If there’s one type of eatery Dubai has plenty of, it is steakhouses. They are certainly not in short supply in the emirate and for any to stand out from the rest, they need to have their own unique selling points.
The Meat Co. knows its USP: where many steakhouses embody quiet, often business-like atmospheres, The Meat Co. is one for friends and family; it’s buzzing.
The South African chain – currently with one restaurant in Souk Madinat and this one in Souk Al Bahar, Downtown – is perfect for large groups, and if you’re celebrating an occasion then all the better.
While the outdoor terrace with its spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa and the fountain display conjure a mood of romance, the hustle and bustle inside feels like the kitchen spills into the main room, which is no bad thing.
What a steakhouse must excel at of course is its meat, which is why I found it slightly peculiar that a restaurant which proudly boasts of its South African heritage, a country renowned for its red meat, sources its steaks from seemingly every country but the rainbow nation: Australia, New Zealand, the United States, even Brazil supplies grass-fed beef.
Call me old-fashioned but if a restaurant plays so heavily on its national identity, then you would expect everything from its chefs to its cutlery and everything in between, where possible, to be from ‘home’.
I explained this to my friend as I scanned the menu. It wouldn’t be long before I was eating my words.
I opted for the Wagyu 300g fillet while my friend ordered the 200g USA Black Angus 160 day grain-fed fillet.
The Wagyu beef, as it should be, was tender, juicy, packed with flavour and only left me wanting more. The Black Angus was positively mouth-watering and cooked to perfection. Both dishes justified their global sourcing, and I was only too happy to be proved wrong.
One thing that Gulf Business has said before of Dubai’s steakhouses, is that the quality and care of the meat is never quite matched in the side orders; the steak may be the main act but a poor supporting performance can take away from the overall show.
Which is why I’m glad to say Meat Co. doesn’t make that mistake. The broccoli with chilli and garlic was quite possibly, in fact easily, the tastiest broccoli I’ve had. The spinach too was without flaw, avoiding the soggy texture often experienced elsewhere.
Somehow, my friend found room for desert, ordering us the chocolate and pistachio fondant, unaware of my allergy to nuts… She assures me it was delicious.
Away from the food, the service was good, not exceptional as you may expect at a more suave, sophisticated restaurant, but in keeping with the ambience of the evening.
In a city full of steakhouses then, Meat Co.’s Downtown branch is certainly one to tick off your list, although your wallet does take a fairly hefty hit.
The global sourcing of the beef proved to be an aesthetic issue only, and for those after a traditional South African meal, Boerewors are firmly on the menu.