Saturday, October 13, 2007

Al Muntaha, Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Al Muntaha, Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Saturday 13 October, 2007

There is only one word I can use to describe this place - TACKY! Located in the 27th floor of the magnificent Burj Al Arab this restaurant sits out in the semi circle structure overlooking the ocean. Our experience here was incredibly disappointing.

The security required to even enter the premises gave Australian customs a run for their money. It's phenomenal. Here's a snippet of the email I received from the restaurant manager prior to our arrival,

This reservation is being held on a guaranteed basis and will be kept as such unless cancelled 24 hours prior to arrival. However the payment is required on the same day of your reservation. In the event of a non-arrival in the restaurant or a cancellation being received on the same day, a charge of AED 150.00 per person will be charged to your credit card.

Your confirmation number is MUN10131340545. Kindly mention your name or the confirmation number upon arrival at our welcome center to ensure a smooth access to the hotel. For enquiries +971 4 301 7600.

Please note the following regulations in Al Muntaha Restaurant:

  • The dress code in the restaurant is smart casual. Gentlemen are requested to wear a shirt with collar, trousers (no jeans) and closed shoes (no trainers) or UAE national dress.
  • The view at night time is limited due to the restaurant’s location facing towards the sea. Requests for a window table will be noted, however, tables at the window will not be confirmed, but provided subject to availability.
  • Use of mobile phones in our restaurants is restricted; please switch your phones to silent mode while dining.
  • Due to the high demand of the restaurant we will be holding your booking for a period of 30 minutes from the reservation time onwards.
  • Kindly note that you are allowed to take pictures only in the lobby. Photography is not permitted in any of our restaurants in order to protect the privacy of our guests.
  • According to law in Dubai, children below 21yrs old are not permitted in the bar.
  • Please refrain from smoking cigars or pipes in all areas of the restaurant.
  • Kindly bring this confirmation letter along with you to ensure smooth access to the hotel and restaurant.
  • Kindly note that we request guests to consume 2 courses during each meal period, either a starter and a main course or a main course and a dessert; however the main course is compulsory.
This was before we had even arrived! We took a golf buggy from our villa in Madinat Jumeirah to a check point. Then we waited for another buddy to transport us the remainder of the 10 minute journey. This buddy was stopped at the main driveway leading out to the Burj where security came to collect our confirmation details. This took a few minutes as the gentleman dressed in a dark suit reviewed the letter, then looked us up & down and then the buggy. It was very orchestrated and we wandered what we would encounter once we reached the hotel.

We were waved through and the journey out to the Burj was breath-taking - all 321 metres of the hotel is magnificent. We pulled up at the entrance and beautifully dressed doorman escorted us off the buggy and welcomed us to Burj Al Arab. Once we entered through glass doors female staff greeted us with silver trays of dates - the local specialty.

The first thing that strikes you in the foyer is the gold - it's dripping with gold and you really don't know where to look! But then you realise the core of the hotel is hollow & you can look directly up the centre - it's brilliant white, blue and gold. From the foyer you can take escalators to the main reception past the cascading water features.

We had no idea where we were going and asked a staff member who directed us to the rear lifts. There are 10 lifts to pick from and the journey to the 27th floor was seamless. The entrance to Al Muntaha is futuristic and you feel like you are walking through a massive computer chip. Then you hit the terrible dark blue carpet with round coloured spots, the different shade of blue furniture and the ceiling of bright fluorescent coloured. It was in poor taste.

Our table was decorated with brilliant white, silver and blue plates that were removed when the bread basket arrived with a choice of salted or unsalted butter. There were several staff around but we still felt that the entire experience did not come close to a 7 star experience.

The menu was surprisingly plain for a signature restaurant and the wine list was outrageously expensive - there would have been at least a 600% mark up on each wine. We met the sommelier and chose our wine and he had the audacity to suggest a wine 3 times more expensive - this was disgraceful and the service continued to go

We had decided to go with a main & dessert and after ordering our meals were delivered a complimentary amuse bouche - warm salmon soup and chilled broccoli soup. These were OK - nothing flash. Our mains arrived and looked impressive:

- New Zealand loin of venison
- Australian tender strips of lamb
- Australian filleted barramundi

One of my dinner buddies has requested their lamb medium and it was bright pink when it reached the table so she sent it back. This was handled well but meant the rest of us were left with our meals. Our mains were delicious however we all felt let down as we were expecting so much more. The service was patchy and unprofessional - we often had to ask for items twice and when an ant scurried across the table, well, let's just say this was the icing on the cake.

It took a while for our desserts to arrive however they looked delightful. We ordered the:

- Orange tart with chocolate fondant
- Apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream
- Selection of cheeses with apples & figs

The food was lovely at Al Muntaha however the service was dismal. For a 7 star hotel we were expecting an amazing experience at their signature restaurant. The decor was tacky but the hotel has to be seen to be believed.

Al Muntaha - Burj al Arab, Dubai - 971 4 3017600


Blogger nEEbz said...

How much did everything cost? Their own website says it starts from 150 AED but people online mention they ended up spending 1500 AED. How come?

11:26 pm  

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