
They’re accompanied by a lovely bowl of roasted, glazed and spiced nuts. Just don’t go overboard on them, you’ll need the space.
The packages are simple. One with soft drinks and one with house beverages. Outside of those welcome drinks, the options are fairly safe and uninspiring. We’re sure most will go for red grape with their roast, but for anyone on the soft package, it seems remiss not to include a mocktail or two. After all, we’re sure no chef or barman would usually pair a gorgeous 28-day aged slab of John Stone beef with a can of Mirinda.
Drinks aside, the food options include that beef (Oh, that beef!), roast chicken, lamb shoulder, a fish pie and a nut roast. Afterwards, classic British desserts and cheese are served back in the bar along with some fortified grape.
Staff here are great, dealing with couples, families and different nationalities (some of whom,perhaps understandably, don’t seem au fait with the ways of the British roast) in the same expert, pleasant manner. The pick of the bunch has to be the charming meat sommelier. Not a position we’ve seen elsewhere, but this guy knows his stuff. He’s responsible for wheeling around the trolley of beef, carving it at the table and telling you its back story. You might want to load up on the meat, but we’d recommend getting a slice or two and getting more in later.
It’s incredible, cooked perfectly, bursting with flavour and with a beautiful texture.The gravy is perhaps a bit rich and sticky, but we’re fans and would actually like a bigger boat of it.
Your main comes with a huge Yorkshire pudding filled with green beans like we’ve never tasted, plus carrots and parsnips. There are also perfect roast potatoes and a side of cauliflower cheese (which is perhaps the only dud element of the entire meal).
We also order the fish pie that comes in its own copper dish, piping-hot from the oven. The fluffy mash is crisped on top and lighter than air underneath. Inside, the pieces of salmon, mussels and other seafood are perfectly cooked and swimming in a delicious cheesy white sauce. It proves it’s not all about the meat at Oak Room.
We struggle to finish everything we order, leading to bitter disappointment a few hours later when our appetites return. If we could go back and try again, we absolutely would.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Al Bateen (02 208 0000).