The Queens Grill review: All aboard the famous ship to sample the delicious fare
Entering The Queens Grill is like stepping into a bygone era. Faced with crisp, white tablecloths and more cutlery than a party in IKEA’s kitchen zone, it is a throwback to a time when dining and formality went hand in hand. And we love it.
A small wooden sign suggests politely that men are required to wear a jacket and though it is only really for show, almost every gent in the restaurant is indeed wearing one. Because it just feels right.
For 39 years the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) sailed the seven seas but since April 2018 it has been operating as a hotel and mini-maritime museum – docked here in Dubai.
The sense of occasion is palpable as we climb aboard to a restaurant once frequented by royalty.
That same celebratory feel is certainly present in the nine-course tasting menu, which pays homage to the dishes served to diners on the maiden voyage in 1969. The price – AED1,450 per person with drinks pairings for each course – is a tad eye-watering for us common folk, with the six-course tasting menu (AED375) a more affordable alternative.
Much like the restaurant’s namesake, the food is refined and sensible. This is not a place for culinary pizzazz but restraint is not always a negative quality in the kitchen.
There are some beautiful dishes, including the pan-seared scallops – perfectly buttery and served with a generous quenelle of cauliflower puree, plus salty beef bacon crumb and squid ink tuile.
Unsurprisingly, the seafood courses are all shipshape, with the second nautical nugget a generous fillet of Dover sole. The fish is paired well with earthy Girolle mushrooms and a bed of coleslaw that adds a welcome crunch.
Away from the ocean, the Welsh rarebit may not be a dish to rock the boat but it stirs memories of cosy childhood lunchtimes. Admittedly it is difficult to make cheese on toast fashionable, but this is as good attempt as we can imagine. A dainty rectangle of fruit bread is smothered in melted cheddar, the sweet caramelised onion and figs offsetting the sharpness of the cheese. It’s a comforting take on it.
There is plenty to admire about The Queens Grill and while the menu is unlikely to make culinary waves (it is almost 50 years old after all), the setting and service are utterly brilliant. Very much a taste of the traditional, it is impossible not to enjoy an evening spent getting the royal treatment.
Three tips for eating at sea:
Cutlery: Feeling a bit like Jack sitting down for his first dinner with Rose on the Titanic, we mentally repeat the mantra 'out to in' as we reach for the silver. The flat-faced one if for fish; don't cut lamb with it.
Attire: Birkenstocks and board shorts firmly fit into the 'unwelcome' category. Dust off the dickie bow and ball gown and embrace the evening-wear. Pomp and ceremony are the order of the day.
Explore: Arrive early and have a little snoop around. Take in the ship's impressive history and more importantly use the time to find your sea legs.
Where: QE2, Mina Rashid
Contact: +9714 526 8888