Alfie’s – by Alfred Dunhill
Good evening to all of you!
After a long break, SEB went out and joined another amazing dinner organized by Restronaut Dubai, a group of food lovers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and those who just enjoy to meet others for a night out with good food, entertainment and fun.
Last Tuesday we joined, Gin Tonique at the Alfies, Dubai at Emirates Towers, for a night full of cocktails, good food and service – so we thought.
As the name of the event says it already, the theme of the night was Gin and Tonique (Tonic, as the soft drink we all know, however organized by Tonique Consulting, Dubai).
Before the dinner, we were invited for a welcome drink at the bar, of a different kind. It was a mixture of welcome drink, entertainment and Gin knowledge training, by Giovanni, the Italian bar tender. Giovanni, prepared a wonderful punch based on Gin, for us up on arrival. A gin mixed with pomegranate juice, lemon and herbs as garnish.
Followed by a small introduction about the drink of the night, Giovanni offered us three unlabeled bottles, with different kinds of Gin inside. We had to smell them, taste them and choose our favorite. Mine was Hedrik’s Gin. After the blind tasting, we moved on to the next station at the bar, which offered a wide range of garnish, herbs and spices, cucumbers, rose paddles and cut citrus fruits for us to decorate our own drink.
We were offered a huge Burgundy style glass, filled with our chosen Gin and ice, and started decorating with great passion. Lime, rose paddles and more rose paddles.
After the Gin flight, as experts call a tasting, we moved on to dinner. The main part of the event, the actual food, a three course set menu, started rather late, but took even longer.
Being seated in the ‘outdoor’ area of the restaurant – as much as you can consider outdoor, in the middle of a hotel’s boulevard or mall, the whole atmosphere was a bit odd. The restaurant itself, with only two tables being occupied, would have been a better and more comfortable option for the big group to dine, however the concept and layout of the restaurant would not allow that.
We were not offered anything to drink, even after 10 minutes of waiting for service. All of a sudden, four waiters arrived, one of them Renata, she must have been a supervisor or assistant manager, and wondered around, looking a bit lost in translation, as all of us wanted to place an order. Orders were taken, without a smile or a kind word, and followed by bread and butter, again without any further comments. Soon after, Renata came back to take our orders, informing us that the starters would be served sharing style anyway, so we did not have to make up our mind about them. We thought all starters would be served, but in the end only two out of three ended up on our table. The table next to us, it was four tables of four, had the other portions, so we helped ourselves and shared amongst the group. The starters we had the chance to try, were spinach salad with duck, crab salad with salmon and breaded sol with sauce tartare and mushy peas. To be very honest, only the sol was great, the others were average.
So was the service. It took them quite a while to clear our tables and again, without a single word, the waiters left as soon as they appeared. The main course took another 30 minutes to arrive, and this is why we headed back to the bar to make use of the spare time. The loin of beef with potato mash, was not up to perfection and also the mash tasted a bit boring. The lobster rissole however was great. The crab cake which was served besides the lobster, had a sunny side up egg topping, which run all over the cake once cut in half. The crab cake was a highlight. We did not have the chance to try the wild mushrooms in puff pastry but heard it was great too. Just too bad that all main were served rather cold.
Another 20 minutes later the deserts were served. The bred and butter pudding was full of taste yet not heavy, the strawberry trifle was delicious, just the bake well tart was lacking in creativity, however had a nice taste of almonds.
After two full hours, for three courses only, we decided to leave rather quick. We were tired and the overall atmosphere of sitting in a mall, and waiting for each course to be served for such a long time, we would not call it a very successful evening, but an experience greater.
All in all, and again, we SEB does not write about food but service, service was unfortunately not personalized or efficient. Only Renata took some effort now and then to pass by and to check on us.
Maybe we will give it another try some time, for an a la carte dinner for two, with more privacy and better conditions for service to not be overwhelmed with the number of guests.
Thank you to Restronaut for organizing the dinner and Tonique for the welcome drink, it was great to catch up with all of you and even meet more fellow food and restaurant lovers.