Not your ordinary BBQ

Not your ordinary BBQ

Joe's Backyard fires up the grill with their Friday brunch, served with a fine dining twist. Janice Rodrigues indulges her inner carnivore



Published: Fri 25 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 25 Oct 2019, 2:00 AM

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from an establishment called Joe's Backyard but quaint images of a smokehouse hidden in the back of a hotel came to mind. I was not expecting the staff at the Holiday Inn to direct me to the 19th floor. I was certainly not expecting to find myself seated in an outdoor seating area, with expansive views of Dubai Festival City. A 'backyard' with views of skyscrapers and water bodies? There's something very Dubai about that.

In fact, everything about the interiors establishes that this is a laid-back space, but a posh one at that. Exposed brick walls, foliage hanging from the ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows with exquisite views... definitely not your average BBQ shack.

Once we had stopped ogling at the view, we directed our attention to their Friday brunch menu, short and sweet. The starter platter came with Mac n Cheese Quesadillas, which were so-so, trumped by the spicy 'Holy Smoked Prawns' and sticky chicken wings. Brown bread, with a series of spreads, completed the first course. The second was a trio of delicate, melt-in-your mouth grilled meats. The portions were more in line with a fine dining establishment than a BBQ joint, but another dish was already enroute - their 'catch of the day', an entire fish, grilled and spiced to perfection. A meat-lover's paradise for your Average Joe.
TASTE
We thought starters were a hit or miss: the prawns, doused with spicy sauce, were delicious, while the quesadillas were a bit lacking in flavour. But props to the mains which were all grilled and spiced perfectly. Dessert, a dreamy mango concoction, ended things on a sweet note.
AMBIENCE
With stunning views from the 19th floor, the space is BBQ chic, fine-dining-meets-smokehouse. Leather counters and wooden tabletops coupled with TV screens with sporting events add to the vibe. Finally, Friday brunch also had live entertainment. Not too shabby.
SERVICE
We thought this was where Joe's Backyard really excelled. From seating us outside to subtly turning on the outdoor air conditioning to giving us space between each course to ensuring our table was well-stocked when we wanted it to be, the staff never let us down.
PRESENTATION
BBQ joints are known for dishing out oft unappetising-looking hunks of meat but here, everything was incredibly well plated. We liked how our grilled meat was served in a single plate, delicately garnished with red cabbage. Picture perfect!
VALUE FOR MONEY
Dh275 per pax for a brunch with house beverages is pretty competitive pricing, but add in the views and the classy seating, and it's value for money. Small pet peeve though: vegetarians may need to check about alternatives.
janice@khaleejtimes.com


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